Is it a Rebuilding Year for the Dodgers in 2015?


The Dodgers have done a lot this offseason, but they really haven’t done anything big. The most obvious changes came from the hiring of several new front office executives. The Dodgers are still within the post-McCourt transitional phase, and some of the final pieces left from that bygone have been replaced or usurped by the ownership’s new regime.

With a fresh outlook, financial flexibility thanks to Mark Walter, and a supposed return to the Dodger tradition, the team has been moving in a much more positive and successful direction. Even though I’m still complaining about the Giants winning it all and the Dodgers falling short, there’s a lot to be thankful for as a Dodger fan. I’m much more confident with these new baseball minds within the Dodgers’ organization, and I do think that the Dodgers will be competitive next year.

Are the Dodgers shifting focus to long-term viability and success rather than winning the World Series in 2015? Is it a so-called “rebuilding year?” A heavy sigh most

Andrew Friedman will carve out a place in Dodger history with his moves. Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

always comes along with the term rebuilding year. It means the team needs to be revamped with new players by getting rid of the old, less valuable ones. It also comes with the connotation that the season won’t be a championship season. It is a period of transition when a team tries to add strength to its weak spots and retool the roster as needed.

With a farm system that was nearly depleted under McCourt and a seemingly nonexistent place in international player scouting and development, the new ownership had a lot to fix and reconfigure. It was never going to be an easy or short process to restructure the entire organization from the minor league affiliates (which are also in transition with a new home for Double-A and Triple-A in Oklahoma) to the Major League roster. The journey to Blue domination is not over. There’s still work to be done.

2013 seemed like the perfect season for the Dodgers to go all the way. A miraculous winning run, the stories of unsung heroes (Nick Punto, anyone?), the emergence of Yasiel Puig, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke cementing themselves as the top tier pitching duo in the game, and an overall magical feel to the season both at Dodger Stadium and within the Los Angeles community gave the season a special place in my heart. When Hanley’s rib was cracked by the Joe Kelly fastball, all of our hearts sunk faster than a Kershaw curve. It was not to be.

2014 was more dismaying after the sudden postseason defeat by the unrelenting Cardinals again. The Giants went on one of their usual incredibly lucky streaks, and both the Dodgers and Giants would go on to be teams in transition during the offseason. While the Dodgers lost Hanley, the Giants also lost a star in Pablo Sandoval to the Red Sox. Now I’m here complaining about Hanley again, and the Dodgers have yet to do anything exciting this offseason so far.

The Dodgers have still yet to fully revamp the awful bullpen. Joel Peralta was the best pickup by the Dodgers this offseason, but they also lost Jose Dominguez and Onelki Garcia as bullpen options. Adam Liberatore is an intriguing option for the Dodgers when it comes to left-handed relief pitching. With J.P. Howell and Paco Rodriguez in the mix, Liberatore could add another left-handed option out of the pen for Don Mattingly.  Juan Nicasio will be another option for the Dodgers as far as relief, but I’d still like to see the Dodgers acquire another proven reliever instead of more washed up closers or starters turned relievers. Even though the bullpen seems to be full right now, I’m not completely confident with the current configuration.

The Dodgers have not budged on acquiring another catcher. With Drew Butera‘s future with the Dodgers up in the air, it will be interesting if they offer him a

More should be done to make the Dodger bullpen better. Photo: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

contract. By not bolstering their catching corps, the Dodgers would go with A.J. Ellis and Drew Butera or Tim Federowicz in 2015 as of right now. Certainly a better hitting catcher who can also frame pitches well should be a top priority for the Dodgers in their long-term and short-term progress.

Another starter or two is also on the shopping list. I do not want to have to see Mike Bolsinger pitch come May when half the Dodgers rotation hits the disabled list (it always seems to happen). Juan Nicasio seems to be tagged as a potential reliever, and I would rather not have to start Nicasio either. Dan Haren will be back unless the Dodgers can trade him for something of value. This leaves the backend of the rotation vulnerable. More pitching can never hurt.

Who’s at short? I suppose Spring Training will give us that answer. Miguel Rojas, Justin Turner, Alex Guerrero, Erisbel Arruebarrena, Darwin Barney are all in the mix to play some short for the Dodgers in 2015. The Dodgers only want to bridge the gap until Corey Seager is ready, and that means they will not sign any shortstop to a long-term deal. My bet is on Erisbel Arruebarrena getting a shot with Barney, Turner and Rojas helping out off the bench.

Seager or Bust!

Rome wasn’t built in a day. The Dodgers want to build a Dodger Dynasty, and that takes a lot of work, money, investment, time and patience. We lost a lot of time during the dark ages that preceded the Guggenheim era. The Blueprint is being designed, and as Andrew Friedman said the “process” is in motion. After 26 years, I hope that a world championship team won’t take an additional 26 years to construct.