Los Angeles Dodgers (104-58), 1st in the NL West
Free Agents: SP Yu Darvish, OF Andre Ethier, OF Curtis Granderson, OF Franklin Gutierrez, RP Brandon Morrow, RP Tony Watson, IF Chase Utley
The Dodgers were one win away from becoming World Series champions for the first time in 29 years. Unfortunately, they suffered a crushing 5-1 loss to the Astros in the first Game 7 played at Dodger Stadium on the final night of the baseball season.
It’s been two weeks since that defeat, but the Dodgers have already been trying to figure out what they need to do to improve on their MLB-best 104-58 record, get back to the Fall Classic and win that final game.
The Dodgers have exercised the $8.5 million club option on second baseman Logan Forsythe. They also decided to not pick up Andre Ethier’s $17.5 million option and instead bought him out for $2.5 million.
As of Tuesday, they are “in the mix” of teams trying to acquire Marlins star slugger Giancarlo Stanton, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. This news comes a day after they, along with the Cubs, are looking into acquiring Orioles’ closer Zach Britton.
A right-handed hitter who is a left fielder and a setup reliever are the primary needs for the Dodgers, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. However, the reality of getting Britton to come to LA to be a setup man is more likely than getting Stanton to come to play left field. After all, the Dodgers had serious talks in trying to land Britton during the non-waiver deadline this past season. Plus, Britton is projected to make around $12 million after arbitration, which is considerably less than the $25 million Stanton would make this year. Moreover, Stanton is still owed $270 million over the next nine seasons after 2018, and for a club that boasted baseball's highest payroll last year at $244 million, committing a nine-figure salary to him doesn’t seem probable.
If they plan on filling these needs without trying to land Stanton or Britton, Gurnick suggests the Dodgers could go after free agents such as Lorenzo Cain, Melky Cabrera, Steve Chisek or Brandon Morrow, who they took on last year and he became a dependable option in the postseason.
Though they have a stable full of starters, the Dodgers also need help in that area, but the question still remains, “Will they bring back Darvish?” After being acquired at the non-waiver deadline, Darvish helped the Dodgers get to the World Series by winning games in both the NLDS and NLCS, but had two disastrous starts in the Fall Classic, including Game 7. Darvish said he would like to come back to LA, but Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Dodgers have “little interest in him.”
So, who will they try to add to the staff? Gurnick says Alex Cobb or Michael Pineda could be arms to go after in free agency. The Dodgers are also thinking about how to land Japanese two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani whenever Ohtani is allowed to come here by MLB. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times wrote in a column that the Dodgers can give Ohtani a chance to be a two-way player and the money he will want while playing for a club that can win now because they are not afraid to experiment and they have guys like Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Ross Stripling, Brock Stewart and Julio Urias who, barring health issues, can give Ohtani enough rest to allow him to not pitch every five days.
Whatever the Dodgers decide to do, they hope their moves will put them over the top.