Official Dodgers 2012-13 Off-Season Thread
Well, last night's game was perfectly symbolic of the Dodgers season. They dug themselves a hole, made a valiant effort to comeback, but along the way squandered too many opportunities and failed to execute when needed.
I don't consider this season a disappointment, it was a pretty chaotic year and I think the Dodgers surpassed expectations. I never fully bought that ownership made the big deals in order to try to win it all this year, I really believe they were trying to get a head-start on next year. Victorino, Blanton, and League were definitely band-aid "win now" moves, but they didn't give up much for them and in the end the returns were minimal (I think League could return in 2013, especially with concerns for Kenley). The big moves for Hanley, Gonzo, Beckett and Crawford will pay more dividends in the coming seasons as the team finally gets the chance to build something from the very beginning rather than on the fly.
Looking at the roster, there aren't many openings for next year. Injuries will play a role, especially regarding Billingsley, Lilly, and Crawford, but here's what I see that they currently have for 2013:
SP: Kershaw, Beckett, Capuano, Harang, Lilly, Billingsley, Fife, Ely
RP: Jansen, Belisario, Guerra, Elbert, Paco, Tolleson, Guerrier, Wall, Hawksworth
C: Fed, AJ Ellis
2B: Mark Ellis
IF: Hairston, Uribe, Punto, Cruz, Herrera, Sellers
OF: Van Slyke, Castellanos, Puig, Gwynn Jr.
Free Agents: Rivera (team option), Victorino, Abreu, Kennedy, Treanor (team option) , Blanton, League, Choate, Wright, Coffey (team option)
Starting pitching is a tough one, because Lily and Bills are both question marks. My guess is they lose Bills for the year, and management pursues at least one starter (Greinke or Dempster) as only Kershaw, Bills, and Beckett are signed beyond 2013. My gut says Dempster is in Dodger Blue next year and Greinke is with the Rangers or Angels.
The bullpen looks decent, I think League would be good insurance at closer and a solid setup man if Kenley is healthy. The traditional vet looking to hang on (McD, Wright, etc.) will be brought in, whether Wright returns or mid 30s reliever gets his shot. If Paco is ready, he solves the lefty out of the pen problem though a vet will likely be brought in to compete (Orosco still around??).
The position players are pretty set, I think the Dodgers should stick with AJ and Fedz behind the plate. The only question on the infield is where Hanley plays. My guess is they start fresh for 2013 with Hanley at 3B and let Cruz and Gordon battle for SS. If Gordon wins the job, Cruz still sticks as the platoon mate and primary backup at 2B and 3B. If Cruz wins, Gordon is in AAA. Hairston is a lock to remain as backup IF/LF, and Punto probably stays too. Don't see any way they retain Uribe even with his massive salary, he probably gets released and catches back on with SF to burn the Dodgers at some point next year. Herrera is insurance in AAA, Sellers insurance for Herrera or more likely moves on to a new organization.
The OF definitely needs a right handed bat, hopefully it's someone better than Rivera. Between Crawford's injury concerns and Ethier's struggles against lefties, there will be a lot of ABs for the 4th outfielder. Hairston was solid, but would rather he stay as super utility. A guy like Cody Ross would be perfect, and the Dodgers are now the type of team not afraid to overpay a guy like him. Don't think Puig will be ready in time for 2013, but if he could also solve that problem. Gwynn Jr. is still under contract, though I can't see him back with the big club again so he's likely be traded or cut this offseason.
I really don't foresee any blockbuster moves this offseason, I think management saw the free agent landscape and decided to make their play in-season when there was less competition for the big money players and they could maximize their payroll capabilities while also taking advantage of two teams who wanted to "shake things up" by dealing for Gonzo, Hanley, Beckett, and Crawford. Greinke is the big name out there but don't see him coming to the Dodgers.
Dodgers spend $25.7 million for rights to Ryu Hyun-jin
Could Ryu Hyun-jin possibly be ready as a legit #3/4 starter. Get a deal done! Lefty with a sick fastball. Only seen highlights, but it looks like he attacks the strike zone early in the count and starts moving down and away with a nice change-up.
Ned's new found wallet, throwing some more coin around the international circuit.
Yasiel Puig looks like he could be scary, just might not be ready for the show quite yet.