Earlier today the Dodgers held a press conference at Dodger Stadium led by Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi. They touched on some of the key questions surrounding the Dodgers entering the 2017 off-season. Here are some key takeaways from the press conference.
After discussing their thoughts on the 2017 season and deflecting any questions about second guesses, the main duo of the Dodgers front office delved into some of the biggest questions the team faces this off-season. As usual, they played their cards close to their vest and did not reveal any surprises.
Andrew Friedman said that the Dodgers anticipate Adrian Gonzalez being a full-time player in 2017. While this may surprise some fans, it shouldn’t, as the Dodgers owe him 22 million in the final year of his current contract. The fact that the Dodgers owe Gonzalez so much money and that he is a well-respected veteran, make it no surprise that they will see what he has left in the tank for the 2018 season before parting ways with him. If he does indeed start at first base, then Cody Bellinger will play left field.
While there had been some speculation during the World Series that the Dodgers could move on from Rick Honeycutt, those notions were put to rest by Friedman. He announced that the coaching staff is expected to remain intact which means Honeycutt will be the Dodgers pitching coach in 2018. This is excellent news since Honeycutt has been with the Dodgers since 2006 and the Dodgers pitching staff has ranked as one of the best staffs in baseball throughout his Dodger tenure.
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During the press conference, it was announced that Andrew Toles is expected to be ready for spring training. Toles is working his way back from ACL surgery earlier in the year. This is good news as the Dodgers once again find themselves with a surplus of outfielders. Even if Bellinger remains at first base that would leave Joc Pederson, Andrew Toles, Alex Verdugo, and any other off-season acquisitions in the competition for playing time in left field. If Gonzalez proves to be healthy, then Bellinger will likely start in left field. Then the Dodgers may need to trade some of their outfielders.
The most concerning news to come out of today’s press conference was when Friedman announced the Dodgers are hopeful that Corey Seager’s right elbow will heal without surgery. The fact the team is “hoping” leaves some concern about the long-term implications if his elbow does not heal right. The Dodgers are better off getting his elbow taken care of now and avoiding further issues, rather than risking Seager needing to get surgery during the season. The front office could elect to start Charlie Culberson or move Chris Taylor back to the infield if Seager misses some time during spring training.
Now that the off-season is officially kicked off the next big event will be the winter meetings in December. It’s possible the Dodgers could look to re-sign Brandon Morrow before the meetings if they can get him to sign early on in free agency.