LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are solid enough after nearly winning the World Series that even after missing out on two-way star Shohei Ohtani, and reports that Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton is headed to the Yankees, they don't need to do anything dramatic at the Winter Meetings.MLB.com and MLB Network
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are solid enough after nearly winning the World Series that even after missing out on two-way star Shohei Ohtani, and reports that Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton is headed to the Yankees, they don't need to do anything dramatic at the Winter Meetings.
MLB.com and MLB Network will provide wall-to-wall coverage of the 2018 Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Fans can watch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, including the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday at 6 a.m. PT.
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The Dodgers will use the Winter Meetings to restock the margins. They haven't been decimated by the potential losses of free agents, but in addition to re-signing Yu Darvish or finding a replacement, they need relievers, a left-handed-hitting second baseman and maybe a right-handed-hitting left fielder such as Marcell Ozuna.
Re-sign Brandon Morrow -- or more likely, replace him. Morrow resurrected his career as a durable postseason setup man, but he might have priced himself into closer status and out of the Dodgers' picture. After whiffing on Sergio Romo, the front office found a replacement for Joe Blanton with Morrow, and it will be on the lookout for another.
Platoon second baseman
Re-sign Chase Utley or replace him. Right-handed hitter John Forsythe returns after a tough first year in Los Angeles. Utley brings massive intangibles, even if the offensive skill set is showing the signs of his 39 years.
The Dodgers have interest in re-signing Darvish, although they don't need him enough to get into a crazy bidding war. They still have Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Alex Wood as a top three, with Kenta Maeda, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brandon McCarthy and Brock Stewart providing depth. Scott Kazmir's physical condition remains a mystery.
With Stanton off the table, a likely move is acquiring a right-handed-hitting left fielder to compete with Enrique Hernandez as a platoon-mate for Joc Pederson, Alvin Toles or Alex Verdugo.
Whom they can or need to trade
Adrian Gonzalez tops this list -- Cody Bellinger has replaced him at first base, but also because of his herniated disk issues, he is owed $21.5 million for 2018 and the drama that followed his family trip abroad during the postseason. For all of those reasons, it's unclear what his role would be and how he would be perceived in the clubhouse. The Dodgers also owe $17.6 million to Kazmir, who did not pitch in 2017, with no clear evidence that his body can perform at the Major League level. It's also a long shot, however, that Gonzalez or Kazmir are tradeable. Ryu, McCarthy, Stewart and Thomas Stripling could become trade pieces instead. The club also has a surplus of left-handed-hitting outfielders -- Pederson, Toles, Verdugo -- from which to deal.
RHP Walker Buehler
The No. 1 prospect in the Dodgers' system as ranked by MLBPipeline.com wasn't ready for the postseason, but during a September callup, Buehler showed glimpses of the greatness Dodgers management envisions. However, he pitched only 98 innings in 2017 coming back from Tommy John surgery and the club is faced with stretching him out while not blowing him out.
RHP Dennis Santana
He struggled with command after a midseason promotion to Double-A, but the converted shortstop stepped up in the postseason. He has a heavy sinker, and he's only 21, so management protected him from the Rule 5 Draft.
RHP Trevor Oaks
He's more accomplished than Santana, even if he has a lower ceiling. A strike-thrower who relies on a sinker, Oaks' 2017 season started late because of a strained oblique.
Only 21, Verdugo earned a big league promotion with a solid season at Triple-A, but he was overmatched during a callup and hit only .174. He had six homers in 433 at-bats at Oklahoma City, raising some doubts about his status as an everyday outfielder. He is the No. 2 prospect in the system per MLBPipeline.com
C Yasmani Grandal, LHP Luis Avilan, LHP Wood, RHP Pedro Baez, LHP Tony Cingrani, RHP Josh Fields, OF Pederson, OF Hernandez
Rule 5 Draft
The Dodgers have no room on the 40-man roster at this point and will need to make room to sign free agents or to make a Rule 5 Draft pick. Despite all of the roster manipulations by the front office since it arrived, it hasn't made a Rule 5 Draft selection.
Big contracts to unload
Gonzalez ($21.5 million), Erisbel Arruebarrena ($6.5 million in 2018), Kazmir ($16.7 million in '18), McCarthy ($10 million in '18, conditional option of $5 million-$8 million in '19), Ryu ($7 million in '18).
The Dodgers will be near or at the top of MLB in payroll in 2018, but the trend is downward by design. Current ownership came in promising to rebuild the farm system and create a sustainable model for consistent excellence (five consecutive division titles) without relying on expensive free-agent signings.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.