The 2012 season was a good one for the Los Angeles Dodgers as the team took the field under new ownership and with revitalized energy. I'm confident that if not for Matt Kemp's 50-game injury-caused absence, the team would have seen postseason play.
Going into the offseason, I think it's time for some big changes as seven players became free agents October 29. (The number was reduced to six as the team re-signed reliever Brandon League on October 30.) The team has a limited window of exclusive negotiating rights that closes November 3.
Here's a look at the Dodgers' free agents:
Blanton came to the Dodgers from the Phillies at the start of August and did not do well, going 2-4 with a 4.99 ERA. He did seem to get stronger at the end of the season and if they keep him, he could be a good asset in 2013. But I think with the depth of talent we have, Blanton is someone they should let go elsewhere.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti confirmed they have been discussing a deal with left-handed reliever Choate, and it looks good as Choate has the same agent as former free agent Brandon League, who just signed a three-year deal for $22.5 million.
Right-hander Wright fit in well with the team in his first year in L.A., going 5-3 with a 3.72 ERA. Colletti has said he is interested in re-signing Wright, but no discussions have happened yet. I think they need to sign Wright and Choate to keep that bullpen strong.
Kennedy had potential but was injured in September and never came back. He's been mainly a pinch hitter as the Dodgers have too many good infielders already. I don't think he's as good as guys like Dee Gordon or Mark Ellis. In the 86 games he played with the Dodgers, he had a .262 average with four homers and 16 RBIs. I think the team should let him go.
In the 92 games Abreu played as a Dodger in 2012, he had a .246 average with three homers and 19 RBIs. He's a solid player, but I just think there are better players out there that the team should be spending their money on. Abreu was sent back to the minors for a while to make room for Shane Victorino after the trade, and they just don't have room for him.
I like Shane Victorino, and I think he showed moments of greatness this year. Although he seemed to have some adjustment problems after coming over from Philadelphia -- understandably -- I think Victornio and Kemp in the outfield can be a duo that will help take the Dodgers all the way next year. The reality will probably be they will have to let him go, as the team already has three outfielders signed through 2017 -- Kemp, Carl Crawford, and Andre Ethier.
Catcher Matt Treanor, multi-position player Juan Rivera, and reliever Todd Coffey all had club options and all three had their options immediately declined by the Dodgers after the World Series. I think it was a good move, costing the team just under $1 million but saving them almost $7.5 million in future salary costs.
Freddy Sherman grew up in Philadelphia, which didn't make being a Los Angeles Dodgers fan easy. He has lived in Los Angeles for twenty years, now able to follow the Dodgers openly and attends games frequently. You can follow him on Twitter -@thefredsherman.