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Offseason checklist: Dodgers’ needs and moves

@kengurnick
January 7, 2020

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers won 106 games in 2019 and made their seventh straight postseason appearance. But it's also been 31 years since their last World Series title. So what are the Dodgers' biggest needs entering 2020, and what moves have they made to address them? MLB.com is keeping

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers won 106 games in 2019 and made their seventh straight postseason appearance. But it's also been 31 years since their last World Series title.

So what are the Dodgers' biggest needs entering 2020, and what moves have they made to address them? MLB.com is keeping track here. As the offseason continues, be sure to check back for updates.

BIGGEST NEEDS

Starting pitching
The Dodgers had enough starting pitching in 2019 to run away from the division, with a rotation anchored by Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw. But they lost Hyun-Jin Ryu to free agency after the lefty agreed to a four-year deal with Toronto, and they lost Rich Hill as well, who joined the Twins on a one-year deal. They need to find a front-line replacement for Ryu, then fill out the rest of the rotation with another veteran arm to go with candidates Julio Urías, Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin and Ross Stripling. Signing right-hander Jimmy Nelson to a one-year deal fit the latter of those needs.

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Relief pitching
The first significant move of the offseason was signing non-tendered free agent right-hander Blake Treinen to provide an additional late-inning option. The former Oakland closer is looking for a rebound season after a rugged 2019 that ended with a back injury. The Dodgers were interested in free agent Dellin Betances, but he signed with his hometown New York Mets.

Offense
This might sound familiar, but the Dodgers have the production to run away with the National League West. They need hitters that don’t fold in October. Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Joc Pederson and Enrique Hernández are the most consistent October producers, but too many of the other position starters were no-shows against Washington in the NL Division Series.

MOVES MADE

Jan. 7: Signed Nelson
Right-hander Jimmy Nelson and the Dodgers agreed to a one-year deal, the team announced. The club did not include the official terms of the contract, though a source told MLB.com that it is worth $1.25 million and includes an option for 2021.

Nelson, 30, has missed significant time over the past couple of seasons, including the entirety of 2018 as he worked his way back from right shoulder surgery following a fluke injury in a September 2017 game. Health permitting, he will be part of the mix for a slot in the Dodgers’ rotation in 2020.

Dec. 28: Released Chargois
Reliever JT Chargois was given his release to sign with Japan’s Rakuten Eagles.

Dec. 15: Free agent Treinen signs
After last year’s bullpen inconsistencies, Blake Treinen provides another late-inning option to go with Jansen, Kelly and Pedro Báez. Treinen, an All-Star in 2018, is looking for a bounce-back season after regressing so badly in '19 that the A’s non-tendered him. He signed a one-year, $10 million deal.

Dec. 2: García non-tendered
Although his stats were generally favorable -- except for the game-changer, home runs allowed -- Yimi García was left off the postseason roster after being active in the bullpen the entire season.

Nov. 20: Contracts of White, McKinstry, Peters selected
Mitchell White, ranked No. 9 in the Dodgers' system by MLB Pipeline, is a talented but underachieving right-hander drafted in the second round in 2016. Zach McKinstry is an overachieving 33rd-round pick who fits the team’s popular profile of defensive versatility with a sudden uptick in power. DJ Peters, ranked No. 12 by MLB Pipeline, is an athletic outfielder with imposing power but too many strikeouts.

Nov. 9: Negron retires
Utility man Kristopher Negrón was released and announced his retirement.

Nov. 1: Gyorko becomes free agent
The club exercised a $1 million buyout of infielder Jedd Gyorko instead of picking up a $13 million salary option for 2020, making Gyorko a free agent. He was acquired from St. Louis in a July 31 trade, and he hit .139 in 24 games.

Oct. 31: Dodgers add lefty to roster
Left-handed reliever Victor González was added to the 40-man roster, protecting him from the Rule 5 Draft. The 23-year-old appeared in 38 games (13 starts) across three Minor League levels last season, posting a combined 5-2 record with a 2.31 ERA (23 ER in 89 2/3 IP) with 93 strikeouts against 32 walks. González signed as a 16-year-old out of Mexico in 2012. In seven seasons with the Dodgers, he has a combined 17-27 record with a 4.34 ERA.

Oct. 31: Jansen declines opt-out
Jansen, coming off the worst season of his career, did not exercise an opt-out of his contract that would have made him a free agent; he also would have forfeited the remaining $38 million and two seasons on his contract.

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