Excuse me, is the offseason over? Is it time for pitchers and catchers to report? Did I miss Opening Day?
Uh, no — it’s Dec. 15. Plenty of free agents remain available. Plenty of trades remain possible. Plenty of time remains for your team to get busy, no matter how dormant it has been thus far.
Which brings us to everyone’s favorite offseason whipping boys, the highly paid and highly acclaimed members of the Dodgers’ front office.
Granted, it’s odd to see the filthy-rich Dodgers getting money-whipped by the Diamondbacks and Giants. But does anyone seriously expect the LA offseason to stop with right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, who has agreed to a three-year, $45 million free-agent contract; second baseman Chase Utley, who signed a one-year, $7 million deal; and lefty Brett Anderson, who accepted the team’s one-year $15.8 million qualifying offer?
Let’s look at what happened. Let’s look at what could happen. Let’s try to understand the scope of the offseason, and not display the attention spans of gnats.
The Dodgers, from all indications, did not make a big run at David Price. They got blind-sided by the D-backs on Zack Greinke. They did not seem terribly interested in signing Johnny Cueto.
In all three cases, the Dodgers easily could look dumb short term, smart long term. Now, maybe a team with an $8.5 billion TV contract should be less worried about avoiding long-term ramifications. Certainly, the front office at times gets too cute, as evidenced by its complicated three-team, 13-player with the Braves and Marlins last July that actually resulted in net damage to the Dodgers’ chances last season.
Still, there is so much more the Dodgers can accomplish, even if — as expected — they decline to revive their trade for Reds closer Aroldis Chapman, who is under investigation by Major League Baseball for an alleged domestic-violence incident.
Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda, recently posted by the Hiroshima Carp, is one rotation option. Free agents Wei-Yin Chen, Mike Leake, Yovani Gallardo and Scott Kazmir are others. The Indians, Padres and Rays are still discussing starting pitchers in trades.
The additions of Maeda, Leake and Kazmir would not require the loss of a draft pick, so the Dodgers actually could end up plus-one in that department, forfeiting a pick for Iwakuma but gaining two for losing Greinke and second baseman Howie Kendrick.
The Dodgers also could make a combination trade with a team such as the Rays, acquiring a starter such as righty Jake Odorizzi and a reliever such as lefty Jake McGee. And remember, they have four potential wild cards for their rotation — lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu and righty Brandon McCarthy, who are coming off injuries, and lefty Julio Urias and righty Jose De Leon, who are top prospects (McCarthy, coming off Tommy John surgery, is likely to miss the entire first half).
On the offensive side, the Dodgers also figure to be active. They’re trying to trade Andre Ethier and/or Carl Crawford (Ethier, if the Dodgers paid down the remainder of his contract to say, two years, $20 million, would be more attractive than say, free agent Gerardo Parra at four years, $50 million-plus.)
What if the Dodgers create a spot for free-agent left fielder Alex Gordon? What if they trade for Reds third baseman Todd Frazier and move Justin Turner to second? Those options and numerous others are available — and in many cases, the acquisition costs will only become more reasonable as the offseason continues.
It’s Dec. 15. Not time for the Dodgers or any other club to panic. Yet.