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:
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.
Ethier and his inability to hit lefties concerns me. The dude needs to be sent to winter ball where he faces nothing but lefties.
Well, he has the best guy in the league to help teach him. Adrian Gonzalez is the bizarro world Ethier, he actually hits for better average and higher OPS versus lefties. There are a few players that can hold their own and have fairly decent splits vs. lefties (LaRoche, Votto) but I don't think I've ever seen a lefty who does markedly better against left-handed pitching like A-Gone. His splits (average & OPS) against righties/lefties:
2012: .286/.322 & .787/.846
3 year 09-11: .304/.326 & .855/.902
Ethier in the same timeframe:
2012: .325/.222 & ..944/.606
3 year 09-11: .321/.225 & .927/.600
So it's time for Ethier to get with A-Gone and figure this thing out, clearly Adrian has an approach (along with ability) that works against lefties!! And it's something he figured out recently, he hit .213 with .675 OPS against lefties in 08, .234/.770 in 09, then he flipped the switch and has gone .337/.937, .321/.787, and .322/.846 in the past three years.
Last edited by Frolov24; October 15th, 2012 at 09:15 AM.
I think you can expect to hear A-Rod to the Dodgers rumors circulate as soon as the Yanks are bounced from the playoffs. The Dodgers have become the go-to for any potential salary dump rumor, and he is obviously the biggest one out there. Can't imagine there is any way the Dodgers even entertain the thought, if it's uncertain if A-Rod is even an upgrade over Luis Cruz then what is there to talk about. But with the Yanks likely to be desperate to move him, the Marlins and Dodgers will be mentioned.
He's owed $114MM over the next 5 years, with another $12MM in incentives likely. So of the $126MM he's owed, what would the Yanks have to eat in order to deal him to LA or anywhere else? $75MM? $100MM? $150MM? What would A-Rod get if he was a free agent this offseason? I think 2 years/$15MM maybe? Maybe 3 years and $25MM? A 37 year old 3B that averaged .274 with 17HR and 60 RBI the past 2 years, maybe he'd be a one year deal or even a minor league deal with spring training invite? I thought the Dodgers took on some heavy weight contracts this year, but imagine owing this guy that kind of money! The Angels should take note, they'll be in the same spot with Pujols down the road.
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.
It's going to be nice to finally have a real #2 behing Kersh.
Seriously. I've already seen people comparing this to the Kevin Brown deal in a negative sense.
Not even in the same stratosphere. Brown was 34 when he signed. Greinke is 29. Brown also pitched pretty damn well for most of his time with the Dodgers. If Greinke can have some seasons like Brown did, I'll be pretty damn happy.