The Dodgers were supposed to be active in the Winter Meetings. Instead, a whole lot of nothing.
The Dodgers were one of the most active teams during last years Winter Meetings. With a new front office in place, San Diego was home to one of the most busy Winter Meetings of all time, and the Dodgers walked away with like 10 shiny new toys.
Obviously, there is still a ton of time to make moves. The Winter Meetings aren’t the end of offseason free agency, and as far as I know there isn’t any rule that ensures their current roster will be the same as their Opening Day roster.
There are also a bunch of very good free agents still available. Johnny Cueto would be a great number two behind Clayton Kershaw but his arm scares me and he’s looking for a long deal. Jason Heyward is one of many great outfielders still available, should the Dodgers move an outfielder in a trade.
It’s not entirely the Dodgers fault that the Winter Meetings were so quiet. They reportedly had a deal in place to acquire Aroldis Chapman, which got derailed by domestic violence allegations. They also seemed to be attached to Marlins’ ace Jose Fernandez during the whole meetings, but reports had Miami asking for Corey Seager, Julio Urias, Joc Pederson AND two other pieces. I’m about as pro-Fernandez as a human can be, but Miami made it clear they weren’t serious about moving him.
Andrew Miller, who was a free agent last year, is under contract until 2019 and has been a dominant reliever over the last couple years. He only became a full-time closer in New York last year, so he could ideally slide into a setup role and leave Kenley Jansen as the closer, a situation that would have been less clear had the Chapman rumors come to fruition. Miller would be a great get, but the price will likely be very high and it always scares me to trade good prospects for a relief pitcher that might throw 60 innings in a season.
Oct 6, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Andrew Miller (48) throws against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning in the American League Wild Card playoff baseball game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
The narrative would undoubtably be “why didn’t the Dodgers just sign Miller last year”. Miller had the choice of where to pitch, and he reportedly wanted to pitch on the east coast. It’s hard to say whether or not he would have willingly chosen Los Angeles, but he wouldn’t have a choice if traded.
The Dodgers’ Winter Meetings silence was further magnified by another random division rival taking all the headlines. Last year, it was the Padres, who paid a lot of money and traded a lot of players, but still had an extremely flawed team. This year, the Diamondbacks were the headliners, signing Zack Greinke and trading for Shelby Miller. They were one of the best offensive and defensive teams last year, and they kept most of their offense in tact while boosting their rotation from iffy to potentially great.
They also showed that they are in complete win-now mode, trading a ridiculous package for Miller, who I view as a decent number two/great number three. Solid pitcher that would have been a nice addition in LA, but Ender Inciarte alone is arguably an overpay for Miller. The DBacks traded him, Aaron Blair (top-50 prospect) and last years’ number one pick Dansby Swanson, who immediately became Atlanta’s top prospect. This was a massive overpay for a starter that has worse numbers than Wade Miley over the last two years.
Obviously the age difference (Miley is 29, Miller is 25) is a factor, but I’ve seen a whole lot of kneejerk reactions calling the DBacks the favorite in the West now. You would think after last years’ Padres, people would maybe wait until Spring Training started to make their predictions.
Dodger fans are panicking with the amount of inactivity at the Winter Meetings, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t frustrating. After last years’ Winter Meetings, Dodgers/baseball fans are understandably spoiled and this year was just so underwhelming. The Dodgers kept the farm in tact (for now) and patched up their rotation a bit, but there’s still work to be done. I’m still expecting a deal for another starter, a bullpen piece or two and an outfielder to be moved (maybe to bring in another outfielder). A lot can happen in two months, which is roughly the amount of time until pitchers and catchers report. So, let’s all remain calm until there are literally no more good players available in free agency or trades.