The Dodgers need to put the ball in play and not rely on hitting Home Run’s. In addition to that, Los Angeles needs to establish a solid second baseman. Whether that position is filled with in house talent or via free agency or trade, it needs to happen. After addressing those two issues, the Dodgers need to secure a reliable catcher and expend a few players in order to acquire some talented bullpen pieces. Here are my thoughts on what solutions can be used to fill these holes.
There are two players that I think will suffice. One would come via free agency and the other would come via the trade market.
I know I’ve talked a lot about Los Angeles going after Bryce Harper, this action alone won’t fill their glaring offensive woes. The Dodgers need a player that can A) get on base and B) hit for contact. In my opinion, DJ Lemahieu would be the perfect player to fill that role. Not to mention, it would fill the hole that is second base. Lemahieu is a solid second baseman with very nice defense. In his eight year playing career, Lemahieu has won three Gold Glove awards at second base, has been a two time all star and won the batting title in 2016. While Lemahieu is not a power hitter, he is a contact hitter than consistently hits right around .300. Since 2015, his batting average has floated right around .305. Granted, this past season was a bit of a down year as his average dropped to .276.
One thing we have to be weary of is that he has played the bulk of his career in Colorado where numbers are generally inflated. Taking that into consideration, even if Lemahieu was able to hit in the upper .270’s to the mid .280’s, I think the return would be worth it. Signing Lemahieu would solidify second base and would possibly be a two or three year deal at about $9 or $10 million per season.
Prior to writing this, Jonathan Schoop was an option I was thinking of but he has just signed a one year, $7.5 million deal with the Minnesota Twins. If the Dodgers miss out on Lemahieu, they can still turn to Brian Dozier. Dozier, a free agent, played with the Dodgers for the last half of the season in 2018 and didn’t perform as well as everyone expected. With that being said, Dozier did have an injury and of course, he came from the American League to the National League. Due to these setbacks, the Dodgers may be able to sign Dozier for less money than Lemahieu. Possibly the same amount of years on the contract, two or three, but with a lower AAV (Average Annual Value). That number may sit at about $5 – $7.5 million a year.
It feels like the biggest challenge of the offseason for the Dodgers and other teams is landing a star catcher. With many names being thrown around like Wilson Ramos, JT Realmuto and Yasmani Grandal, only one of those players is the coveted: JT Realmuto. Acquiring Realmuto will not be easy for any team, especially a team that is in need of a catcher, like the Dodgers.
Miami knows that Realmuto is desirable and Miami also knows that they can ask for a nice package of talent in return. However, Miami needs to realize that a team isn’t going to give up a haul of prospects AND a potential franchise major league talent for Realmuto. Well, some team might but a smart team won’t. Earlier it was reported that Miami would want to receive Cody Bellinger in any deal for Realmuto. That talk was quickly shut down.
Realmuto is coming off a stellar year where he hit 21 Home Run’s and drove in 74 runs. That earned him his first All-Star appearance and a Silver Slugger. Of course, that upped his value as well. Recently, Realmuto said he wouldn’t sign an extension with Miami which means that he is more than likely going to be traded either this offseason or before the trade deadline in July 2019.
The Dodgers have pieces that are very attractive for Miami and I believe the Dodgers would be just fine in the long run if they dealt a few players for Realmuto. Here is my scenario.
Dodgers acquire: JT Realmuto
Marlins acquire: Top prospect Alex Verdugo, Catcher Colton Wong and Alex Wood.
I feel like this is a win-win trade for both teams. The Dodgers would acquire a prize catcher and Miami would acquire a top prospect that is more than ready for the Majors and they would acquire a pitcher that will be reliable. Wood isn’t an ace but he is a solid three in a rotation. For the Marlins, he would be a #2 behind Dan Straily. Alex Verdugo is a talented outfielder that has been ready for the majors for some time but the Dodgers just don’t have room for him. He needs to be on a team where he can get everyday playing time. For the last player I mentioned, Colton Wong, he is a catcher who spent his first season in the minors with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Wong is a talented catcher but unfortunately, his route will be blocked in the future since the Dodgers already have two catchers that are close to major league ready.
Just like every other fan account or blog that follows a certain team, we all say, “This would be a great trade and I hope the *insert team name* pull it off.” Unfortunately, what we want and what we get are two separate things. We can say we want Realmuto all we want but it’s not our call. We can just hope that the front office will pull off the trade that we want done.
Finally, I think the Dodgers should acquire free agent Adam Ottavino. He is coming off a career year where he was second in strikeouts among National League relievers and had the lowest era of his career. Ottavino, 33, will possibly be looking for a multi year deal and I think if the price was right, it’s a good deal. Just don’t let it get out of control.
If Los Angeles is unable to land Ottavino, they should look at Joe Kelly. Kelly has been around for roughly six years and has played with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox. In fact, he pitched in the 2013 World Series when the Cardinals lost to the Red Sox and pitched in this last World Series when the Red Sox beat the Dodgers. Kelly has enormous power, his fastball reaching into the 100’s at times and he might be the flamethrower that the Dodgers have missed since Brandon Morrow.
So as time goes by, we will see more and more free agents sign and more players get traded. Will the Dodgers be apart of any of these acquisitions? Who knows. Let’s hope the Dodgers are able to reinforce this team and set out for another World Series run!