COMMENTARY | The Los Angeles Dodgers enter the 2013 offseason with what I hope to be a goal of maintaining what worked last year.
That's not to say there aren't a few tweaks that can be made here and there, but my big focus would be on keeping what works.
Make Clayton Kershaw the Richest Man in Baseball
The first thing I would do as GM is sign Clayton Kershaw for $300 million. $400 million. A chain of orphanages throughout Zambia. Trust funds for his yet-to-be-born children. Whatever it takes. I'd do it not only because he's the best, especially after he earned his second Cy Young in three years, but also because I'd want the Dodgers to be in a position where the rest of baseball knows we're going to get whatever (and whomever) we want.
Think New York Yankees. But better. Less pinstripes. More blue. Less like Steinbrenner. More like O'Malley. With money.
Reduce the Outfield Logjam by Trading Andre Ethier
I don't think Andre Ethier is a particularly bad player. I just think he's the odd man out. You had to someone was going to be left out when the Dodgers opted to sign Carl Crawford. Even though reports suggest that the Seattle Mariners are eying Matt Kemp, I'd opt for trading Ethier. To the Mariners? Maybe. The only reason I wouldn't trade with the Mariners is that the only player I'd want to trade for currently plays for the Tampa Bay Rays. If teams aren't interested in Ethier, I would trade Crawford before Kemp. I would love to see what a healthy Kemp can do in a lineup with Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez.
Honestly, I'd prefer to put Ethier in a package to Tampa Bay for David Price. Ethier would be an improvement over both Wil Myers and Matt Joyce for the Rays. He might provide some veteran leadership in the outfield for Tampa Bay and increase the value of any package the Dodgers might dream up for Price. I might add Corey Seager in that package -- at the risk of giving up a prospect -- because the Dodgers seem to have more than enough infielders at the moment.
Shuffle the Bullpen
Quite frankly, my stomach turns when Brandon League touches a baseball. I was OK with Kenley Jansen taking on the closer role -- until I wasn't. Then, it may as well have been League running to the mound with the ball. I'd sign Brian Wilson for one more year (words I'd never thought I'd say about a former San Francisco Giant) and let Jansen set up for him. Learn a little. Develop the Wilson mindset. Or maybe not. But definitely develop the Wilson 0.00 ERA in the postseason.
I'd also take the chance in bringing up the left-handed Chris Reed, who pitched in Double-A Chattanooga during the 2013 season. The Dodgers have had good luck thus far with lefties who throw sliders, and you'd have to think that being around the best -- Clayton Kershaw -- can only help Reed's development.
One year ago, I routinely screamed at the television/radio/stadium to get rid of Juan Uribe. I'm sure I even said that he should be released, and the Dodgers should eat his salary. It seemed to me that every time Uribe was at the plate with a runner on, it was an all but guaranteed double play. Over and over again. He reminded me so much of Jeff Kent that I really started to believe that Ned Colletti was, in fact, still trying to help the San Francisco Giants win by taking in their washed up players to sabotage the Dodgers.
Enter Hanley Ramirez. There's a lot to be said for friendship. It increases competition. It makes you not want to embarrass yourself. And I think that's exactly what happened with Uribe. With addition of Ramirez and Yasiel Puig, Uribe was suddenly motivated to play. And play he did. He probably had the most memorable hit of the division playoff series.
His value, then, is threefold. We get the new and improved Uribe. We get Ramirez's friend and motivator. And we get someone to mentor Puig as he enters his second season in the big leagues.
Jana Sosnowski has been an avid follower of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the past 20 years. She enjoys keeping score of games, researching history and calculating stats.
- Sports & Recreation
- Clayton Kershaw
- Hanley Ramirez
- Andre Ethier