Dodgers pondering offseason moves
Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Thursday
the team’s priorities going into next season involve adding a
starting pitcher, keeping the bullpen intact, and improving the
Colletti and the rest of the front office were in meetings to
plan for 2013 a day after the Dodgers’ season ended without making
the playoffs for the third straight year and first under new
ownership. The team hasn’t won the World Series since 1988.
The Dodgers began the season in bankruptcy under former owner
Frank McCourt and ended it with an 86-76 record under new owners
that include Magic Johnson and Mark Walter. The team’s payroll
ranked 12th in the majors at $94.7 million on opening day and rose
to eighth at $129.1 million by season’s end.
In July and August they added infielder Hanley Ramirez, reliever
Brandon League, outfielder Shane Victorino, and pitcher Joe
Blanton, and in a blockbuster deal acquired pitcher Josh Beckett,
outfielder Carl Crawford, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and
infielder Nick Punto from the Boston Red Sox, catapulting their
payroll into the stratosphere.
Beckett is due $31.5 million over the next two years; Gonzalez
has $127 million coming through 2018; and Crawford is due $102.5
million over the next five seasons.
”It’s been a season with a lot of movement and additions of
high-caliber players,” Colletti said. ”Today compared to a year
ago, we’re in much better shape.”
The Dodgers on Thursday sent pitcher Rubby De La Rosa and
outfielder-first baseman Jerry Sands to Boston as the players to
named later in the Aug. 25 deal, having already sent first baseman
James Loney, pitcher Allen Webster and infielder Ivan De Jesus to
the Red Sox.
”We’re going to keep looking for opportunities,” team
president Stan Kasten said.
Even with their high-priced acquisitions over the season’s last
month, the Dodgers finished second in the NL West, eight games
behind San Francisco. They were eliminated from postseason
contention on the next-to-last day of the season, ending a
roller-coaster ride in which they used a strong start to propel
them into first place in the NL West before injuries took their
toll as the summer wore on.
”I was impressed and heartened by the play in April and May
when I thought we were overachieving,” Kasten said. ”My
expectations are that we will go further than 161 (games next
Colletti said the Dodgers’ 35-37 record against their division
rivals ”needs to get better.”
The injury bug hit two of the Dodgers’ biggest stars.
Slugger Matt Kemp had a hamstring injury in May before Andre
Ethier had an oblique strain.
Kemp was scheduled for surgery on Friday. He has a torn labrum
in his left shoulder, and depending on what doctors find, it could
be cleaned up in a minor procedure or he could have the labrum
repaired, which would sideline him for four months. After a
terrific first month, he wound up hitting .303 with 23 home runs
and 69 RBIs a year after being runner-up to Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun
for the NL MVP award.
”He should be ready for spring training,” Colletti said.
Ace Clayton Kershaw went 14-9 with a major league-leading 2.53
ERA despite a hip impingement late in the season that he said
hadn’t bothered him in recent days. His offseason workout plan will
be tailored to strengthen his hip.
”Things can always come back,” Colletti said. ”There’s a
really good chance it won’t come back.”
Starters Ted Lilly and Chad Billingsley were hobbled by shoulder
and elbow problems, respectively. Lilly’s inflamed left shoulder
kept him out from May 24 to the end of the season, and he’s
recovering from surgery. Billingsley’s recurring issues with his
right shoulder sidelined him the final month and he’s now trying to
avoid Tommy John surgery.
Adding a starting pitcher is ”an area we’ll seriously have to
look at,” Colletti said.
Crawford, part of the nine-player trade with Boston, never
suited up during the season while rehabbing in Houston from elbow
surgery. Colletti said Crawford should be able to start hitting in
December. He won’t be at full strength until April or May, however,
that ”doesn’t preclude him from playing,” the GM said.
Colletti wants to keep intact the bullpen that includes Ronald
Belisario, Matt Guerrier, Kenley Jansen and League. Jansen will
undergo a procedure to fix an irregular heartbeat that has affected
him the last two seasons, and is expected to be ready by spring
”Our bullpen really prospered,” Colletti said.
Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig will play in the Arizona Fall
League and attend spring training with the Dodgers in Glendale,
Ariz., although his prospects of making the big-league roster
remain unknown. Puig signed a record seven-year, $42 million
contract after defecting from Cuba in June after several failed
”Great power, speed, arm,” Colletti said of the young slugger.
”He still needs work playing the game.”
The Dodgers’ season attendance of 3,324,246 was the third-best
in the NL, and an improvement over last year when numbers dipped
below 3 million.
”That was a real show of confidence by the fans,” said Kasten,
who took over in May when the Dodgers’ sale was finalized.
Among the promises made by the new owners were improving the
team, enhancing the fan experience, and reaching out to the
”I think we have made major progress,” Kasten said, adding,
”The jury is still out until we get to where our goals are.”