With free agency, award season and winter leagues underway, the off-season is in full effect and will bring lots of news in the coming weeks.
The Dodgers had plenty going on in the last week, both good and bad, as we take a look at what was trending up and down with the Dodgers.
Nick “Chili” Buss
Buss spent some time with the Dodgers to end the year after the Dodgers needed outfielders to get through the end of the season. This week, Buss was rewarded for his minor league efforts as he was named to the Topps’ Triple-A All-Star Team for the 2013 season. Buss was one of nine players voted to the team after a season in which he hit .303 with 17 home runs and 100 RBI with the Dodgers’ affiliate Albuquerque Isotopes.
The 26-year-old outfielder is currently playing in Venezuela with the Cardenales de Lara and has been doing very well. In nine games, Buss is hitting .306 while driving in six runs. He has three extra-base hits and has scored five times.
Buss will be looking to improve his chances of making the Dodgers next season as an extra outfielder and a strong winter league showing may help his case.
The Dodger ace’s name was seen all over the award season circuit with nominations and a victory. Kershaw was nominated for three GIBBY awards for MLB MVP, Starting Pitcher of the Year and Pitching Performance of the Year. Kershaw was nominated for Starting Pitcher of the Year last season but didn’t win.
Kershaw also won the Players’ Choice for NL Outstanding Pitcher Award this week, which was announced on MLB Network. The 25-year-old won the award voted on by his peers.
Finally, Kershaw was named a finalist for the NL Cy Young award yesterday. Largely seen as the frontrunner for the award, the left-hander is one of three finalists for the top pitching award. The Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright and the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez were the other finalists.
The sixth-year player could find himself with a few more awards in the coming months to further prove the fact that the Dodgers should sign him to an extension.
After being an up-and-down year as manager of the Dodgers, Don Mattingly received some love this week when he was announced a nominee and a finalist for two awards.
Mattingly was named a nominee for the GIBBY for Manager of the Year and a finalist for NL Manager of the Year. He was chosen along with the Pirates’ Clint Hurdle and the Braves’ Fredi Gonzalez for the BBWAA award.
The Dodger manager was recognized for leading a team, that at one point was 30-42, to a division title and a playoff berth. Even if Mattingly doesn’t win, he can be satisfied knowing that his contributions were seen.
Mark Ellis and Chris Capuano
The second baseman and left-handed pitcher both had their options declined last week by the Dodgers, likely bringing an end to their time in Los Angeles. Ellis was made expendable following the signing of Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero and Capuano was without a starting job for a majority of the season after a productive 2012 campaign.
If any of the two are brought back, it likely would be Ellis. The Dodgers may decide to sign Ellis to become an insurance policy in case Guerrero isn’t the player they expected. If the Dodgers are confident in Guerrero, then Ellis will be gone because his value is at second base and bench spots usually don’t go to players with one position.
Capuano won’t be back with the team next season, as the team has bigger plans in their future and are moving towards a younger team. He should find a team willing to pick him up and compete for a spot in spring training.
Herrera’s days as a Dodger are over after he was claimed off waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers this week. This could be a good move for Herrera, especially if he can find consistent playing time in the major leagues; however, he may have had a chance to play with the Dodgers with the pending departures of Nick Punto, Skip Schumaker and Jerry Hairston, Jr.
The 28-year-old played in 67 games for the Dodgers in 2012 but only played in four this season due to the additions of Schumaker and Punto. Herrera now finds himself on a team that finished in fourth place in the NL Central last season, instead of competing for a spot with the reigning NL West champions.
In case you missed it-Dodgers Decline Mark Ellis And Chris Capuano Options