Just under one week since MLB Free Agency officially began, it’s safe to say the market thus far has been relatively quiet. Of course, that is unless you’re into 6’3 shortstops with a career MLB batting average of .083.
Now, the Los Angeles Dodgers have also used the last few weeks to tie up some loose ends. Notably: Brian Wilson and Dan Haren officially re-joining the team by picking up their player options for 2015, and also the qualifying offer that was extended to free agent Hanley Ramirez.
But with all this in mind, and rumors already swirling, the question is, what exactly do the Dodgers need this offseason? Sure, they’d like to list off the 10 best free agents and be able to sign them all, but that’s not realistic.
Yes, the Dodgers have a large payroll, but no, that doesn’t mean they’re going to throw money at any-and-everyone. So, with that in mind, here are some options the Dodgers should consider for the positions that need to be addressed:
4) Starting pitcher
As of now, the Dodgers have four starters secured for 2015 in Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Haren, with a hole in the No. 5 spot.
Within their own system starters such as, Chris Anderson, Zach Lee, Matt McGill, Red Patterson, or even Frias could challenge for the fifth spot, but it’s hard to imagine a team like the Dodgers turning to one of those options in the upcoming season (barring something remarkable happening in Spring Training).
Let’s just hope whoever they sign is better than Kevin Correia.
Wish List: Brandon McCarthy, Jason Hammel, Brett Anderson
I think on a team with such high expectations, the Dodgers will be hesitant to rely on an unknown quantity from the Minors. All three of the Wish List starters would be nice backend additions to the rotation — with Hammel coming off a rough second half in Oakland (after thriving in the NL), Anderson coming off an injury-plagued 2014 and McCarthy a pitcher that many of the sabremetrics proponents are fond of.
While the Dodgers have extended a qualifying offer to Ramirez, it is still unclear as to whether they actually want him back next season. The good news is that Ramirez has reportedly admitted a willingness to switch positions if need be, however, that might not help the Dodgers this year with Juan Uribe under contract for one more season at third.
The other interesting factor about this position is the debate about whether there is a future shortstop somewhere in the organization. Could Dee Gordon switch back after his resurgence? Is Alex Guerrero a shortstop? Corey Seager in a couple years? Will Erisbel Arruebarruena ever hit enough to be an everyday shortstop?
Those questions all remain, but my guess is that the answer to all of them is probably “no” — with Arruebarruena being the most hopeful answer. With Ramirez, the Dodgers have dealt with a below-average defender that is playing out of position and have seemingly hated it, and so unless one player can field his position extremely well, I think they might be done making exceptions at short.
Wish List: Hanley Ramirez
Ultimately, I think Hanley is the best option for a Dodgers team that could really point the finger at their offense for their failure in October. While they likely would love to find a defensive-minded shortstop that could hit for average at the bottom of the lineup, I just don’t see that player out there (or in their system).
If I had to guess, I say the Dodgers either re-sign Ramirez or fill this spot from within.
Next Page: More Wish List Shopping