5 keys for Dodgers ahead of Spring Training
LOS ANGELES -- After shoring up the bullpen with the signing of World Series hero Joe Kelly, the Dodgers still have boxes to check on their to-do list before reporting to Spring Training.
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.
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. Subtract excess outfielders and starting pitchers
Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig are the two highest-paid outfielders on the roster, and the club would love to move the former and seems to also be trying to trade the latter. As for the starting pitchers, the return of Hyun-Jin Ryu squeezes Alex Wood out of the rotation. Rich Hill will make over $18 million in 2019, and it's unclear if the World Series miscommunication with manager Dave Roberts will have a lingering effect.
4. Get well
All indications are that Corey Seager and Kenley 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 operation. Jansen had 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 Andrew Friedman, Josh Byrnes and new assistant general manager Jeffrey Kingston, there seems to be no rush (need?) to hire an actual general manager 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.