In the latest Dodgers Way mailbag, we received some questions about Matt Kemp, Yu Darvish, and the search for a free-agent pitcher. To participate all you have to do is ask a question and include the hashtag #DodgersWay in your tweet or comment on the mailbag facebook post.
In the last Dodgers Way mailbag, there were questions about the Dodgers’ payroll, possible 2018 free-agent targets, and a suggested trade for Nick Castellanos. For this week’s mailbag, there were a good variety of questions, although most had something to do with the Dodger rotation.
The Dodgers have tried to unload Matt Kemp since the moment he was re-acquired from the Atlanta Braves. You can bet that the front office is working the phones trying to find a way to dump some of his owed salary. In all likelihood, he will begin the season in LA and hopefully build some trade value to be traded away again.
As far as Yu Darvish goes, the Dodgers reportedly would love to bring him back, if they are able to clear enough salary to stay under the luxury tax. If the Dodgers are able to clear out about fifteen million more dollars then Darvish will be a Dodger.
The only question is if they will be able to clear the amount needed. The Dodgers will almost certainly make some minor league depth signings in free agency, but don’t count on any more big moves. If the Dodgers make a trade involving a starting pitcher it will most likely be to deal away a starting pitcher, rather than acquire one.
Is Utley coming back? – Bubba Rutledge
Dodgers beat writer Ken Gurnick reported last week that Utley was working out with the team. That is an indication that a deal should come soon since a free-agent player is not supposed to work out with a team prior to signing. I would bet that shortly before spring training a new one year deal is agreed to.
What are the Dodgers doing as far as getting what we need at the weak spots? – Anthony Rivera
The Dodgers are certainly not a perfect team, but they are a team with very little holes. I would consider the “weak” position to be left field. It’s not that the Dodgers don’t have talent there, it’s just a matter of someone emerging from the glut of options. Whether that’s Joc, Andrew Toles, Verdugo, or Kemp remains to be seen but the Dodgers do have talent there.
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One could argue that their bullpen has some holes but there are also several players who could become viable relievers for the Dodgers. Tom Koehler could be the next reclamation project to become a stalwart in the Dodger bullpen and Pedro Baez could bounce back strong in 2018.
Any free agent pitcher that is looked at to sign? – Yoli Montano
The Dodgers, as usual, are doing a great job of keeping their targets under the radar. Yu Darvish is the only free agent pitcher that has been tied to the Dodgers in rumors. Outside of that, the hot stove is as cold as an Ohio winter. There will be some minor league depth signings to come but unless more salary is cleared, it’s hard to see the Dodgers signing a major league free agent pitcher.
Where’s our number two starter? – Johnny Streich
Statistically, the Dodgers have two number two starters in Rich Hill and Alex Wood. Among all starting pitchers in the NL with at least 100 innings, Wood and Hill finished in the top ten for ERA in the National League. The only knock on both of them is that they aren’t workhorse starters but they are definitely solid number two starters for just about any team in baseball.
Will fans ever understand that big names don’t guarantee winning? – Jeff Herzog
Probably not. I am sure if the Dodgers don’t win the World Series in 2018, then most Dodgers fans will clamor for Bryce Harper and be upset if the Dodgers don’t land Harper. While Verlander certainly worked out for the Astros, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks failed to win the World Series after trading for Darvish and JD Martinez.
The Dodgers have plenty of big names that they developed within their own farm system. If they can continue to reap the rewards from their own farm system then the Dodgers should hardly ever need to go out and get a big name player.
That wraps up volume three of the Dodgers Way mailbag. The next time the mailbag comes around, pitchers and catchers will have reported to spring training.