Ken Gurnick has a great piece on MLB.com summarizing the Dodgers first day of the Winter Meetings, with GM Ned Colletti waiting on some staff to arrive due to weather delayed flight plans that Colletti summarized as “We’ve been weather-challenged.”
In what Colletti calls a “shallow pool” of Free-Agent talent at third base, the Dodgers most prudent move ideally would be to resign Juan Uribe to an incentive laden 1 yr deal with the ability for him to earn a 2nd year, and bringing back Mark Ellis. If Uribe is unwilling to re-sign, and really is he better off leaving LA for the White Sox, then the Dodgers will have to look to the trade market to fill the hot corner. Don’t we all wish we still had Adrian Beltre, ouch.
Colletti said Alexander Guerrero who was limited during Winter Ball “needs to play, needs at-bats,” and won’t be an option at third base, neither will Hanley Ramirez. So with a deep roster which would allow Carl Crawford days off & Ethier day’s off vs tough lefties, and hopefully a healthy Matt Kemp rest, remember he didn’t play less than 155 games from 2008-2011 before his bizarre shoulder injury, which cost him his 2013 season.
Dylan Hernandez @DylanHernandez was terrific on MLB Tonight on the MLB Network and dropped this juicy nugget, that Kemp’s shoulder surgery prevented him from lifting weights ALL of last off-season. Thus the smooth swing that launched ball after ball into the upper pavilion in right center was never the same, and his lower body paid for it & he just was never right. Then battled back only to have the bizarre ankle injury. This year however he is already building his strength up in his upper body which takes pressure off of his nagging hammy and worrisome ankle injuries. Hernandez also reiterated my point that you would be dealing Kemp “at his lowest value” and if he rebounds, which he very well should he’s only 29 that “you don’t want to be the team that made that trade.” Here, Here!
Perhaps it’s personal bias but the more I hear about Kemp, and his desire to NOT want to leave LA, the more I like the idea of bringing back most of the 2013 version of the Dodgers, with pitching, defense with Ellis & Uribe, a healthy Hanley & hopefully Kemp, a full season of Puig Mania (just imagine the middle of the order offensively), and a mid-season addition of a Zach Lee or Ross Stripling from AA Chattanooga could give the Dodgers their own Michael Wacha boost. Dodgers fans got a firsthand taste of what Wacha did for The Cardinals, and now that Frank McCourt is gone, the Front Office is committed to re-building the Farm System & with it having high-upside potential arms ready to deliver, why do anything?
They need to re-sign JP Howell, add some flexibility & athleticism to the bench, perhaps in Guerrero if he’s ready and barring an injury riddled start to the season which the Dodgers had plenty of in 2013, I think there are all the makings of a 100 win Ball Club by simply staying the course.
Of course in 24 hours they may trade Lee or Stripling or one of their elite teenage prospects 17 yr old lefty Julio Urias or 19 yr old Corey Seager, eat a ton of Ethier or Crawford’s contract, returning him to Tampa where he could DH, and who knows David Price may be a Dodger. That is the beauty of the Winter Meetings, we just don’t know what is going to happen, and nothing happening may just be what the Dr. Ordered.