Dodgers take new offseason approach
No splashy moves as of yet for club this winter
The Dodgers have changed directions this offseason. They still want to win, but they are taking a peek at the future, too.
Having come up short in their efforts to retain right-handed starter Zack Greinke, and backing out of a deal with free-agent right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma because of medical reasons, the Dodgers are still looking for pitching help and would like to upgrade at second base, but they are taking a more conservative route than they did in the previous years of the current ownership.
Having avoided losing any Draft choices for signing free agents tied to compensation, the Dodgers are among the teams that as of Saturday will have five selections in the first three rounds of next year's Draft.
The Dodgers have five of the first 101 selections, including three of the first 36, having their own picks in the first (23rd), second (64th) and third (101st) rounds. They will also pick No. 30 as compensation for losing Greinke to the D-backs, and they have the 36th selection for being unable to sign Kyle Funkhouser, the 35th overall pick in the 2015 Draft.
The Dodgers and Cardinals would seem to have the best Draft options. The Cards have their own selections in the first (27th), second (68th) and third (106th) rounds, in addition to the 31st and 32nd selections as compensation for the Cubs signing free agents John Lackey and Jason Heyward.
The Cubs, with the signing of Lackey and Heyward, do not have a selection until the third round, 104th overall. They will gain an earlier pick if free agent Dexter Fowler signs elsewhere this offseason, as he rejected a qualifying offer from the club.
There are nine remaining free agents who will require teams to give up a Draft pick: right-handers Ian Kennedy (Padres) and Yovani Gallardo (Rangers); left-hander Wei-Yin Chen (Orioles); outfielders Justin Upton (Padres), Fowler (Cubs) and Alex Gordon (Royals); first baseman Chris Davis (Orioles); second baseman Howie Kendrick (Dodgers); and shortstop Ian Desmond (Nationals).
Kendrick turned down the Dodgers' $15.8 million qualifying offer, but he could wind up back with Los Angeles, which currently has Chase Utley at the top of the depth chart at second base. Signing Kendrick would allow the Dodgers to avoid giving up prospects in a trade.
The Dodgers do need help in the rotation behind ace Clayton Kershaw. Their three other veteran candidates all have injury concerns:
• Lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu underwent surgery last May for a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
• Lefty Brett Anderson worked a career-high 180 1/3 innings in 2015, the first time he had reached the qualifying level for the ERA title (162 innings) since '09, and after working only 123 innings combined the previous three seasons.
• Right-hander Brandon McCarthy, signed to a four-year contract a year ago, underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow after working only 23 innings in four starts, leaving him with a line of 358 innings in his past three seasons.
There has been speculation of the Dodgers putting together a package of prospects to acquire either Jose Fernandez of the Marlins or Jake Odorizzi of the Rays (who would require fewer prospects than Fernandez). They also have shown interest in Kenta Maeda of Japan, who most likely would require $100 million over five years with his salary and the posting fee to his Japanese club.
The Rockies would like to add depth to the organization, and word is they have listened to inquiries about all three of their starting outfielders: Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson. Gonzalez has two years and $37 million remaining on his contract, Blackmon has three years of arbitration remaining and Dickerson is under control for four seasons, not reaching arbitration for another year.
The question interested teams have to answer is whether they would rather give up a package of prospects for one of Colorado's outfielders or just pay the price for a potential impact free agent.
There is an impressive group of outfield free agents, including Yoenis Cespedes, Fowler, Gordon, Gerardo Parra and Upton.
Saturday is the 96th anniversary of Babe Ruth being sold by the Red Sox to the Yankees for $100,000 -- $25,000 up front and $25,000 for each of the next three years at six percent interest, and a guaranteed $300,000 loan with Fenway Park as collateral. The deal was not officially announced until the next month.