The winter meetings will begin on Sunday when all the front office executives from every major league team will gather in Orlando, Florida. The Dodgers will head to Orlando with one of the best teams on paper.
There is a strong likelihood that by the end of the winter meetings next Thursday, the fates of Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani will be decided. The latest rumors have Stanton possibly being traded by the end of this week, and Ohtani has until December 22nd to pick his new team. Whether the Dodgers acquire one of Ohtani or Stanton, they will still be the favorite to win the National League.
The Dodgers starting rotation currently consists of Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Alex Wood, and two of either Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-Jin Ryu, or Kenta Maeda. On paper that is a very solid starting rotation and will help the Dodgers win a lot of games. While the Dodgers could use a number two starting pitcher to bolster the playoff rotation, they could wait to see if Walker Buehler takes the leap to being a top tier starter. The Dodgers could enter the 2018 season with their rotation as it is and wait until the trade deadline again if they are unable to swing a trade for someone like Chris Archer this winter. Given the market for top tier pitchers like Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish, the Dodgers would be wise to stay away from the free agent pitching class.
One area of need the Dodgers do need to address is their late-inning setup men. The Dodgers stand to lose Brandon Morrow and Tony Watson in free agency unless they can come to terms on a new deal. Morrow has a checkered injury history, and Watson may be paid more than he’s worth due to the lack of southpaw relievers on the market. If both get offers the Dodgers deem unreasonable, they can acquire other solid relievers for lower price tags like Luke Gregerson or Tyler Clippard. There are a ton of solid relievers on the market, so the Dodgers don’t have to overpay for one.
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The Dodgers could let Watson walk since they have Adam Liberatore, Luis Avilan, and Tony Cingrani. Liberatore carries a ton of injury risk but when he’s healthy is a shutdown lefty reliever. Cingrani turned things around once he became a Dodger and will be a big asset to the 2018 club. Avilan can get both right-handed and left-handed hitters out and is another important piece of the bullpen. While the Dodgers will most likely add a southpaw reliever for depth, they don’t need to spend big on Tony Watson or give up a few prospects for Britton.
Regarding the everyday lineup, the only position that has uncertainty is left field. Kike Hernandez will most likely start against left-handed starters, but against right-handers, the Dodgers need to decide whether Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo, or Andrew Toles will start. Unless the Dodgers acquire Giancarlo Stanton, they will go with what they have in-house. They won’t be going after JD Martinez. There is a good chance that one of Toles, Pederson, or Verdugo will run away with the job in spring training.
The biggest names that will dominate the winter meetings are Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani. If the Dodgers fail to acquire either there is nothing to worry about. Even if Stanton goes to the Giants, the Giants are no better than a third-place team in the rejuvenated NL West. The Dodgers could make an impact move if the opportunity presents itself, but if it doesn’t, they don’t need to make moves just to make moves. The Dodgers should try to improve their roster during the meetings, but they don’t need to do anything flashy.