3. Lessen The Logjam In The Outfield
What seems like a good problem to have can easily turn to a disruptive problem in the clubhouse. Andre Ethier was a professional last season in his demotion to the bench, but how long will that last?
Will Scott Van Slyke be fine in a platoon role again? Does Carl Crawford believe he should be benched against left-handers?
All those questions can come up in another season with all the crowdedness in the outfield. Friedman and his future GM must find a way to deal at least one of the outfielders. While Ethier is the name most believe will be traded, the Dodgers would have to eat a significant portion of his contract.
Same goes for Crawford. In both those instances, the Dodgers may not receive much in return. Van Slyke could bring back more value than both, but would leave the Dodgers without a right-handed power bat off the bench.
As long as the Dodgers understand that they will have to eat some money, they should be able to move at least one of their outfielders. If they can move more than one, then Joc Pederson could find himself in the starting outfield.
2. Improve The Bullpen
It was no surprise that the area the Dodgers struggled with all year is what ultimately cost them in October. Inconsistent became synonymous with the bullpen, minus Kenley Jansen and J.P. Howell. However, even Howell lost it towards the end of the year and in the playoffs.
While the Dodgers have help in the Minors, they must work to develop that talent if they plan to go that route. Pedro Baez, Jose Dominguez, Yimi Garcia and Daniel Coulombe all spent some time in the big leagues this season and could return in 2015.
Combine them with Jansen, Howell, Brian Wilson, Brandon League and Paco Rodriguez, and the bullpen could be set. Also, Chris Withrow would be set to return late in the year after recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Depth should be the focus in the bullpen. If the Dodgers can sign talent like Andrew Miller or Koji Uehara, they can continue to develop their young relievers and have more than a few options in the later innings.
1. Bring Back Hanley Ramirez
Despite his struggles on defense and his inability to stay on the field, the Dodgers main priority should be keeping Hanley Ramirez in Los Angeles.
Ramirez is still the best offensive player at his position and a significant part of the lineup. Although he was unable to replicate his 2013 numbers, Ramirez still hit .283 and drove in 71 runs.
The Dodgers have plenty of help defensively up the middle that can replace the slugging shortstop in the later innings, much like this season.
There isn’t much on the free agent market at shortstop and the combination of Erisbel Arruebarrena and Miguel Rojas could not combine to produce numbers similar to Ramirez, and Corey Seager is still at least a year away from making an impact.
Presenting Ramirez with a qualifying offer should be a no-brainer but regardless, the Dodgers should try to sign him to a two or three-year deal.