Dodgers Way Quick Hits: Bryce Harper, Yusei Kikuchi, Second Base
By Jacob Rudner
The Winter Meetings kick off in Las Vegas this Sunday and the Dodgers have a lot of rumors to deal with while they are there. Andrew Friedman and his team have lit the stove, here is what they have cooking.
Bryce Harper seems to headline every Dodger fan’s holiday wishlist. What was a dream and nothing more about a week ago has slowly but surely come to fruition. With news breaking that Magic Johnson, the partial owner and the full face of the franchise, traveling to Las Vegas to meet with Harper himself, the dreams may very well be coming true. Johnson has visions for his teams and he pursues them. Prior to the 2018 basketball season, Johnson worked his Magic to sign LeBron James and bring him from Cleveland to the Lakers and now, he hopes to do the same job for his team on the diamond. Harper’s bat and age would be game-changing for the Dodgers especially if the defensively challenged outfielder is willing to be flexible and play some first base. The news that Johnson met with Harper is a preliminary sign that the Dodgers fully intend to go all out for Harper, the 2015 Most Valuable Player, and that is certainly a story to follow throughout the meetings next week. Also worth noting, this year’s Winter Meetings are being held in Harper’s hometown.
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- The Dodgers have been named as early contenders for Japanese southpaw, Yusei Kikuchi. Kikuchi is regarded as one of the most talented pitchers to come out of the Japanese system, rivaling the pre-MLB scouting reports of Shohei Ohtani and Masahiro Tanaka. Kikuchi, still just 27-years old, has pitched in the Japanese Professional Baseball League since he was 20-years old and has enjoyed bountiful success in that time. The Seibu Lions ace posts tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 3rd, at which point he will officially be a Major League Baseball free agent. Kikuchi is being represented by MLB super agent Scott Boras.
- The Dodgers second base issue is still “at large”. The Dodgers have not made it clear whether or not the plan would be to platoon the trio of Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernandez and Max Muncy or to go after a free agent/make a trade. Either way, the Dodgers are exploring all their options and it appears that DJ LeMahieu is on the Dodgers’ list of potential purchases this offseason. LeMahieu has spent the last seven years in Colorado, an environment in which he hit .299 with a .352 on-base percentage. But the numbers on the surface do not tell the whole story for LeMahieu, a now 30-year old free agent. The second baseman has not topped 100 in OPS+ at all in his career with the exception of the 2017 season. Take away the 128 from that year and Lemahieu has a career OPS+ of 85. The Dodgers could make a major misstep there.
- With the Meeting upon us, make sure to follow along with the action here on Dodgers Way where we will be posting full coverage of any and all news.