Monday, November 04, 2013

Ignite That Hot Stove

Hiroki Kuroda? David Price? completed its divisional review with the NL West, and says the Dodgers-- "heavy favorites in the West"--will be dealing this winter:

On June 21, the Dodgers were 30-42, they were 9.5 games out of first place, Don Mattingly was about to be fired and the team with baseball's highest payroll was a complete disaster. Then the Dodgers won six in a row, kicking off one of the most remarkable stretches in baseball history: They would go 42-8 over a 50-game stretch during which they posted a 2.45 ERA and averaged 4.9 runs per game.

Yasiel Puig was a lightning rod for the surge, having been called up in early June, but Hanley Ramirez returned from the DL and was the NL's best hitter the final four months, Clayton Kershaw had another Cy Young-caliber season and Zack Greinke showed why he was worth the big free agent money. The season ended with a disappointing loss to the Cardinals in the NLCS, with Kershaw getting shelled in Game 6 and Dodgers fans wondering what would have happened if Ramirez hadn't fractured a rib in the first game of the series.

Primary needs

The Dodgers have three-fifths of the rotation locked in with Kershaw, Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu and will have Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley returning from injuries (with Beckett expected to be ready for spring training and Billingsley perhaps in May after Tommy John surgery), but expect them to be a player in the starting pitcher.

They also signed Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero, who is expected to compete for the second base job. Juan Uribe is a free agent, opening up a potential slot on the left side of the infield, depending on whether Ramirez plays third base or shortstop. Bullpen depth will also be a priority.

Free agents
• 2B Mark Ellis
• 3B Juan Uribe
• IF Michael Young
• IF Nick Punto
• IF Jerry Hairston
• OF Skip Schumaker
• P Chris Capuano
• P Ricky Nolasco
• RP Brian Wilson
• RP J.P. Howell
• RP Carlos Marmol

Expected losses

The Dodgers may bring back Ellis to hedge their bet on whether Guerrero is ready to jump straight to the majors. They'd consider bringing back Wilson and Howell, although Wilson will look for the opportunity to be a closer, which he won't get with Kenley Jansen around. The team could decide to bring back Uribe, but the Dodgers may still have the taste of his poor 2011 and 2012 seasons.

Potential targets

For the Dodgers, that's just something to walk around with in their very deep pockets. They do have about $30 million coming off the books, although Kershaw will get a big raise in his final year before free agency and they do have $175 committed to just 12 players (not including Kershaw). Expect them to make a huge offer for Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. Barring that, they could look to re-sign Nolasco, bring back Hiroki Kuroda on a one-year deal, or look to deal prospects for Tampa Bay lefty David Price.

Shortstop Stephen Drew is another attractive free agent who would improve the team's defense if Ramirez is moved over to third.


No matter who the Dodgers bring in --- and they'll bring in somebody -- they'll enter 2014 as the heavy favorites in the NL West. The most interesting offseason decision they face could be whether they trade Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier – in either case, they'd have to eat some money to make a deal happen -- to erase the outfield logjam, not that the group will ever be healthy at the same time. Ethier is probably the guy they'd like to trade as he's not a center fielder and doesn't have a position with Puig and Carl Crawford in the corners."

Let's get that hot stove cookin'!


Neeebs (The Original) said...

I think that they would lose a draft pick if they sign Kuroda. Unlikely, if so.