L.A. has had a solid offseason. It re-signed Rich Hill, Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen while making several minor depth additions. The team has not added a piece that leads one to believe it is better than last year. The front office has been conservative again, electing to hang onto its prospects and resist the temptation of a free agent splurge.

Count ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian in the crowd of those who believe the Dodgers are operating below their means. On Buster Olney’s Baseball Tonight podcast, Kurkjian was asked which team most needs to make a move and he opined Los Angeles. They talk Dodgers a little after the 52:00 mark.

“The Dodgers have a very good team. The Dodgers are going to be fine no matter what. But to be at this stage, and not sure who their left fielder’s going to be, and not sure who their second baseman is going to be, and still having some questions with their starting pitching; I think you look at them and I put them in there because they, of course, have the most resources, money, prospects, to make deals and yet they haven’t made a deal for Brian Dozier, and I’m not sure they’re going to, or Ryan Braun to play the outfield or anything like that.

The Dodgers have done this before where they just kind of lay back and then go make the deal they need to make. I think they need to do something because the Giants got better and if the Dodgers are going to win the World Series, which is all they ever think about, I think they need to make a move at second base, left field or maybe both.”

Olney added he believes the Twins may decide to move Dozier if they feel his streakiness may damage his value. The logic is his value has peaked and if he struggles to open the season, the rest of the league will be quick to consider last season’s run smoke and mirrors. Kurkjian said he thinks Dozier will become more consistent with maturity and he’s surprised no other teams have made a play for him.

The Giants haven’t made much noise, but signing Mark Melancon was a colossal move in the NL pennant race. San Francisco’s inability to protect a lead cost it homefield advantage in the divisional series and almost kept it out of the postseason altogether. Adding one of the better closers in baseball almost certainly adds at least a few wins for the Giants.

Andrew Friedman and the front office have taken a lot of criticism for their conservative approach. Kurkjian’s assessment is fair. L.A. hasn’t added much to its team this winter, and it’s counting on collective production in the corner outfield spots with a complete unknown situation at second. We know Dozier is the prime target, and we recently heard Braun could still be on the table. Kurkjian goes so far as to say the team might need to add players at second and left. The Dodgers could realistically acquire Dozier and Braun without adding too much to the payroll.

All eyes will be on the second base situation until spring training. A Dozier resolution should come in the next several days. If he stays in Minnesota or goes elsewhere, the Dodgers won’t have a shortage of alternatives to investigate.

The Dodgers reportedly value Cody Bellinger differently than Jose De Leon

About The Author

News Desk

Gabe Burns is an award-winning journalist. He serves as a reporter and editor at the DodgersNation news desk. He additionally works as editor-in-chief of The Spectator, Valdosta State University's student paper. Burns' work has been featured on a number of platforms, including Draft Breakdown and Pro Football Spot. His byline has been cited in media such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. Aside from covering Dodgers baseball, Burns enjoys watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Orlando Magic and Tampa Bay Lightning.

27 comments
AlwaysCompete
AlwaysCompete

I am grateful that Andrew Friedman does not take advice from Tim Kurkjian.  The Dodgers are not the same team as they started last year.  Rich Hill will be on the roster for the entire year.  Even if he is only good for 20-25 starts and 100-150 IP, those will be far more quality IP than Stripling/Stewart/De Leon/McCarthy/Kazmir (#5 thru #10 - any order anyone wants to place them) who would assume his role if he were not on the roster.  I am not counting on Ryu being able to return and be an effective starting pitcher, and I think Alex Wood ends up in the bullpen, becoming the LH version of Joe Blanton.  Hopefully Kershaw will not lose 2 months to a bad back.  Ethier/Toles are replacing Crawford.  Pederson will hopefully continue to improve as much as if not more than last year.  If Puig is not moved, maybe he grows up enough to showcase his talent.  Both Trayce Thompson and SVS will hopefully be healthy for the year. 


Would the Dodgers be better in 2017 if Dozier was at 2B and De Leon in Minnesota?  I think they would, because I do not believe that Kike' (the current leader to start at 2B) can replicate 2015, and De Leon will be good in 2017 but there a number of decent #5 starter options for 2017.  For 2019 I do not know, but one never knows the eventual outcome with prospects.  But for 2017, Dozier improves the odds for WS more than JDL.  Defensively/base running I like Chris Taylor; I just do not think he can hit enough to be an everyday 2B. But why not give it a try in lieu of overpaying for Dozier (or Forsythe/Kinsler/Phillips...)?  I would be willing to do a slight to moderate overpay for Villar, but I doubt the Brewers have any desire to look at any fair trade.


The Dodgers were in a position to get to the WS in 2016 with Kershaw and Hill due to take the mound in NLCS Games 6 & 7.  The Dodgers were also facing two RHP in Games 6 & 7, so no LHP issues.  Thus, the FO got the roster to the point where the players needed to finish it.  It's just that Kershaw was still not able to do his best MadBum in a playoff game.  I am not blaming Kershaw, but I am just pointing out that the FO put together a team that could get it done but didn't.  Were the Cubs better individually than LAD?  I would say yes.  But the best roster does not always win the WS.  The object is to get to the playoffs and then let the players do the rest (i.e SF in 2010, 2012, and 2014 and KC in 2015).


To imply that the 2017 Dodgers are not as strong as they started with in 2016 is just not correct, IMO. If the question is are they better than the Cubs on paper, I do not beleive that they are.  And I am not sure that adding Dozier and/or Braun gets LAD to that position.  But that does not mean that they cannot get to and win the WS with our without Dozier and/or Braun.  If the Dodgers get to the same spot they were in for the 2016 NLCS, I will take my chances with Kershaw and Hill, and feel good about it.

Skythomsen
Skythomsen

@AlwaysCompete The Cubs in 2015 and 2016 were probably as under-performing as they are going to be for next several years. I think the point Kurkjian is trying to make is that a champion-caliber team doesn't just hope everything works out, but has proven top-caliber talent (whether prospects or vets) to replace inevitable injuries and under-performances.  If the FO had a third proven starter or a proven playoff stud like John Lackey, Dodgers wouldn't  have to have trudged out a tired "rookie' Maeda in Game 4 or another rookie Urias in Game 5, with a tired, over-worked Blanton to blow the games open.  After Games 2 & 3, even Maddon was questioning the Cubs toughness and had the Cubs doubting themselves.


Again, the point Kurkjian I think is trying to make is that, big-market teams with championship aspirations over-kill with the level of talent, not a mix and match with mid-level talent or retreads, and hope everything works out.  To be fair, the Dodgers clearly have a team payroll limit and are still hampered by Nick Colletti's spending spree to quickly make the team interesting and competitive.  Team payroll, as it stands with the 3 FA re-signings is about as high as it's probably going to go, since in 2 yrs, the luxury tax will become much more punitive.  We won't know what a Friedman team with Guggenheim resources will truly look like until 2018, but the hope is that it'll resemble the Cubs' Theo Epstein team of 2016/2017.

AlwaysCompete
AlwaysCompete

@Skythomsen @AlwaysCompete I do not disagree with what you are saying.  My problem with Kurkjian is that IMO he is over-simplifying the situation.  Certainly the Dodgers can improve...but at what cost?  The FO is willing to move De Leon for Dozier, but not Bellinger.  The same with Kinsler.  It appears that the FO would like Braun, but for Puig, Kazmir or McCarthy, and a 2nd tier prospect (or two).  If not, then they will walk away from the deal.  Would the FO want Sale, or Archer,or Quintana to upgrade their #2 and subsequent starters?  Yes, but again at what cost?  Many believe that the Bosox overpaid for Sale, and most agree that the Nats overpaid for Eaton.  The Rays reportedly turned down 3 of the top 4 prospects from the Astros for Archer.  Segura for Walker is probably the most "fair" trade this off-season, at least from my unbiased perspective.  I say unbiased because I do not care about either team.  Because of the lack of quality in the FA market, trades are the most plausible way to improve the team, but the sellers know they are in the driver's seat and they are going to insist on an overpay. I do not blame the Twins for wanting more than De Leon.  They should.  If the Twins would agree to De Leon and Calhoun for Dozier, I believe the trade would be done.    


I would just expect more of an analysis from an experienced ESPN baseball writer than simply saying the Dodgers need to make a move.

JonathanWillcox
JonathanWillcox

@AlwaysCompete The Dodgers are just as strong as they were when they finished the season. And that was not good enough. Also, Kike is not going to start at second base.  No way, no how.  Lastly, Eithier/Toles are replacing Kendrick, not Crawford..big difference...

Skythomsen
Skythomsen

@JonathanWillcox @AlwaysCompete It'll be either Ethier OR Toles since they're both lefties, and I'd guess Toles may win the job in spring training since they probably prefer Ether pinch hitting (thus, the highest paid bench player!). Toles may still have to platoon with Thompson since both Pederson and Puig may be given a chance to play every day.


It looks like more and more, 2B will be filled from within and Utley coming back for cheap. So, Kike may very well be given a chance to hit against lefties. 2 years ago he had one of the best splits against lefties and to be fair, how can any player get any rhythm when one plays as little as he did last season.


This all goes back to the point of Kurkjian article that the Dodgers are one SUPERSTAR away from competing against the Cubs, Indians and Red Sox.

Skythomsen
Skythomsen

@AlwaysCompete What also baffles me is, isn't part of the reason for a farm system is to groom players for MLB but also to provide trading chips for established players? Cubs, Indians and now the Red Sox have all used prospects in the past 2 season to make their respective teams much better, I just don't understand hoarding minor league players, especially when their paths to MLB are blocked by multiple other prospects. The Red Sox trading for Sale is one of the gutsiest moves I've seen, and I don't think Red Sox fanbase can fault them for trying, even if it doesn't work out. Could we have traded for Sale with Urias, JDL and 2 mid-level prospects? I'm guessing yes and Sale is who we hope Urias will become in 5 years.


I really think sometimes that committee of so many "brainiacs" leads to overanalysis and paralysis. Trading for Dozier with JDL and one other top prospect like Buehler or Oaks.  Seems like a no brainer to significantly improve the ball club without a big increase in payroll. And it stabilizes the infield for the next 3-4 years, with Bellinger taking over at 1B at some point. Only reason I can think of is Dozier's defense is so sub-par that they're lukewarm to the trade in the first place.  I still believe Ian Kinsler with some money wasted at the backend for an extension is the better move, since he doesn't strikeout as much and can leadoff. That gives the FO 3-4 years to develop a prospect like Calhoun.

Tmaxster
Tmaxster

@Skythomsen @JonathanWillcox @AlwaysCompete I also disagree with Kirkjians comments. What is the Minor League Farm Teams purpose if not to provide Home Grown Starters that are budget freindly? Kasten made Atlanta a Fortune running the Braves with that philosophy. I would go into Spring and the start of the year with internal 2nd base candidates. Let them compete. Someone named Johnson, Calhoun, Taylor, Culberson or even Kike may surprise you. 

Kirkjian is very misinformned to be;ieve we do not have a strong Outfeild. The Dodger OF this year has been rated 6th and that is brefore we know if Van Slyke and Thompson are healthy. I believe Puig will be pushed this year with Thompson, Van Slyke, and Toles fighting for a spot.

Also winning the WS is a crap shoot. It depends more on who is HOT and injuries than the best club. 

Look at the Giants I do not think they were the best team in at least two out of their three wins. But they got hot and other teams had key injuries that is what happens.


The Indians had key pitching injuries but got HOT and went to the WS. The front office has to get a club that is competetive and able to win a couple of 7 game series. And is deep enough to withstand injury.


No one can believe we will have the injuries of last year. With a full time Kershaw and Jansen how many games in the plus category is that?


Also we will have Hill and Urias full time that is a huge plus gain. as far as left handed hitting Toles hits everyone and we will have Van Slyke and Thompson back I feel very good for our chances in 2017.

AlwaysCompete
AlwaysCompete

@JonathanWillcox @AlwaysCompete  Ethier and Toles are replacing Crawford.  Through June 3 (CC's last day in a Dodger uni), CC started 18 games in left, followed by Kike' with 14, Howie with 11, and Thompson with 10.  The reason I chose to say that Ethier/Toles is replacing CC is because CC was the only LH in that quartet.  There was never a permanent fixture in LF; it was always a platoon, and Ethier/Toles will be replacing CC.  Thompson/SVS will be replacing Howie if they continue to platoon. 


You may be right that Kike' is not going to start at 2B, but right now he is listed as the projected starter on the LAD depth chart.  Per Ken Rosenthal, the Twins/Dodgers are at an impasse on Dozier.  So they are moving on from Dozier.  The Tigers want Bellinger as the starting point for Kinsler (not going to happen), and the FO is not going to extend Kinsler anyway.  Tigers have no reason to trade Kinsler.  They believe they are at least a wild card candidate with only the Indians projecting better in the AL Central.  And with the ChiSox and Twins (arguably the two worst AL teams entering 2017) in the same division, they have a good argument.  The Rays are not going to give Forsythe away.  It will take more than De Leon.  They may be whistling in the wind, but they believe they can contend for a wild card slot in 2017. Maybe LAD can get Solarte out of SD.  Maybe they can convince Brandon Phillips to waive his no-trade for one year to see if Willie Calhoun can make himself into a 2B.  And acquire either one without giving up a major prospect.  But if not, Friedman probably goes back to Utley and platoons him with Kike'/Taylor/Culberson.  If not Utley, then Micah Johnson becomes the LH platoon.  Not ideal, but what if one of them becomes the next Jean Segura.  And no I am not projecting that one of them will.


You are right that the Dodgers were not good enough last year.  But neither were the Nats or Rangers or the 2015 Cardinals (100 wins), Pirates (98 wins) or Cubs (97 wins).  The best team does not always win.  However I will say again...if the Dodgers go into the NLCS games 6 and 7 with Kershaw and Hill scheduled to start, I will take those odds and feel good about their chances.


pauldodgerfan1965
pauldodgerfan1965

@AlwaysCompete @JonathanWillcox

In any event the MAIN weakness for Dodgers is against LHP and that 'platoon' set up does NOTHING to improve on that.  Dodgers figure to be challenged again anyway against LHP until noticeable improvement is seen.

Tmaxster
Tmaxster

@pauldodgerfan1965 @AlwaysCompete @JonathanWillcox Sorry Paul I do not agree. First, Toles has good splits on both sides of the plate the kid can hit. Platoons have been used forever and they do work, that is their function. If Kike can get his stroke back and Thompson and Van Slyke get back that will help tremendously. Turner did better in the year as he was coming back from injury and Gonzo had lower back issues and Barnes will help also as he is a solid contact hitter. 


I believe the Team is much improved over last year and we won the division and came very close to beating the Cubs.

Tmaxster
Tmaxster

@pauldodgerfan1965 @Tmaxster @AlwaysCompete @JonathanWillcox I agree there should be one helluva fight for second base. I am hoping there is one helluva a fight for the outfield. With Toles, Thompson, Puig, Pederson, Van Slyke in the fight.  Pederson probably has CF but I would not let him get too comfortable he still needs to work on his strikeouts and making contact.

jhigelin
jhigelin

@AlwaysCompete  I agree on paper or not we are not as good as the Cubs. I would have loved to see us go after Brad Ziegler the most underated reliever in the game.


Should we take a shot with Sergio Romo and get the beard from San fran like we did with  Brian Wilson before Harding became the beard?


Romo's family were diehard Dodger fans. Just saying.


So we had the best bullpen last year in the National league and deepest starting pitching with 13 guys just not top 3 or four in rotation.


I think Brock Stewart will end up being pretty good.


Hopefully Libertore and Baez can be consistent.


I still think we should be willing to trade Deleon - He reminds me of Ismael Valdez but will never be anything ERA wise like him. Deleon is very hittable in my opinion.


THE BOTTOM LINE WE HAVE NEVER HIT WELL  SINCE THE GARVEY- CEY DAYS IN THE PLAYOFFS ALTHOUGH LAST YEAR WE DID A LITTLE BETTER we HAVE TO BE ABLE TO SCORE LIKE THE CUBS PERIOD! WE HAVE TO GET DOZIER OR BRAUN OR KINSLER.


Really Puig and McCarthy maybe trade Kazmir and throw in Kike although I love bananana man.


We need to get to the world series.


Jhigelin





Skythomsen
Skythomsen

@jhigelin @AlwaysCompete Team payroll is already at $230M with projected luxury tax of $19M. There's more punitive tax for exceeding by $40M (ie., ~$239M in 2017) and including picking 10 spots later in the draft.  FO is not going to let that happen.  There's still the arbitration salaries for Grandal, Wood and SVS, which will get the payroll close to $239M. In other words, they ain't signing no more significant FAs until 2018, when all the dead salaries and Ether comes off the books.

Tmaxster
Tmaxster

@Skythomsen @jhigelin @AlwaysCompete I agree 100%. Unless you see Kazmir and or McCarthy traded with another team taking their full salary the Dodgers are very doubtful to take on more salary. Lots of money comes off next year as you stated. 

jhigelin
jhigelin

@Tmaxster @Skythomsen @jhigelin @AlwaysCompete - we need offense to beat Cubs and Giants and Nats,Mets. Are pitching will be just fine. I get the money issues they want to resolve but what's the goal? Maybe we should get Romo as a setup or give him a try. Just a thought

Crux of the Bizkit
Crux of the Bizkit

You got Toles in Left field  and leading off. What more do you need... Hes a pure hitter and a spark plug runnin the bases. And Trace Thompson helping out...  All the Dodgers really need is one more good starting pitcher. So go get one.

pauldodgerfan1965
pauldodgerfan1965

@Crux of the Bizkit What more do we need?

Players who can hit LHP.  And a lineup that doesn't have to have a separate platoon against a lefty.   A lineup with more 'balance instead of the run production coming all from the LH hitter's box.  As far as I can recall the last couple of WS teams did not employ much platooning the way Dodgers have.  Injuries contributed to that But even Turner struggled against LHP last year as the only real RH impact bat in the lineup.

jhigelin
jhigelin

Puig for Braun do it now-

Deleon and Kiki for Dozier- Love Kiki but we need to get to the world series


Toles leads off, Trace will help against lefties platooning all three spots  Ethier has to be give starting right field until proving he can't do it any more- If we sign Braun then oh well to other outfield corners - could platoon Either and Thompson in left  or right.


Keep Van Slyke- for Kershaw's psche and back up first base-  losing friends -Kemp and his favorite catcher Ellis didn't help , 


We can trade kazmir, or 6-7 guy 


Sign Blanton stupid not to.


We should go for Braun and Dozier   but Bellinger has to be the future when Gonzalez hangs it up. 


If they want the other prospects with Deleon whether in Braun trade or Dozier we have enough to do both.


I'm more than open to fill in for Berman in the announcing booth.


John Higelin

bluz1st
bluz1st

@jhigelin Right now Puig is the BEST right fielder we have and probably is the number one on the depth chart for right (Ethier would argue that point). SO if you give up your BEST outfielder for Braun, so he can play left........how does that really help you? Puig IS your best outfield defender and Braun is an average defender at best. As for Dozier.......if they (MInn) have held out this long after we offered them our second best pitching prospect next to Urias.......why do you think they (the Dodgers front office) have not made the deal? Obviously the Twins want more.......and they probably want Bellinger. JMO, but giving them Bellinger or Verdugo or Alvarez along with De Leon is TOO much. So if they (Minn) don't think De Leon is enough to trade us a lifetime .246 hitter than we should KEEP him. Heck, we could keep De Leon, put him in our rotation at some point during the season, then re-sign Utley for 8 million like he wants and Utley might hit .246.

bluz1st
bluz1st

@jhigelin .........it is only fair to mention that I consider Braun to be the biggest lying scum in baseball and I would despise seeing him become a Dodger........there's that too (Grin!)!

jhigelin
jhigelin

@bluz1st @jhigelin



Love Utley but we were last against righties we need help. If not Dozier we've got to get Kinsler then. 


Braun screwed up but so did our former 2nd baseman in Miami who we all loved. 


Fun to spend the Dodgers money but I hear you. Puig's numbers are dropping every year still seems to be a loss in the clubhouse with him but I wish he could get back to his rookie season and first year numbers.


Oh well will see what happens.


Go Dodgers

bluz1st
bluz1st

@jhigelin  Kinsler would be the way to go now I agree with that one.......start him (Kinsler) two or three years until he starts to regress, then hope Calhoun is ready and can step in....but I get the feeling the Dodgers are going to wait out this Twins deal until someone blinks and gives in to the other.......keep in mind the Twins front office guys are brand new, they want to make a big splash in their fans eyes with this deal.....from what I can tell they are waiting for something to happen at our (the Dodgers) expense.

pauldodgerfan1965
pauldodgerfan1965

@bluz1st @jhigelin

Bluz1st, I read a while back that Twins WOULD do a deal that does not include Bellinger and in any case Bellinger is untouchable as far as I am concerned.  I would be open to the inclusion of Verdugo or Calhoun because they are more LHB

Skythomsen
Skythomsen

@bluz1st @jhigelin Absolutely agree Kinsler is a way better option at 2B, a much improved RH version of Chase Utley. He's a bonafide lead-off hitter, gold glover and kills both RH and LH hitting.  Seems like a perfect fit for the Dodgers for the next 3-4 years, until Calhoun or someone else is ready to take over.


Sticking point is obviously his mandate for an extension and his age, but with a 2-yr extension, he'd be same age as when Utley signed his 1-yr deal. They may take McCarthy and a top prospect (apparently Bellinger is untouchable now); McCarthy's salary would cancel out Kinsler's contract.

Danielsocal
Danielsocal

  I disagree with the point of this article. The question marks at 2nd and left are the type of  things all teams have going into spring training. Do we have better options in left than we started with last year, which was Crawford?! I'd say so. Pitching questions? Alot of teams would like to have 5 different options for the 5th starter. And yes, they would benefit by getting Dozier and while platooning at 2nd isn't ideal, the player combo they would use would be stronger than what they had last year.

 How often do you hear after a trade that it was good for both teams? Much of the time trades are imbalanced, but "necessary" to fill an important position and the desperate team gives up way to much. 

   Dodgers do not have a gun to their head and could start the season today and jump out to a lead. 

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