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Dodgers focused on one more win in 2018

Management content on standing pat, replenishing talent from within, avoiding blockbuster deals
MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers' goal for 2018 is simple, just not easy: Win one more game.

The near-miss in 2017, though, hasn't tempted ownership to splurge for a "final piece of the puzzle" from a glacial free-agent market. Management wants to re-sign Yu Darvish, but wants even more to stay below the competitive balance tax threshold, a business decision that will reset payroll penalties and allow for more financial flexibility in coming years.

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers' goal for 2018 is simple, just not easy: Win one more game.

The near-miss in 2017, though, hasn't tempted ownership to splurge for a "final piece of the puzzle" from a glacial free-agent market. Management wants to re-sign Yu Darvish, but wants even more to stay below the competitive balance tax threshold, a business decision that will reset payroll penalties and allow for more financial flexibility in coming years.

So, unless the Dodgers can suddenly move the contract(s) of Logan Forsythe, Yasmani Grandal or Hyun-Jin Ryu, Darvish might be waiting for nothing if he's waiting on the Dodgers.

"There would be some hurdles for us to add any significant contracts at this point," general manager Farhan Zaidi said.

Player agents can make all the noise they want about the market, but the National League champs are simply holding the line, even though the window on the Clayton Kershaw era could be closing because he can opt out of his $215 million contract after this season.

Aside from the salary swap of Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir and Charlie Culberson for Matt Kemp, the Dodgers have essentially stood pat this offseason and aren't apologizing for it.

"Even at the press conference immediately after the season, we said we liked our group of guys and we would be selective, and by and large we'd have the same team," Zaidi said. "As of now, we're anticipating going into the season with this group. With the success of last year, we have every reason to expect success in 2018."

The Dodgers saw the Giants trade for Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. Los Angeles was rumored to be trying to pluck Giancarlo Stanton or Christian Yelich from the Miami fire sale, but both players landed elsewhere, with the Marlins receiving prospect packages in return.

But since Andrew Friedman took over as president of baseball operations, expensive splashes are not in the Dodgers' playbook. The biggest outlays under Friedman came last winter, when he re-signed key Dodgers Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner and Rich Hill. Friedman hasn't signed a nine-figure deal, and he probably won't.

This organization is committed to replenishing talent from within, and it's hard to argue with recent results -- back-to-back NL Rookie of the Year Award winners Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger. It relies on discovering the overlooked, like Alex Wood, Chris Taylor and Brandon Morrow. It's willing to push young prospects like Bellinger, Julio Urias and Walker Buehler.

Even while standing pat, the roster is loaded. The Dodgers missed a ring by one win. The 29 other teams start Spring Training with much more to worry about.

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

Los Angeles Dodgers