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5 keys for Dodgers ahead of Spring Training

MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- After bolstering the bullpen and shedding payroll, the Dodgers will open the new year hoping to check off boxes on their to-do list before reporting to Spring Training.

World Series relief hero Joe Kelly landed a three-year, $25 million deal to help get games to closer Kenley Jansen. The blockbuster trade that sent Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer to the Reds unclogged excesses in the outfield and rotation and positioned the Dodgers to continue a roster makeover.

LOS ANGELES -- After bolstering the bullpen and shedding payroll, the Dodgers will open the new year hoping to check off boxes on their to-do list before reporting to Spring Training.

World Series relief hero Joe Kelly landed a three-year, $25 million deal to help get games to closer Kenley Jansen. The blockbuster trade that sent Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer to the Reds unclogged excesses in the outfield and rotation and positioned the Dodgers to continue a roster makeover.

But president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has indicated the Dodgers are not done.

1. Add a game changer
Club interest in Bryce Harper and Corey Kluber is sincere, as the Dodgers want to add a superstar that can get them over the hump to win a World Series. If Harper's ask was shorter than 10 years, that might have happened already. If they don't land Harper, Nolan Arenado will be a free agent next offseason, and many feel he would be a better fit anyway. As for Kluber, combining him with Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler would form the best Dodgers Big Three in maybe half a century.

Video: After blockbuster deal, will Dodgers now sign Harper?

2. Add a catcher
In the eyes of many, J.T. Realmuto would be an upgrade over free agent Yasmani Grandal, but the Marlins asked for Cody Bellinger and more, which won't happen. There are free agents that could serve as short-term bridges -- like Nick Hundley -- until the system's catching prospects are ready, but the Dodgers appear to be waiting on a Realmuto resolution.

3. Add a right-handed bat
Now that Kemp -- and to a lesser extent, Puig -- are gone, a right-handed bat has become a genuine need to balance out a lineup heavy with lefties. Realmuto would fill that hole as well as catching. That 2-for-1 solution probably is the reason the Dodgers seem to be waiting on him before accepting a lesser alternative. They've also been linked to Detroit outfielder Nicholas Castellanos.

Video: Vassegh analyzes Dodgers-Reds trade on MLB Tonight

4. Get well
All indications are that Corey Seager and Jansen have had no setbacks and are on track to be ready for Spring Training. Nonetheless, Seager is coming off major operations to his left hip and right elbow, and it's hard enough to recover from just one procedure. Jansen underwent a 5 1/2-hour heart procedure, and there's nothing minor about that, especially considering it's his second in six years.

5. Front office reorganization
With Friedman, vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes and new assistant general manager Jeffrey Kingston, there seems to be no rush (need?) to hire an actual GM to replace Farhan Zaidi. Rather, the duties can be spread around the front office, with the roles of farm director Brandon Gomes and director of development and scouting Alex Slater expanding.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

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