Dodgers For the Most Part Doing it Right

I had some apprehension with spending $10 M on Dan Haren, but re-signing Brian Wilson, not giving up the organization’s future in a deal for David Price, and not trading (as least not yet; hopefully never) Matt Kemp are the absolute right moves. As Jeremy Dorn wrote on the Bleacher Report, the Dodgers have had a great winter by doing nothing.

The Dodgers’ were in the headlines a year ago, signing Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu to mammoth contracts. This year, it was only relatively paltry sums of $10 M each to Wilson and Haren, and the $28 M for four years to the newest Cuban signee, Alexander Guerrero.

Yasiel Puig L A Dodgers Replica Jersey

The Dodgers may have four starting outfielders, on paper, but it has not translated that way on the field. There is no problem with going into the 2014 season with Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig and Kemp all on the team. Expecting all four to have injury-free 2014 seasons is a dream only, and while there is every hope that Kemp will be able to stay in the lineup on close to an everyday basis, it is totally unrealistic to think the same of Crawford, who will likely miss a lot of time in the course of the long season, and Dodgers’ fan saw the intense, hyper-active play of Puig, that translates to frequent minor

injuries, causing missed games all along the way. Finally, Ethier’s resent history demonstrates that he will also miss time here and there. Thus, in our reality, it is a necessity that these four remain together, as Dodgers’ outfielders, each available to play as often as possible.

The gamble on Haren could pay off big or be another, though less expensive and shorter, Ted Lilly fiasco. The Guggenheim people can certainly afford this gamble, though I still fail to see how he could get that much unless incentives were involved. Wilson, on the other hand, is a great move, in two respects. First, while Kenley Jansen has earned the closer’s

spot and should continue to be one of the best in the NL, in Wilson the Dodgers have a second closer just in case, and one who will likely now serve as the best set-up guy in baseball. Second, though, is the team keeping him from being the difference maker on another team. It seemed that he would have been the perfect successor to Mariano Rivera for the scumstripes. Any number of other contenders could have been put over the top with Wilson, who has been as good as any closer ever and who dispelled any lingering health issues over the last few weeks of the 2013 season and postseason.

Speaking of the bullpen, it is interesting that what appears to now be the team’s biggest weakness – ok, second biggest after that potential hole at third base if they cannot re-sign Jose Uribe – is the need for a lefty in the bullpen. J.P. Howell was tremendous in

that spot last season, but it appears he is a free agent who has abandoned ship and is taking his leftiness elsewhere. Paco Rodriguez did an excellent job as a rookie in pressure situations for most of last season, but he imploded during the postseason (four hits, two walks two runs in 2/3 inning), and his stock dropped almost out of sight.

Making him the number one lefty seems to be the last option the Dodgers are looking at.

Finally, as I am writing this, I now see that the Dodgers have some interest in bringing back Michael Young to be the everyday guy at 3B. I’d rather have Uribe, but Young would be a better move than signing an over-the-hill shortstop and moving Hanely Ramirez to third for a season or two until Corey Seager is ready to take over. I always liked Young, but his late season contributions were minimal and extremely disappointing, certainly in the postseason. But with Ramirez, either you keep him at short or you move him permanently, not for just a season or so, and Seager will be at third certainly no later than sometime in 2015.

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