Los Angeles Dodgers


The Dodgers are making news for all the wrong reasons. A former director of player development failed to call police after an alleged sexual assault. A woman was killed by foul ball. The cable television blackout enters year sixwith no end in sight. A part-owner got a little too honest about the club's unwillingness to spend money this winter. The team hasn't signed this or that available free agent and didn't trade for a much needed catcher.
Los Angeles looks to reset with pitchers and catchers reporting Tuesday, and the first pitchers-and-catchers workout scheduled for Wednesday. Position players are due at Camelback Ranch on February 18, with the first full-squad workout the following day.
What's New
Yasiel Puig was shipped to Cincinnati, along with whatever it was his employers didn't like about him the last six years, Kyle Farmer, Matt Kemp and Alex Wood on December 21, for minor leaguers Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray, and Homer Bailey, who was promptly released.

Puig finishes his Dodgers career with 686 hits, 365 runs, 129 doubles, 19 triples, 108 home runs, 331 RBIs, 60 steals in 91 tries, a .279/.359/.478 line and some of the best right field play ever seen in Los Angeles. The postseason stats are these: .280/.351/.429, with five homers and 23 RBIs. I think it's safe to say that the Wild Horse will be missed by everyone in Southern California, with the almost-certain exception of Bill Plaschke.
Newcomers include 2018 World Series foe and 100-mph-heat-bringing reliever, Joe Kelly, centerfielder A.J. Pollock (both via free agency) and old friend catcher Russell Martin, acquired January 11 in a trade with Toronto for a couple of minor leaguers.
The dear and departed from last year's roster include Brian Dozier, Yasmani Grandal, Tim Locastro, Manny Machado and Ryan Madson.
What Could Change
Since the final out of the Series, it was likely that the Dodgers were going to need three things for next year: a catcher, a second baseman and a prominent starting pitcher (two if Clayton Kershaw were to opt out and leave L.A.). They watched as second basemen came off the free agent board one by one, settled for Martin as a backup backstop, re-signed Kershaw to a three-year contract and flirted with the idea of acquiring true-ace Corey Kluber in trade from Cleveland, the latter of which is still a physical possibility.
Josh Harrison. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Josh Harrison. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
While it might not involve Kluber, I believe an interesting trade is coming in either February or March. And I'm confident that one or more complementary players will be signed to free agent deals shortly; Kiké Hernandez-like former-Pirate Josh Harrison, former-Angel Ervin Santana and righty reliever David Hernandez, who pitched in the Reds' bullpen in 2018, to name three possibilities.
What's Coming
A seventh straight National League West title seems almost automatic at this point in time, even without an aggressive offseason approach from Andrew Friedman and company. It's isn't automatic, of course, with Colorado and possibly San Francisco -- if the Giants sign Bryce Harper -- having something to say about it. San Diego and Arizona won't.
Provided good health, Los Angeles has the pitching to reach the postseason. Whether they have enough as presently constituted -- or the offense to make up for a less-than-expected success in run prevention -- to win the whole thing, I don't know.
Best-Case Scenario: Kershaw avoids the injured list (the disabled list is no more) to partner with Walker Buehler as the best one-two punch in baseball, Corey Seager is his old self, Austin Barnes reverts to 2017-form and catches 120 games, management opens the purse strings as the season progresses and finally, at long last, the Dodgers have their first championship in 31 years.
Worst-Case Scenario: Pitching injuries abound, Seager struggles to play 100 games, the catching corps catches but does not hit, management sits on its hands, and the Dodgers win the division, only to lose to Philadelphia in the NLDS.


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