Spring training games start this weekend, so the expects are sneaking in their final offseason grades.
Jon Heyman of FanRag issued his verdicts, and the Dodgers were among the top teams. He gave the team an “A,” applauding Andrew Friedman for retaining the team’s high profile free agents while also maintaining arguably the best depth in baseball.
“They brought the whole gang back. And why not? Kenley Jansen is one of the top three closers in baseball, and he understandably wanted to stay with the organization that converted him from catcher (plus, he had family reasons to stay). Rich Hill got the big deal he’d been waiting for forever, and that was a nice twist to a heart-wrenching story. And Justin Turner has become one of the better clutch hitters in baseball. They even returned clubhouse favorite Chase Utley on a late surprise, after getting a much needed right-handed bat, the improving Logan Forsythe from Andrew Friedman’s old team. Ian Kinsler or Brian Dozier would have been even better, but the Dodgers like their prospects (and they’ve been proven right over the years for holding them tight: see Corey Seager and Julio Urias). With Hyun-Jin Ryu said to be back in better health, no one has depth like them.”
It’s hard to argue with Heyman’s logic. The Dodgers kept three of the best free agents in the market in Turner, Hill and Jansen. The team acquired Forsythe at a modest price to address two (potentially three, if he leads off) major needs. Plus, the team kept veteran leader Utley and added an experienced, championship reliever in Sergio Romo.
The Dodgers might have the best depth in the league, but they’ll hope it isn’t tested to the degree it was in 2016.
Los Angeles is well positioned for another playoff run. Has it done enough to finally break through in the NL? Time will tell.