The MLB Winter Meetings are taking place this week in Florida, and while every team in the league goes in ready to make some deals, the Dodgers have quite a bit of work to get done. They currently have 35 players on their 40-man roster. Being the Holiday season let's see what the Dodgers should have on their Winter Meetings Wishlist--you will not be seeing any PS4s or X-Box 1s on this list.
So far this offseason they have signed Cuban second baseman Alexander Guerrero, starting pitcher Dan Haren and brought back relief pitcher Brian Wilson.
A Utility Belt
The biggest group of players that the Dodgers lost this off-season were the utility guys. You know the group of Nick Punto, Jerry Hairston Jr, Skip Schumaker, Michael Young and Mark Ellis.
Individually each player will not be missed much, but as a group you realize that the entire bench needs to get revamped. Punto and Schumaker have already signed elsewhere, but maybe Ellis will be re-signed to a backup role.
A Middle-Relief Innings-Eater
Right now the bullpen is looking good at the back end. Kenley Jansen is the anchor in the ninth, while Brian Wilson and Paco Rodriguez will be dealing in the later innings. But then the Dodgers are relying on the young Chris Withrow, the injury-prone Scott Elbert, and the $20 million regret, Brandon League to get through middle relief.
A second lefty is a glaring ommission from that list--maybe J.P. Howell will come back--along with another solid reliever so that Bradon League can be avoided. Don't you wish it was easier to find someone who could get three outs in-a-row every night?
Starter No. 5
The Dodgers used nine pitchers to get through the first three weeks last year, so let's be prepared for at least a couple of injuries in 2014. Right now if any of the top four starters go down, they will have to rely on Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley to fill in the rotation.
Let's avoid this situation by finding another starter. It could be highly-touted Japanese-import Mashiro Tanaka or a bottom of the rotation kind of guy, but the Dodgers need something here. Also the fact that Matt Magill is still on the 40-man roster is simply scary.
Fill in the Uribe-sized hole at third base
Juan Uribe's season of redemption has earned him a new contract--and saved his career--but the Dodgers should be wary of giving the third baseman anything more than a one or two year deal. The organization wants him back, and this time they have support of the fans, but Uribe wants a greater committment.
If he wants to cash in on his great season, he might have to leave Los Angeles to get the best contract out there. Losing Uribe will force them get creative to fill in the five-hole, especially in a weak free agent market.
A lot more Hanley
Everyone was buzzing about a Hanley Ramirez extension on Friday when he posted a photo that said he was headed to LA with good news. Well, nothing has been announced since that photo, but it seems he is in store for a large payday.
We are all ready for the team to extend Ramirez past 2014, but reports of a six-year commitment seem a little daunting after watching him suffer injury after injury last year.
Lock down the Lefty
Clayton Kershaw. He is on contract for the 2014 season, but I do not want to see the ace hit the open market next year. The Dodgers want to lock him up now, but Kershaw has said that free agency intrigues him.
How much do you have to pay the 25-year old who is the best pitcher in baseball? Numbers like eight or nine years and $250 million have been tossed around, but nobody knows for sure. Either way that contract is going to be HUGE!