Wants? Or Needs?

Even the most casual baseball fan is well aware that the free agent market this off season is crawling along at a snail’s pace. In fact, one host on MLB Network Radio’s Inside Pitch said earlier this week that of the 300+ major and minor league free agents on the market following the final out of game-7 of the 2017 World Series, only 31 had been signed … this with exactly one month until pitchers and catchers are due to report for spring training 2018. And even though the 2018 hot stove season most certainly can bust wide open at any moment, the burning question (no pun intended) is: Do the Dodgers really need to make any moves in the waning days of the 2017-2018 off-season, or is it more a matter of them – and their fans – simply wanting to make some moves?

It goes without saying that it certainly would have been nice had the Dodgers landed superstar outfielder and 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton or even phenom Japanese two-way pitcher Shohei Ohtani. But the cold, hard fact and despite the novelty involved, the Dodgers are absolutely blessed to already have a plethora of starting pitching and outfield talent within their system as it stands right now, many of whom are either currently MLB-ready or very soon will be.

It’s hard to believe that 23-year-old Lexington, Kentucky native and Dodgers 2015 first-round draft pick Walker Buehler will not be among the Dodgers starting five come opening day 2018.
(Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

Here are the starting or potential starting pitchers currently on the Dodgers 40-man roster (listed alphabetically) as of January 11, 2018:

Now granted, not all of these guys will make the Dodgers opening day 25-man roster and certainly some will be utilized as relievers. But this is a pretty good – if not great – pool of pitchers from which to draw a five-man starting rotation by anyone’s standards. And even though several of these guys struggled in their role as starters during the 2017 season and were eventually moved into the bullpen (or to the DL), all of them have the potential to give the Dodgers five or six good innings every five days.

As for the outfield, as of today, these are the guys on the Dodgers current 40-man roster who are either pure outfielders or guys who are utility players who can play both the infield and the outfield:

Keep in mind that all of the above guys – pitchers and outfielders – are currently on the Dodgers 40-man roster. There will also be a good number of non-roster invitees in big league camp for spring training, especially during the first two or three weeks.

On the first pitch of his first major league at-bat on July 8, 2017, Andrew Toles lined a double into the left-center field gap. (Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

All of this said, do the Dodgers really need to go out and sign a high-dollar free agent pitcher that will put them right back at the luxury tax threshold which they just managed to get under by dumping the strangling contracts of Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy and Scott Kazmir?

…or do they just want to?


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9 Responses to “Wants? Or Needs?”

  1. SoCalBum says:

    What I believe the Dodgers need: (1) an experienced setup man for the BP. I know that Dodgers have done well with reclamation projects like Blanton and Morrow, but with the uncertainty of Baez, Garcia, Koehler, and others I believe the Dodgers need to acquire a legit setup pitcher who can also close on the occasions that Jansen is rested, or horrors of horrors Jansen goes to the DL. (2) a reliable RBI man in the no. 5 spot behind Bellinger. That man could be Justin Turner if Dodgers find a leadoff or no. 3 hitter (internally or externally), but the no. 5 spot in the lineup last year collectively hit just above the Mendoza line (29th out of 30 MLB teams) and accounted for only 76 RBI (27th of 30 MLB teams). IF Dodgers find a new leadoff hitter then Taylor could be moved to no. 5, or no. 3 with Turner at no. 5. For me, I would love to see Dodgers acquire Christian Yelich with the caveat that Dodgers do not overpay.

    • Boxout7 says:

      Your list seems like more “wants” than needs to me.

      I also want to see Dodgers acquire a proven lights out set-up man, but the in-house guys you mentioned might fill the bill. Additionally, we have Alexander, Maeda, Stripling, Stewart, Cingrani, Liberatore and Buehler who also might fill the bill.

      Regarding outfield, yeah you and me both want Yelich, along with every team in baseball. He WON’T come cheap and we are already pretty deep in left-handed hitting outfield possibilities.

      Now for my true needs, Dear Santa, all I need is two of the following starting pitchers for the Dodgers, Archer, Cole, Darvish, Arrieta, Lynn or Cobb. And Santa, please be sure to keep Dodgers under the luxury tax threshold.

      OK, maybe FAZ will decide the lights out set-up man is a need/want that they can still actually acquire at a reasonable price, but after looking at that starting pitching list above again, I see a lot of question marks and potential need.

      • SoCalBum says:

        One man’s wants are another’s needs. When you write that there are pitchers who “might fill the bill” is more of a wish, or perhaps hope. “Alexander, Maeda, Stripling, Stewart, Cingrani, Liberatore and Buehler who also might fill the bill;” up jumps the word “might.” For me, a need is the legit setup pitcher with all of the others taking a step back. Yelich is likely more of a want for me, but I see him as a possible fix for the need of an improvement for the no. 5 spot in the lineup.

      • Ron Cervenka says:

        Have to disagree with both of yooze guys. I find it odd that neither of you mentioned the guy who I believe will become the Dodgers set-up man in 2018 … and beyond: Yimi Garcia.

        I also believe that both Walker Buehler and Julio Urias will be in the Dodgers starting rotation come opening day.

        And to say that the Dodgers need a “proven” outfielder is, in my opinion, hogwash. The Dodgers have a plethora of young outfield talent – this in addition to CT3, Joc and Puig (say… like… Andrew Toles, Trayce Thompson, Rob Segedin, [uggh] Matt Kemp, with D.J. Peters down on the farm laying in wait).

        I am clearly less hung up on “proven” than both of you guys are. Keep in mind that with “proven” comes “expensive.” (See oldbrooklynfan’s comment below).

        • Boxout7 says:

          SoCalBum did mention Garcia. I have high hopes for him in 2018 coming off TJ surgery.

          I am also very high on Buehler in 2018, but how many innings can we expect from him. Do you know something on Urias? I thought best case for him was a late season return and I can see Dodgers really babying him if he does return.

          I am all in on the FAZ “unproven” approach, especially on the bullpen and outfield. Add Yusniel Diaz and Jeren Kendall to outfielders at the farm laying in wait.

          I see lots of question marks with our starting pitching. I’d like to see more depth. I still think FAZ will get us a “proven” innings eater. Probably rather than someone on my Santa list a McCarthy/Kazmir type.

          “One man’s wants are another’s needs”. That’s what makes it fun.

        • SoCalBum says:

          Let’s see hogwash = nonsense. Yimi Garcia setup man after missing all but 9 games since 2015 and coming back from TJ surgery. That would seem to fit with “hogwash.” Urias in starting rotation on opening day when reported that he will not be read to pitch competitively until May or June — fits with hogwash. Buehler? At this time it is more likely that he will be in extended ST or OKC rather than in starting rotation on opening day. I never wrote that Dodgers needed a “proven” OF’er, just someone who can hit in the 5 spot to protect Bellinger and improve RBI production from that spot in the lineup. You seriously are offering up Thompson, Segedin, Kemp and Peters as talented OF’ers for 2018? By the way, it seems to be the consensus that Yelich is on a very team friendly contract under team control through 2022, a players who has consistently demonstrated that he can hit both LH and RH pitching, play top notch defense, run bases, and a team player — YES I would gladly have Yelich on the Dodgers and that is not HOGWASH!

          • Boxout7 says:

            I’d love to have Yellich, who is 26 yrs old, a stud and controllable for 5 more years for $58M, he’d slot in beautifully. But we have CT3, Joc, Puig, Toles, Kiki, Kemp and Verdugo all MLB ready in 2018. Is it a need? I don’t think it would be hogwash for FAZ to be kicking the tires with Miami at all. We agree, the price has to be right. What would you give up?

            I’d do two of Joc, Toles, Yusniel Diaz, Peters or Verdugo, plus a “decent” minor league pitcher, not one of our top guys.

  2. oldbrooklynfan says:

    I think it’s very wise for the Dodgers to try to stay under the luxury tax threshold, as long as they can.

  3. Boxout7 says:

    Looks like with ARB cases settled, Dodgers are going to have a little payroll leeway to address their starting pitching NEEDS. Possible trade candidates to get more payroll flexibility to better address that NEED:

    Kemp, 21.5M
    Forsythe, 9M
    Grandal, 7.9M
    Ryu, 7.8M

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