First and foremost we have players on our 40 man roster that need to be “cleared”. If we could trade some of those players and upgrade the 25 man roster at the same time, were doing ourselves a huge favor in roster spot frugality.
One roster spot is cleared almost immediately when we cut loose Juan Uribe and eat the 8 million owed to him.
Now for the unpopular part:
Trade Andre Ethier, Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano, Yasiel Puig, Alex Castellanos, Dee Gordon, and John Ely for David Wright and R.A. Dickey. More than just clearing the 40 man roster, this is a move at improving the 25 man roster.
Swisher will man RF everyday and can play a little first base. Johnson will platoon with Ellis at 2B and see a majority of the time there. However, if Crawford isn’t 100% healthy to start the year, Johnson does have experience playing LF. He may not be the ideal replacement out there, but he is capable.
This basically fills out the 25 man roster.
It also means we have 7 starters (still) for 5 spots. There is the chance the Ryu doesn’t work out. Or that Beckett isn’t healthy (as I assume). Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly struggled with their relative health last year and I would imagine one or both will spend time on the DL and see time coming out of the bullpen, seeing action similar to what Tim Lincecum did this last year in the Giants playoff run. The depth is necessary.
It isn’t popular, but it is a better team than what we saw last year. Sure, we could sign Josh Hamilton instead of Swisher. Maybe adding Grienke is too over the top… But as we have heard from ownership, this team is going to buy it’s way to a championship. It really doesn’t matter what we pay players, so long as they are the right players. This team, that I have constructed, is a 250+ million dollar team.
It seems ridiculous to think that the Dodgers would not only have a mammoth payroll like this, but that it is legitimately possible. I’m not sure what Ned Colletti will do this off season. We can be certain that these moves, he will not do.
However, Grienke has been on the radar. In fact, the Dodgers have been labeled as favorites for his services. Dickey has been made available in the right move and Wright is in the final year of his deal. Both want extensions that the Mets might not be able to accommodate. And Ethier’s name has been mentioned in trade rumors. Signing free agents will be about giving them the right money, which we know is not a problem in LA.
The only other major flaw, is that I don’t really have a backup plan for Kemp. After last year it is clear that he is going to need some days off. Maybe Crawford comes back 100% healthy and can cover from time to time? But clearing spots on the 40 man roster means we can probably keep (Gwynn) or sign (Willits, Ankiel, etc) and stash them in the minors. And does it really matter who the backup catcher is? I guess as long as it isn’t Miguel Olivo were doing ok.