The 2011 season couldn't have started worse for the Dodgers, with all the issues off the field and several key players under performing. Despite all the issues, on and off the field, the club still finished above .500 and third place in the NL West.
Los Angeles Dodgers' general manager Ned Colleti sat down with ESPN's Jim Bowden to talk about the team's plan for the offseason and looking forward to the 2012 season. Let's check out the highlights from the interview:
On locking up superstars Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw:
Matt Kemp is a priority, and I plan on getting with his agent, Dave Stewart, and will work diligently in trying to work out a long-term deal with Matt. There is some urgency because he'll be a free agent at the end of the 2012 season if they don't sign him long term now. Clayton Kershaw's situation is not as urgent because he's only first-time arbitration eligible and won't be a free agent until after the 2014 season. That doesn't mean we won't have conversations and listen, and if we can make a deal that makes sense, we will be open to it -- but not with the same urgency as Kemp.
On extending Andre Ethier, or otherwise using him as a trade chip:
We will entertain signing him as well, but he's coming off an injury and a subpar season. I am not inclined to trade any player that is a key player to our major league club right now, and he fits that category.
On the Dodgers biggest needs this offseason:
We really need a middle-of-the-lineup impact bat, which would be a very key component to us winning next year. We need to figure out second base. Carroll and Miles are free agents. Right now we have the two young players in Sellers and Ivan DeJesus that we might let compete for that job next year. We need to figure out left field as well, but we're leaning towards Jerry Sands, especially after the way he finished this season with us. Behind the plate, we'll probably let Tim Federowicz and A.J. Ellis handle the duties. They are both good catch-and-throw receivers. If Federowicz can hit .240 with some power, he can be an everyday catcher. He calls a really good game and has a strong arm. The free agent catching market is very thin, but we'll look there as well just in case. We'll also have to look at rethinking our bench. Carroll and Miles contributed a significant amount of plate appearances this year, and if we're not able to re-sign them, it's an important area that we'll look at for depth, especially because we have to protect ourselves for potential injuries or younger players that could struggle. If Kuroda doesn't re-sign with us, we'll need to look for another veteran starter to make up for his innings as well. And finally, although we're pleased with our deep young bullpen, we'd still be open to signing another veteran reliever, but that would be a low priority based on our other team needs.
On top prospects in the system:
Our best prospects in our system right now are mostly pitching prospects, led by Zach Lee, who pitched at the Midwest league this past season but has a chance to be special. Allen Webster and Shawn Tolleson are two other top pitching prospects. Tolleson was our minor league pitcher of the year and a close friend of Clayton Kershaw. Steve Ames is another bullpen arm that we could see as early as next season. Chris Lee, our first round pick from Stanford, of course, is also special, and we're going to try to develop him as a starter, knowing we can always move him back to the bullpen if we have to.
You can read the full interview here.