It has been a slow offseason so far for the Dodgers as they just made their second offseason signing in almost two months. Second baseman Alexander Guerrero signed a four-year deal for about $28 million in October and starting pitcher Dan Haren signed on for one year, $10 million with a vesting option that unlocks when he reaches 180 innings three days ago.
Despite these two deals, I truly believe that the Dodgers still have some tricks up in their sleeve this winter and their moves may get extremely active by the time the winter meetings come around. As for what tricks they have in the cards, whether it’s signing rising Japanese star starting pitcher Mashiro Tanaka from Japan to trading for David Price to resigning relievers Brian Wilson and J.P. Howell to a surprise signing that shocks the entire league. No one really knows what the Dodgers are going to do.
If I were Colletti, my first priority would be to resign Wilson and Howell because I would want to keep a strong bullpen together, considering the Dodgers had one of the best bullpens in the majors. I would give Wilson the closer money that he is looking for because he is worth it as a set up man. Also give Howell the deal he wants because Scott Elbert appears to be done as a Dodger because of his injury history and Onelki Garcia is not ready to pitch in the major leagues yet after seeing his cup of coffee in September.
My next step after resigning the two invaluable relievers, I would move on to filling the need at third base as Juan Uribe is a free agent. Uribe is asking for more than what he is worth. Uribe wants a three-year deal and I would not give him that because the last time the Dodgers gave Uribe a three-year deal, the first two years of the contract were disasters. I would give Uribe a 2 year deal about $12 million with the second year, a mutual option from both sides. That way by the time Uribe is done with the first year of the new contract prized prospect Corey Seager could be ready to contribute to the Dodgers in 2015. Other options include free agent infielders Michael Young and Omar Infante.
Now, I know Tanaka should be the focus of the offseason and it would be nice to add him, but to be honest, with the Haren signing, I don’t think the Dodgers necessarily need to get Tanaka because the fifth spot would be down to Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley, whom both are coming off serious injuries, and the possibility of prospects Zach Lee and Ross Stripling also competing for the fifth spot in spring training. Tanaka has not be posted yet and may not be able to get posted due to the fact there is no agreement in place yet to post Tanaka and other starting Japanese pitchers.
If all plan A all fails, plan B will kick into effect, by taking a look at other free agent relievers like Francisco Rodriguez, Joaquin Benoit and Jose Veras to replace Wilson. Have the possibility of giving Garcia a shot at the big time in the MLB or give free agent reliever Jose Mijares, whom just elected free agency after being designated for assignment by the San Francisco Giants a chance . Sign Infante or Young to play third base or go in-house to find a third baseman.
I know people would complain about going after a Giants player, but simply it is not always bad to go after a rival player because these players just want to play even if it is simply for a rival of the team they use to play on. Look at Wilson, He pitched really good for the Dodgers and quite honestly, the Giants fans shouldn’t boo him at all because the Giants didn’t want him last year and the Dodgers did. They should happy for Wilson, who was coming off Tommy John surgery a year ago and to be back on the field after a serious injury is a blessing.
Teams have been calling about the Dodgers’ crowded outfield this offseason, honestly I don’t know what to expect to receive out of the trade for one of the outfielders. We all know that the kid, Yasiel Puig, is safe from being traded because he is still young as he is only 22 years old with tons of upside, but teams still ask about the availability of Puig. I would trade Andre Ethier out of the three available outfielders because Ethier has a contract that other teams can absorb easier than Matt Kemp’s or Carl Crawford’s heavy contracts. The return for Ethier would be smaller than Kemp’s return, but I would not trade Kemp because he is the youngest of the three and is more talented than the three despite his injury history. I expect Kemp to rebound better than ever now that his shoulder is stronger than ever and his ankle will be stronger after an offseason from baseball. Trading Crawford is too difficult to do because of his really ugly contract.
Like I said the Dodgers have tricks up their sleeve and no one knows what they are going to this offseason. All eyes are on the Dodgers as they can’t do anything, but improve the their team as they prepare for another shot at making a run for the fall classic.