If the Dodgers are hypothetically sitting around the Thanksgiving dinner table with all of the other MLB teams, they should remember this famous saying: “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” We are in the middle of the offseason and the Dodgers haven’t made any moves yet.
Josh Reddick has left for the Astros, and there have been a lot of Ian Kinsler rumors. Maybe its time for the Dodgers to sit next to the Giants and other NL teams that could oust the Dodgers at this hypothetical table and see what they’re up to. Let’s take a look at each NL West team and other NL contenders and examine their goals for this offseason.
San Francisco Giants
Even though the Giants “even year” magic is over, they still have a lot of talent around them to try and derail the Dodgers quest to win a fifth straight NL West title. Buster Posey is on the books until 2021, and Madison Bumgarner and Hunter Pence do not become free agents until the next offseason. The Giants have been very quiet so far this offseason (only making minor league moves), but their offseason needs are pretty obvious. Closer is priority number one, and then bullpen help follows suit.
Giants official early this week: "We are getting one of the big closers." Mark Melancon scheduled to be in SF today for an in-person visit.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 11, 2016
The Giants seem to be linked to Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen as well as Melancon, as they should be. They feel confident they can land one of these three premium arms. If not, the Giants GM Bobby Evans said that Greg Holland is a “very good option” even though he is he rehabbing. CSN Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic reported that the Giants have not had serious talks with Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, or Javier Lopez, with Casilla being the least likely to return. Romo may sign back with the Giants later in the offseason if no other team goes after him. The Giants may also be putting themselves in the Yoenis Cespedes sweepstakes, but how much money are they willing to spend? Shoring up their bullpen seems to be more important.
There is no doubt that the Colorado Rockies can hit the ball, but in order for them to reach the postseason for the first time since 2009, they have to figure out their pitching woes. It is hard to pitch in the thin air of Coors Field, and the Rockies are still trying to get a quality pitching staff together. Unfortunately for the Rockies (and every other team looking for starting pitching), there aren’t many quality starting pitching options this free agency. The Rockies haven’t emerged as the favorites to sign any high name pitchers anyways, so they may just stick with the young guys they have and try to continue developing them. The Rockies like Jon Gray and Tyler Anderson, two pitchers who did a great job during their rookie seasons.
Chad Bettis is another in-house name they may want to keep. The Rockies may bring up Jeff Hoffman (the top prospect in the Troy Tulowitzki trade) and Kyle Freeland, another minor leaguer who may be ready for the big leagues. Other than that, the Rockies have a big hole at first base as the Mark Reynolds experiment didn’t do so well. Matt Holliday, interestingly, may be an option for them as he expressed some interest in return. He can still hit at 36 years old and has moved from the outfield to play first base this past season.
San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres are a peculiar team to look at this offseason. They are in rebuild mode after trading away James Shields, Matt Kemp, and Melvin Upton Jr. last season. They still do have one gem in Wil Myers, who represented the Padres in the All-Star game in San Diego, and he is one of the many players who are arbitration eligible.
The Padres have 12 total players that are arbitration eligible, including:
- Derek Norris
- Yangervis Solarte
- Christian Friedrich
If the Padres are to be in the free agent market, it would be small moves like re-signing free agent outfielder Jon Jay, finding a veteran shortstop for a short deal, or trading for a young infielder. The Padres starting rotation is filled with question marks as well but they will be waiting for staff ace Tyson Ross to come back from injury. They could sign a veteran pitcher like Edwin Jackson or Clayton Richard to a one-year deal to complete their rotation. Maybe a pitcher like Jorge De La Rosa wants to come to the Padres with something to prove.
After signing Zack Greinke last offseason, the Arizona Diamonbacks had high expectations but disappointed in a big way. They lost 93 games, and manager Chip Hale and general manager Dave Stewart both lost their jobs. Torey Luvullo, the Red Sox’s former bench coach, took over the manager reigns and the Dbacks hired a management team more willing to use analytics.
Arizona had a serious case of the injury bug when star outfielders A.J. Pollack and David Peralta got injured. The team also has young starters in Archie Bradley, Robbie Ray, and Braden Shipley who are looking to improve. It is tough to see who Arizona may go after, as they have a lot of question marks at many different places.
Their hitting seems more promising then their pitching with Paul Goldschmidt leading the way, so they may go after lower quality relievers in free agency like a Santiago Casilla or a Fernando Rodney to bolster the back end of the bullpen. There is also the potential that the new management team, led by Mike Hazen, could blow up the roster and opt for a complete rebuild.
Assuming the Cubs don’t significantly drop off, the Dodgers may be in store for a rematch with the Washington Nationals in the playoffs next year. They re-signed Chris Heisey to a one-year deal after he performed well with them, and there has been rumors about the Nationals possibly trading for White Sox ace Chris Sale. But the big fish the Nationals must address is closer Mark Melancon, whom the Nationals traded for mid-season.
It is plausible to assume the Nationals would want him back given his importance against the Dodgers, but it is unknown how much money they want to spend. If the Nationals miss out on Melancon (or Chapman and Jansen), they would have to go after a reliever via trade. Wilson Ramos had a successful season last year as catcher and may return, but there are a lot of question marks surrounding him because of his ACL injury that sidelined him from last year’s playoffs.
If the Dodgers want to make the World Series, they will most likely have to go through the Cubs. The Cubs are expected to have a quiet off-season this time around as opposed to last season, when they signed Jason Heyward, John Lackey, and Ben Zobrist. The two free agents the Cubs have are Dexter Fowler, who had a career season, and Aroldis Chapman.
Fowler will be expensive and played a major role to help the Cubs win the World Series, but the Cubs do have options if they choose not to sign him. Kyle Schwarber can step into left field, as well as Jorge Soler, Albert Almora, and Matt Szczur filling in center and right. As far as dealing with Chapman, if the Cubs do not sign him there may be a trade in the works (like trading Soler) to make up for it. General Manager Jed Hoyer is prepared for life without Chapman.