The Los Angeles Dodgers’ off-season officially began on Thursday, and the front office has plenty of decisions to make during the free agency period.
2017 was filled with surprising developments and an incredible run, but expectations weren’t reached. The Boys in Blue came close to winning a long-awaited championship, but were unable to do so. This means that adjustments will need to be made, and it starts with roster composition.
Below is a list of Dodgers players that are upcoming free agents:
- Yu Darvish
- Brandon Morrow
- Chase Utley
- Curtis Granderson
- Tony Watson
- Franklin Gutierrez
It wasn’t the ending that Yu Darvish had envisioned. He only lasted a total of 3.1 innings in both appearances during the World Series, after posting an impressive 2-0 mark against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs. It was looking like the right move was made at the trade deadline during the NLDS and NLCS, but the World Series changed perceptions.
During the regular season with the Dodgers, Yu Darvish posted a 3.44 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP in nine starts. It’s amazing that Darvish became the fastest player to reach 1,000 strikeouts, but his inconsistency on the mound casts a shadow over the bright spots. He’s still shown the ability to throw some of the best stuff with his hefty array of pitches, but it won’t mean anything if he can’t control the command and trust mechanics. It also won’t mean anything if he continues to tip pitches.
If Kenley Jansen is the best closer in the game, then Brandon Morrow has established himself as one of the top relievers in baseball. A lot of fans will remember what happened during Game 5 of the World Series, but his arm was non-existent after such heavy usage, and he probably shouldn’t have made an appearance. Morrow appeared in 14 games, pitched 13.2 innings, tallied 12 strikeouts, and held opponents to a .216 average during the postseason.
This guy once struck out 17 batters in a game as a starter, and now he’s refined his game as a reliever. The Dodgers will need to act quickly if they want to re-sign the California native, because he’ll be one of the hottest names on the market.
The Silver Fox didn’t register any hits during the postseason, but he was reliable at times during the regular season. He’s a pivotal figure in the Dodgers clubhouse. Utley’s a veteran that guides young players, and delivered when Dave Roberts needed him to help the offense. It might be imperative to keep him because of the influence he has on guys like Corey Seager and other players in the clubhouse.
The Dodgers were in a dilemma playing a struggling Joc Pederson, which opened the door for the Granderson deal. He displayed strong hitting as a New York Met in 2017, but that didn’t translate over to Los Angeles.
Dave Roberts believed that Granderson would eventually find his stride after the trade, but it never transpired. Granderson eventually posted a .067 average in the postseason, didn’t make the World Series roster, and watched the left field tandem of Pederson/Kike Hernandez thrive during October. It’ll be hard to see him in Dodger Blue next season, especially with a young and crowded outfield that produces.
Watson came over to Los Angeles after the trade deadline and performed well during the postseason. He posted some good numbers by only allowing a .200 opponent average and a WHIP of .86 in 11 games during October.
The front office is always looking to make adjustments, but it might be best to keep Watson in the Dodger bullpen. It’s still a solid group that could end up being the No. 1 bullpen in 2018, and Watson would definitely be more comfortable after everything that happened this season.
The Dodgers signed Gutierrez last February, with hopes that the 34-year old veteran would contribute by hitting against left-handed pitching. His season was derailed due to injury, and the Dodgers eventually went on to make a drastic improvement against lefties without him.
It’s highly unlikely that he’ll be back in a Dodger uniform next year. He’s in the same situation as Granderson – there’s just too much talent in the outfield.
Which players do you think should remain in Los Angeles? Let us know in the comments below!
[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”newwindow” url=”http://www.dodgersnation.com/dodgers-yu-darvish-tipping-pitches-game-7-world-series/2017/11/03/”]Dodgers’ Yu Darvish Was Tipping Pitches In Game 7 Of World Series[/button]