With Spring Training fast approaching, MLB.com will take a look at a different aspect of this year's Dodgers squad each day this week. Today's topic: What's the vision?LOS ANGELES -- Since arriving, the owners have spent billions for the business, more than $1 billion in payroll, hundreds of millions to
With Spring Training fast approaching, MLB.com will take a look at a different aspect of this year's Dodgers squad each day this week. Today's topic: What's the vision?
LOS ANGELES -- Since arriving, the owners have spent billions for the business, more than $1 billion in payroll, hundreds of millions to upgrade their stadium and Dominican Republic academy, and they have overhauled the front office with a dream team of executives and an emphasis on cutting-edge analysis.
All that's left is winning a World Series, although that drought is 29 seasons and counting over four ownerships.
The Dodgers fell two wins short of reaching the Fall Classic last year, which convinced president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman not to mess with a good thing over the offseason. He re-signed three key free agents and made one major acquisition -- John Forsythe -- to fill multiple holes.
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The Dodgers are multitaskers. They believe they can win now -- and later. They shoot for a World Series while transitioning to a business model more sustainable than bidding wildly on every marquee free agent.
The farm system is producing, so they slide in top young players like Corey Seager and Julio Urias. But it's not a full-scale rebuild, because they spend to keep free agents like Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner and Rich Hill, while dealing from young depth to fill a hole at second base in the Forsythe-for-Jose De Leon deal.
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"I think it's the cliché of kind of 'one eye on the present, one eye on the future,'" said Friedman. "I think we have to do everything we can to put ourselves in the best position to win a championship in 2017, but all the while maintaining as competitive a team as we can moving forward.
"One of the traps that I think large-revenue teams can fall in is kind of falling off a cliff, and that takes a long time to build back up. So we're very mindful of that and trying to do everything we can to maintain a championship-caliber team for as far as we can see out."
The elephant in the room: Clayton Kershaw is under control for only two more seasons.
"I've been around really good teams where we felt some change was necessary," Friedman said. "I've also been around really good teams where it hasn't been the case. I think that's one of the trickiest things that we have to do each and every offseason, is to assess that as accurately as we can and move forward accordingly.
"It's tough. It's a tricky dynamic and it's one that we're obviously putting more emphasis on our 2017 team than we are on our 2018 team. That being said, we just can't turn both eyes to the 2017 team exclusively, and that gets at our young players and the depth that we've created. I think that's something that will help a lot going forward. Having that kind of depth provides a lot of different guys who have a chance to come up here and impact us here, as well as others we can be more aggressive with on the trade market to address other needs."
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.