Here's how Dodgers can get even better

January 2nd, 2024

This story was excerpted from Juan Toribio's Dodgers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

The Dodgers went on a $1.1 billion shopping spree to wrap up 2023, significantly improving the roster with the additions of Shohei OhtaniYoshinobu Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow

But as the clock struck midnight and the calendar flipped over to 2024, the Dodgers’ focus remained the same: continue to improve the star-studded roster in order to win the World Series next season. 

With pitchers and catchers reporting in a little more than a month, how exactly can the Dodgers get even better?

Do they need more pitching?

Coming into the offseason, the Dodgers knew they needed to upgrade their starting pitching. It wasn’t good enough in the postseason and it got exposed by the D-backs’ offense. 

With the additions of Yamamoto and Glasnow and Walker Buehler coming back at some point in the early months of the season, the Dodgers, at least on paper, should be much better. You add in guys like Emmet Sheehan, Bobby Miller, Landon Knack and others, and the Dodgers are in a good spot with the rotation.

However, Los Angeles could still benefit from adding one more starter. That would give the Dodgers some insurance for the slight uncertainty surrounding Yamamoto, who will be pitching in a big league season for the first time in his career. It would also protect them against injuries to Glasnow, Miller and Buehler.

In a perfect world, the Dodgers can acquire Corbin Burnes from the Brewers or Dylan Cease from the White Sox. But at this point in the offseason, it’s unlikely the Dodgers land either of them. Los Angeles has checked in with the Guardians on Shane Bieber, who will be a free agent at the end of the ‘24 season. The Guardians are a tough team to deal with, however, and don’t necessarily have to move the right-hander.

The Dodgers have also been really good at signing a mid-level free-agent starter and turning that player into a key piece of their roster. (Hello, Tyler Anderson). There’s also some risk in doing that. (Hello, Noah Syndergaard). Either way, the Dodgers are in a good spot with the rotation, but you can never have enough pitching.

Is Lux the shortstop?

After sitting behind Corey Seager and Trea Turner, Gavin Lux was determined to prove he was capable of being the Dodgers’ everyday shortstop last season. A devastating right knee injury in a Cactus League game ultimately ended Lux’s season.

This offseason, the Dodgers have kicked around some names to try to improve at shortstop. Miguel Rojas is still on the roster and is an elite defender, but he leaves a lot to be desired in the batter’s box. Lux could definitely help improve the offense, and he’ll once again get every opportunity to prove he can be the shortstop this spring.

Lux is feeling healthier and has been working out at Dodger Stadium all winter. The key for him this spring will be showing that he can move laterally into the holes to make plays on the surgically repaired knee. It’ll be a big spring for Lux, as the Dodgers will likely go into the season with the 26-year-old as their starting shortstop.

Upgrade in the outfield?

If there’s one area where the Dodgers could still improve, it’s in the outfield. With Mookie Betts slated to play a lot of second base next season, the Dodgers could use another right-handed-hitting outfielder. Chris Taylor should get plenty of looks in the outfield, but his value comes from being able to swing between the outfield and infield. Manuel Margot will also play against left-handed pitching.

The Dodgers have been in the market for a right-handed-hitting outfielder, and some of those options could include Teoscar Hernández and Tommy Pham, according to sources. Giving Miguel Vargas more reps in left field will also be something Los Angeles tries this spring. Vargas struggled offensively in his first extended taste of the Majors last season, but the Dodgers still believe the former top prospect can be a key contributor at the big league level.