Dodgers poised for another active Meetings week
LOS ANGELES -- The new Dodgers management team hijacked the Winter Meetings a year ago with a dizzying flurry of deals to remake the roster, but the result was a National League Division Series elimination from the postseason, just like the season before.
Going into next week's Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., the roster seems to need just as much work, if not more. The Dodgers are facing the potential free-agent departure of NL Cy Young Award runner-up Zack Greinke, and top alternatives like David Price and Jordan Zimmermann are already off the board.
Not that club executives are sounding any alarms.
"We have enough alternatives with free agents and the trade market that there's no time pressure for us to land a starting pitcher," general manager Farhan Zaidi said this week.
MLB.com and MLB Network will have wall-to-wall coverage of the 2015 Winter Meetings from the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, with the Network launching 35 hours of live Winter Meetings coverage on Sunday at 5 p.m. PT. Fans can also catch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, as well as the announcement of the Hall of Fame Pre-Integration Era Committee inductees on Monday at 8 a.m. PT and the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday at 7 a.m. PT.
Retaining Greinke is supposedly the Dodgers' priority -- partner Magic Johnson said so -- although Greinke is also in the sights of the rival Giants, who might be willing to guarantee a 32-year-old pitcher more years than the Dodgers, who keep talking about wanting to get "younger."
But with an anticipated Greinke salary of around $30 million per year that would put him in the Price and Clayton Kershaw neighborhood, maybe president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman was preparing the populace for lowered expectations when he said: "The free-agent market, if you look back over time, it hasn't necessarily resulted in helping teams win in October. There's just not that high a correlation between it.
"On one hand, by making big splashy deals, you win the winter headlines, but more often than not, you aren't having a parade at the end of October."
That's why rumors of trading Joc Pederson for 25-year-old Braves ace Shelby Miller have legs. Although this regime signed free-agent pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson and shortstop Jimmy Rollins last winter, with mixed results, its biggest splashes were made by trading Matt Kemp and Dee Gordon, also with mixed results.
Greinke's camp has been silent about his free agency, but there are some who aren't sure he even wants to re-sign with the Dodgers. His dislike for the antics of Yasiel Puig is no secret, and he must not have been thrilled at the club's lack of impact moves at the Trade Deadline, because he issued a "no comment" when asked during the season.
Friedman again called left-handed pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu a wild card because he's returning from shoulder surgery, but he said it was only "critical" that the club add one starting pitcher.
He said Jose Peraza and Kiké Hernandez could start at second base, but it is more likely that the Dodgers re-sign Howie Kendrick or acquire a veteran.
The Dodgers' pursuit of relievers has been widely rumored, focusing on free-agent right-handers Darren O'Day and Ryan Madson.
As far as trade pieces to offer, the Dodgers would be willing to move the contracts of veteran outfielders Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier, but other clubs will more likely be asking for closer Kenley Jansen (one year from free agency) and Puig.