Editor's note: Yahoo! Sports will examine the offseason plans of every MLB team before the Dec. 3-6 winter meetings. Our series continues with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
2007 record: 82-80
Finish: Fourth place in the National League West
2007 Opening-day payroll: $109 million
The Dodgers and general manager Ned Colletti are in the midst of another touchy offseason, in which they'll straddle full commitment to the young players L.A. has been hearing about for years and growing impatience with two decades without a playoff series win.
So, does Colletti play the youngsters or use them as currency? Depends.
Free agency hasn't treated the Dodgers all that well lately. They gave five years to Juan Pierre and now are considering hiding his arm in left field, one year in. They gave three years to Jason Schmidt and now are hoping he pitches effectively – and regularly – in two of them.
They're talking to Andruw Jones, Torii Hunter and Aaron Rowand for center field and were fringe players for Alex Rodriguez and Mike Lowell. They're not all that interested in the free-agent pitchers, whose primary gifts are being free agents in a dreary market.
More likely, Colletti draws on his farm system to upgrade at third base with Miguel Cabrera or Joe Crede. He could expand a trade with the Florida Marlins to include Dontrelle Willis, though Willis' value isn't close to what it was a year or two ago, and the Marlins don't quite recognize that yet. If they were to spend their prospects, they'd do well to bring back Johan Santana or Eric Bedard, exceptional left-handers who might be had because they are close to free agency.
Colletti also is looking for help at backup catcher and in middle relief.
The Dodgers are a team stuck in the past and the future, with only two of their everyday players – Pierre and Rafael Furcal – in their primes. The rest have yet to reach it (Russell Martin, James Loney, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier) or are well past it (Jeff Kent, Nomar Garciaparra).
Even the rotation tends toward the extremes, with only Brad Penny squarely in his prime.
In New York, Joe Torre showed a preference for veteran players, which could further complicate Colletti's choices.
Torre's presence almost certainly ends the clubhouse issues that bubbled up at the end of last season, but probably won't solve the core issues of a perennially underachieving franchise. Without a substantial trade or two, the Dodgers are back in a position of waiting on players to learn the big-league game, and in a division in which the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies appear to have passed them by.
NEXT: Milwaukee Brewers analysis