Dodgers broaden plans beyond pitching
Friedman not concerned with making splash at Winter Meetings
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Pitching rumors involving the Dodgers slowed on Wednesday, followed by president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman telling reporters he could improve the offense, instead.
"There are still a number of good pitchers on the market, but also we don't have any hard-and-fast rules of how to construct our roster," he said at the Winter Meetings.
"There are certain scenarios in which we would be much stronger in one area than another, others where we'd be more balanced across. For us it's about adding as many good to impact players as we can. If you narrow it down to any one area, it makes things more difficult. So we take a more open approach, it can be in different areas as long as it's improving either scoring runs or preventing runs."
The Dodgers were already in search of a starting pitcher when they lost Zack Greinke. They followed that stunning blow with the agreement (still unannounced) to sign free-agent Hisashi Iwakuma and the near-acquisition of reliever Aroldis Chapman. Rumors on Wednesday had them interested in Yankees reliever Andrew Miller.
Friedman said most of his time on Wednesday was spent exploring trade talks, as opposed to free-agent signings. The club apparently is not interested in a long-term deal with Johnny Cueto, nor does it seem convinced Japan's Kenta Maeda is worthy of a crazy bidding war.
Unlike last winter, when Friedman openly communicated a strong desire to trade an outfielder (moving Matt Kemp), he is non-committal on the subject this winter after watching Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford miss large chunks of the season.
"We saw first-hand how valuable that depth was last year," he said.
Last winter Friedman made a pair of three-team trades, while on Wednesday he told reporters "it's much easier to do a straight-up deal with a team. The only time you do it is to bridge a gap and that increases chances to do it, but our preference is always with just one team."
After outbidding the Dodgers for Greinke with money, the D-backs traded their future to outbid the Dodgers and others for starting pitcher Shelby Miller.
"They've been aggressive, doing everything they can to try to knock us off from the three straight division titles and they've made a lot of good, aggressive moves, and we're going to do everything we can to finish the regular season where we did the last three seasons," he said.
The Dodgers are not expected to be active in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft and Friedman said he is not troubled if no needle-moving acquisition occurs this week.
"It's never been important to me, a certain magic about these four days as opposed to days and weeks after," he said. "What it's about is what it look like in April."
He said even if he's only able to make incremental improvements from now until Spring Training he believes the club is "championship caliber."
"We're really excited about the core we have in place, we feel it's a championship caliber core and we continue to build around and add," he said. "Some additions happen in the offseason, some in July, some are near-term, some are long-term. But we feel good about the group we have and excited about the next couple months."