Where do the Dodgers go from here at the end of winter meetings?

Where do the Dodgers go from here at the end of winter meetings?

SAN DIEGO — The Dodgers have made significant waves in each of the past three offseasons, but president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and company have been quiet this winter, at least for now.

Going into winter meetings this week, the Dodgers were tied to nearly every top free agent in the market. But with Justin Verlander going to the Mets, Aaron Judge returning to the Yankees and a few other targets off the board, the Dodgers are going to have to get a little more creative in order to improve the roster.

Just because the busy few days in San Diego are over doesn’t mean the Dodgers don’t have time to improve. Los Angeles has thrived on finding under-the-radar moves that are going big, see Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney.

That being said, let’s see where things stand as winter rolls on.

1. Starting throw: It’s no secret that Verlander was the Dodgers’ top pick in the free agent market. Acquiring a frontline starter like Verlander would have improved Los Angeles dramatically. With Verlander off the board and no other ace-level starters on the Dodgers’ radar (they’re not on Carlos Rodón), they’ll have to look to other options through trade or free agency.

The Brewers have previously said they weren’t looking to deal Corbin Burnes or Brandon Woodruff, two pitchers who would have been easy fixes for the Dodgers. In the free agent market, the Dodgers could be looking to take a chance on a pitcher who hasn’t had the most recent success, but has an advantage.

Los Angeles will also rely on young starters like Michael Grove, Ryan Pepiot and possibly Bobby Miller and Gavin Stone, the organization’s top two pitching prospects.

2. Outfielder: The Dodgers were hoping to find a way to bring Cody Bellinger back, but it was never going to be easy after turning him down just three weeks ago. Interest around the league for the 2019 National League Most Valuable Player was high, and the Dodgers weren’t going to pay him $17.5 million.

With Bellinger gone to the Cubs, the Dodgers will now be looking for an outfielder, preferably a center back who plays solid defense, which Bellinger brought to the table. Brandon Nimmo is the best free agent center fielder out there, but the Dodgers probably won’t give him the money or the years he’s looking for. Kevin Kiermaier could be an interesting option. Both parties are interested, but some obstacles remain.

3. Shortstop: Trea Turner is on her way to Philadelphia, a result the Dodgers have long awaited. This will be the third starting shortstop for the Dodgers in three seasons.

Right now, the most likely scenario is for Gavin Lux to slip up and take on shortstop duties, at least to start the season. Lux’s position as a prospect was a shortstop, and the Dodgers feel really confident starting the season with him in that position. After playing behind Turner and Corey Seager, Lux deserves some attention.

Brewers shortstop Willy Adames makes perfect sense for the Dodgers, and there’s plenty of interest there, but Milwaukee has been hesitant to buy its star shortstop.

Rule 5 Project
The Dodgers went into the Rule 5 draft knowing they were unlikely to make a selection in the Major League side, but they expected some of their prospects to be picked and that was the case.

Thanks to three picks, the Dodgers lost two players: 1B/OF Ryan Noda to the A’s and left-hander Jose Hernandez to the Pirates. Fifteen picks later, the Dodgers also lost right-hander Gus Varland to the Brewers. One prospect who was not selected was outfielder Jose Ramos, the organization’s No. 8 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

In the minor league portion, the Dodgers selected right-hander Yon Castro from the Yankees, right-hander Carlo Reyes from the Phillies and outfielder Josh Stowers from the Rangers.

GM’s bottom line
There is going to be a youth movement this season, and it will all start with Miguel Vargas, who will have an increased role this season. Miller and Stone will also be asked to intervene. The Dodgers pride themselves on having a strong farming system. It will be used this season.

“It’s as talented a group as I’ve seen,” said general manager Brandon Gomes. “Now it’s about finding time for them without putting too much pressure on them. … It’s a very versatile group.

#Dodgers #winter #meetings

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