The Dodgers are off to a slow start this offseason and are losing out on some key players. They swung and missed in the Shoehi Ohtani sweepstakes and also took a back seat to the Yankees by not trading for NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. Things continue to look bleak with the news that Brandon Morrow has signed a deal to become the closer for the Cubs. Why are the Dodgers content just sitting on their hands?
It’s obviously very difficult to improve a club that won 104 games and forced a game 7 in the World Series. But you can only look back at last season as a learning experience and can’t dwell on that for long. Especially when you factor in that there are other competitive teams making moves to improve their roster.
The Yankees who were one win away from going to the World Series added a power bat. The Cubs who went to their second consecutive NLCS improved their bullpen while weakening the Dodgers at the same time. The only other final four team not to make a move is the Astros but rumor has it that they’re considering signing Yu Darvish. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are hoarding their salary cap savings and watching the market thin out.
Losing Brandon Morrow undoubtedly hurts. He was a big reason for the bullpen’s success and really helped stabilize the back-end of the bullpen. Losing him to the Cubs sucks even more. The Cubs bullpen was a trainwreck last season and was a deciding factor in the NLCS. By stealing Morrow away from Los Angeles, the Cubs not only improve their bullpen but also created a hole in the Dodgers’ bullpen.
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Our colleague Jacob Rudner accurately pointed out that it’s not the end of the world, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting. Brandon Morrow is a 33-year old pitcher with his fair share of health concerns that up until last season had failed to pitch in more than 20 games since 2012.
The Dodgers will likely chance the set-up role with Pedro Baez or Yimi Garcia if he proves to be healthy during spring training. Those are quality options to replace Morrow if they can pitch as we know they’re capable of. So while losing Morrow isn’t ideal, they have some options in-house to replace him.
Are the Dodgers doing the right thing? It really depends on who you ask. But if you ask me I’m not exactly thrilled with the way the front office is going about this offseason. I get it, this team is built to win for several years and there’s not much of a reason to make dramatic changes. But it’s wishful thinking to say the Dodgers are going to have the same magic they had last season.
I think it also has a lot to do with the player market this offseason. There aren’t many available free agents that spark a huge improvement for this Dodger team. The one that was is now wearing a Yankee uniform.
Andrew Friedman has already said that this team isn’t going to force anything these Winter Meetings. They don’t figure to be big players on the market. So while we had a very eventful week last week with all the Ohtani and Stanton rumors, we may be in for a quiet December. We can only hope the front office is right and this team returns next season with the same magic.