LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The day the Winter Meetings opened, an agent was asked to gauge the Dodgers' interest in the free agents he represented."The Dodgers," he said, "are out of business."Meaning, for his purposes of peddling high-priced talent, the Dodgers were sitting this one out. And that sure
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The day the Winter Meetings opened, an agent was asked to gauge the Dodgers' interest in the free agents he represented.
"The Dodgers," he said, "are out of business."
Meaning, for his purposes of peddling high-priced talent, the Dodgers were sitting this one out. And that sure was the case, as they left the Winter Meetings on Thursday with the same 40-man roster they brought.
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Hot Stove fans will be disappointed -- especially when they see Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna go elsewhere in a Marlins fire sale. But it means the Dodgers' business model is working.
The Dodgers have a World Series team. The farm system has produced back-to-back National League Rookie of the Year Award winners. They did the heavy lifting a year ago by spending nearly $200 million to re-sign Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner and Rich Hill.
The Dodgers want to reduce payroll to minimize -- if not eliminate -- exposure to luxury taxes and Draft penalties. Their biggest play so far was for bargain Japanese two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani last week, but they fell short.
So the Dodgers will spend the rest of the offseason looking to improve on the margins, with the biggest need being to restock a bullpen that has lost setup man Brandon Morrow and figures to also be without lefty Tony Watson, who went on the free-agent market.
After transforming Joe Blanton and Morrow from discarded starting pitchers to essential bullpen pieces the past two years, the Dodgers will scour the analytics looking for the next diamond in the rough. Officials, though, say Morrow's loss is somewhat mitigated by the return of Yimi Garcia from Tommy John surgery and having Trade Deadline acquisition Tony Cingrani to start the season.
The Dodgers will monitor the bidding for Yu Darvish in case the market falls apart and he becomes a bargain, but officials have said they have enough depth that they aren't aggressively targeting any front-line starter as Clayton Kershaw enters his opt-out season.
With Alvin Toles returning from knee surgery and Joc Pederson's revival in the World Series, there is cautious optimism of depth in the outfield, even though the trade availability of an Andrew McCutchen is intriguing. And when the dust settles, they just might have enough money left over to bring back clubhouse leader Chase Utley, as they did this year at the start of Spring Training.
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The club also needs to hire replacements for bullpen coach Josh Bard, who went to the Yankees as bench coach, and quality assurance coach Juan Castro, who was hired to run Tijuana's Mexican League club.
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And the Dodgers figure to retain their top-level prospects, headed by right-handed pitcher Walker Buehler.
Rule 5 Draft
With their roster full at 40, the Dodgers did not select or lose a player in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft.
GM's bottom line
"We don't have clear needs that we are aggressively shopping for, moreso than in past seasons. We at least have guys around the diamond and in the rotation and in the 'pen. We are looking for upgrades. So it's less targeted." -- Zaidi
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.