Somehow, the 2015 campaign hasn’t even ended and the Dodgers have already kicked off the offseason with a bang. Though if you watched that press conference on Thursday, it was much more of a say-a-whole-bunch-of-words-and-maybe-laugh-awkwardly-but-don’t-actually-say-anything. As most in the baseball world will be watching how this World Series plays out, the Los Angeles have quite the undertaking upon them. So, here are 10 thing I’ll be watching for in the coming months and into Spring Training.
10. Second Base
Looking back, it’d be interesting to ask the front office whether they would pull the trigger on moving Dee Gordon for Howie Kendrick essentially. Yes, there was a second move that actually brought Kendrick to Los Angeles, but the series moves basically meant Gordon was out and Kendrick was in.
Now, Kendrick is a free agent-to-be and the Dodgers have to ask themselves whether they should bring him back, bring up a prospect at the position or look elsewhere to fill the hole. (Daniel Murphy, anyone?)
9. Left Field
By the time the playoffs came around, Carl Crawford had transformed into something not too far from useless at the plate. Given his incredible salary over the next two seasons, the Dodgers are at a crossroads where they’d like to see a greater return on that investment, but the reality that they probably won’t is probably setting in.
8. Right Field
It’s fairly safe to assume the only spot in the outfield the Dodgers feel even remotely comfortable about the way the roster might play out is in center, and questions remain even there (more on that in a bit). Yasiel Puig is the most talented player who would spend time in right, but his maturity on and off the field has been a story going on two years at this point.
Andre Ethier enjoyed something of a bounce-back season, so if Puig is moved, the Dodgers can at least plug someone in that spot. Defensively, though, if Ethier and Crawford are your arms in right and left field, runners will be free to run as aggressively as they like.
7. Starting Pitching
In recent seasons, the Dodgers have boasted the most intimidating one-two punch of starting pitching in the MLB. After Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, though, there’s been a pretty steep dropoff to that next starter. With the sheer amount of resources the Andrew Friedman is working with, it would be nice to find someone more consistent after Kershaw and (hopefully) Greinke. I’d imagine that last part will come up again later in this list.
Similarly with the starting pitching, the bullpen is dominated by a singular presence. Kenley Jansen is as good a closer as any team has coming out of their bullpen. The issue, though, is getting the ball to Jansen after any start going shorter than eight innings. This has been an issue going on a few seasons now, and that the moves they made to fix it last winter didn’t work has to be frustrating for the entire front office.
The above topics were more general issues that the front office will have to address with multiple moves and various forms of maneuvering both inside and outside the organization. There are, however some players and specific priorities that will require very complicated questions be answered.