Found October 21, 2013 on
Sports Report SoCal:
It is easy to be discouraged as a Los Angeles Dodgers fan this week. For the third time since 2008 the Dodgers were eliminated in NLCS and the team absolutely collapsed in Game 6. However, True Blue fans should take the glass half full approach to the 2013 season. It is not difficult, just take a trip down memory lane to 2011 and the beginning of 2012 and remember the depths of despair the Dodgers organization
had reached. Now, less than 18 months later, the team is one of the bright spots in Major League Baseball and has an incredibly bright future with tons of assets and cash to spend. The Dodgers also had one of the greatest runs in the history of baseball, going 42-8 over a 50 game stretch, and brought up one of the most electrifying players baseball in 22-year old rookie sensation, Yasiel Puig.
As the Dodgers hit the offseason the question is what pieces will put the Dodgers over the top in the playoffs and propel them to a World Series appearance. Here are the seven things I believe the Blue Crew should
focus on this winter.
1. Extend Clayton Kershaw
Media reports this week indicated that the Dodgers had offered Kershaw a contract worth in the neighborhood of $300 million that would essentially act as a lifetime contract with the club. Those reports also indicated that Kershaw was a bit uncomfortable signing a deal that was so encompassing and that he would like a large portion of the contract donated to charity. I believe that the Dodgers will offer Kershaw whatever he wants and ultimately a deal will be done relatively quickly this offseason. Obviously
signing Kershaw to an extension is the front office’s number one goal this offseason and there is no reason to believe a contract won’t get done. My guess is that a deal will get done in December and the terms will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-years and $240 million dollars with a full no-trade clause.
While offering a pitcher this type of money may be risky, it is well worth it for the best pitcher in baseball who is only 25-years old.
2. The Don Mattingly decision
In today’s end of the year press conference Don Mattingly was hesitant to commit to the Dodgers for the 2014 season even though his contract has been extended to next season. Obviously Mattingly felt uncomfortable this season being in a lame duck situation and does not have total trust in the Dodgers front office. If he truly feels as if he doesn’t have the backing of the organization he should
explore the managerial openings that include the Nationals, Tigers and Reds, among others. It is my opinion that Mattingly isn’t a quality manager and cost the Dodgers at least one win in the playoffs, that being Game 1 of the NLCS when he decided to pull Adrian Gonzalez in favor of a pinch runner in the 8th
inning of a tie game. Mattingly also failed to pull the right strings during the NLCS and made some highly questionable decisions regarding the bullpen. The Dodgers front office needs to decide if Mattingly is truly the go-forward guy and needs to decide quickly. If he is then the front office needs to put all of
its eggs in that basket and build the trust between the two sides. If not, the Dodgers need to go find a manager that they do trust and that will have the respect of the clubhouse. Is that manager available? That is an answer the front office will be searching for in the coming days. As long as it’s not
3. Complete the signing of Cuban 2B/SS Alexander Guerrero
The Dodgers are expected to complete the signing of Cuban sensation Alexander Guerrero in the coming days for a reported 4-years and $28 million dollars. My opinion: the more Cubans the better. If he is half as
exciting and productive as Yasiel Puig then they have hit another home run. Guerrero, who has been compared to the “good” Dan Uggla with a glove, would be a fantastic addition to an already loaded lineup and would serve as a nice replacement for Mark Ellis. While Ellis is serviceable, he is not the
go-forward guy for the organization. Stan Kasten and Ned Colletti obviously believe that Guerrero is that guy.
4. Trade Andre Ethier
The outfield should be set next season with a healthy Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, and Puig leaving Ethier on the outside looking in. It makes no sense for the Dodgers to keep Ethier around when you can replace
his production with a less-expensive option via free agency. Who could the Dodgers get you ask? Well, they are going to want someone who can play multiple outfield positions and that is willing to be a rotational piece. Here is my initial list:
The real question for the Dodgers is what is Ethier’s value around the league and what type of assets can the Dodgers acquire for Ethier’s services? If they can nab a young reliever, starter or third baseman then they
should absolutely move forward with a deal, even if it means eating part of Ethier’s remaining contract.
5. Add a Starting Pitcher
In the playoff we saw managements hesitation to throw Ricky Nolasco in any game of relevance. Sure, he is a serviceable piece for the regular season and performed admirably this season. Nolasco is a near lock to
re-sign with the club if the Dodgers choose to move in that direction but it would only be as the teams 5th starter. In order to push this Dodgers team over the top the organization is going to have to find someone
that they trust to follow Kershaw, Zach Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu in a
playoff rotation. Here is the list of free agent candidates that the Dodgers might look in to:
Other candidates will emerge but I believe one of these six free agents will be the Dodgers 4th starter come April. It would be weird to see Lincecum in a Dodgers uniform but Ned Colletti does love himself
some ex-Giants. I would not at all be surprised to see “The Freak” on the Dodgers roster next season.
6. Re-sign Juan Uribe
Juan Uribe had one of the most memorable Home Runs of the postseason and finally delivered on his 3-year $21 million dollar contract, even though it took all of those 3 years for him to finally make good with
Dodger fans. I’d like to see him come back as a utility player and spot starter because of how much he means to the clubhouse the obvious connection he has with Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel
Puig. Sometimes organizations make moves that improve the team on paper but hurt the clubhouse resulting in a net negative to the team. Great organizations tend to find the balance between
improving the team and building chemistry. The Dodgers should understand that Juan Uribe means more to the team than just his on-field performance.
7. Get Healthy
The biggest reason the Dodgers did not make it past the NLCS this season was injuries. Without Matt Kemp and with a diminished Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier the Dodgers had almost no shot at competing with the St. Louis Cardinals. If the Dodgers are going to make a serious run at the 2014
World Series they are going to need to be at full-strength for the majority of the season. If that happens and the front office plugs some of the holes in the roster there is no reason to believe that the Dodgers won’t again be a serious contender.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Don Mattingly gave quite the exit press conference yesterday, basically saying that he has a guaranteed contract for next year, but if he doesn’t get a multi-year deal, then he might not be back with the Dodgers.
“My option vested once we beat Atlanta, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be back,” Mattingly told reporters on Monday, with general manager Ned Colletti sitting beside...
Everything is magnified in the playoffs, and you could tell just by the Yasiel Puig criticism. For us Dodger fans, Puig really didn’t do anything all that odd in the postseason, but I had him ranked as a ’10′ twice in the panic ratings for a reason.
Puig had a great NLDS, had a great NLCS at home, and had a miserable NLCS on the road. He made great defensive plays, he made...
Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly’s contract option was vested, but will he return in 2014? (photo credit: Richard Mackson, USA TODAY Sports)
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ season came to an unceremonious end with a 9-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series.
It was a strange ending as Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw only...
Tweet Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has went through quite a season of ups and downs. After the Dodgers got off to a slow start and were in the NL West basement in early June, the team turned it around and ended up winning the division and just two wins shy of the making the World Series. During his post season press conference...
Dodgers trainer Sue Falsone, who made headlines two years ago when she became the first female trainer of a major professional sports team, announced that she was leaving the team "to pursue other opportunities."
The Dodgers did not make announcement, but a team spokesman confirmed that Falsone, who was the Dodgers' physical therapist from 2007 to 2010 before becoming...
The Dodgers made the signing of Cuban SS/2B Alexander Guerrero official just moments ago, and to clear room on the 40-man roster, pitcher Peter Moylan was designated.
Guerrero was said to have agreed to a 4-year/$28 million contract just yesterday, but it was reasonable to remain skeptical given his history of rumored agreements. All the information on Guerrero can be found here...
I've decided to dedicate this week to new additions to my Matt Kemp Collection. I'll start off with a PC addition three years in the making, a card I wanted so badly I was willing to pay more than I thought was necessary to ensure I finally landed this beautiful on-card John Hancock.From 2010 Allen & Ginter, this Matt Kemp auto instantly becomes one of the centerpieces...
Day two of Matt Kemp Appreciation Week brings certified autograph number 20 into my Bison PC. From 2007 Topps Moments & Milestones, this black parallel John Hancock - numbered 37/40 - was had for less than a blaster and features a great action shot of a young Matty.There is some chipping around the edges, but that's to be expected on cards with black borders. I really love...
I can't click the twitter without reading someone commenting something on whether or not Don Mattingly will be/should be brought back.
But the first big move made regarding the coaching staff comes with Mattingly's good friend and bench coach, Trey Hillman.
According to Jon Heyman at CBS Sports:
Sources: #dodgers fire bench coach trey hillman and advance...
It has been two full days since the Dodgers season ended on a disappointing note in St. Louis.
Today was the day that GM Ned Colletti and manager - for now - Don Mattingly met the press to discuss a variety of issues.
The main issue: Donnie's future.
The press conference streamed Live on Dodgers.com, but I was too late to see it.
From the tweets...
The Los Angeles Dodgers have been hemming and hawing about manager Don Mattingly's future with the team, despite the third-year skipper rallying the club from last in its division to within two wins of the World Series over the course of the last few months.
So when it came time for his final media appearance of the year, Mattingly, alongside Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti...
Here we are, folks: the End of Season Post-Mortem series. If you're new here (which about 50% of our reader base is in comparison to last year), here's a brief explanation: after a team is eliminated from playoff contention, we're going to put their season under a microscope and look at just what the hell went wrong, what went right, and so on and so forth. The goal is...
Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero has agreed to a four-year, 28-million contract with the Dodgers, according to people familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Guerreros deal includes a 10-million signing bonus. Over the lifetime of the contract, the 26-year-old can earn an additional 4 million in bonuses based on plate appearances.
Mr. Glass, Matt Kemp, underwent surgery today.
I love Matt Kemp. I will always love the guy. He seems like a solid dude. And has been a GREAT player, though short lived to this point.
But he is oh so delicate and fragile.
Today, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, as well as every other Dodgers beat writer, Matty underwent arthroscopic surgery on his damaged left...