As we await to find out who the Dodgers play in the first round of the playoffs, I think it’s appropriate that we look ahead and see what types of changes could be on the horizon for the Dodgers in 2018.
Changes in Players
Of course, we do know that Andre Ethier’s contract us up and unless he wants to sign a “Chase Utley” type contract, his Dodgers career is likely over. I do not think it is outside the realm of probability he will do that, especially if (The Big Dodger in the Sky forbid) the Dodgers do not win the World Series. He may want another chance to be part of that. I do think that Chase Utley’s time with the Dodgers is over, but I thought that last year too. Could he opt in for another season? I really don’t think so, but who knows? Only Chase and the Dodgers have a clue..
Adrian Gonzalez’ back is not going to just magically get better, and facing his last year under contract, it’s likely he will need surgery on his back and does he want to do that? I still think the Dodgers try and sign him to a long-term personal services contract which is a little tricky. He would have to announce his retirement and then the Dodgers could extend that deal. The MLBPA won’t want him to just walk away.
Scott Kazmir may be done as well. If the Dodgers have the contract insured they may try and cut ties. Among the pitchers, Brandon McCarthy will likely be back to pitch his final year as the trade market for him is nearly nothing. I really could see him part of the bullpen next year. Ryu and Meada have significant trade value and could be part of a deal, as could Joc Pederson. The Dodgers have Andrew Toles due back next Spring and he has shown a lot of promise, but nothing is a given.
What the Dodgers need is another “middle-of-the-order” hitter, like Giancarlo Stanton and make no mistake about it, Mark Walter is not afraid to take on big cash obligations if he gets back a valuable product. Stanton is a valuable product. Of course, that would come at significant cost. A player that Andrew Friedman has been loathe to trade (Alex Verdugo) would likely have to be part of that deal. The Dodgers might have to part with Buehler in that trade too, but could possibly use quantity over quality if they included players like Diaz, Alvarez, Oaks, Barlow, May or Santana in the deal. There are a lot of moving parts to this, including whether the Marlins take back any salary for 2018 (like Kaz and McCarthy – trading them frees up salary space next year, if Gonzo doesn’t come off the books).
We know that the Dodgers have several players knocking on the door, like Alex Verdugo, Walker Buehler, Kyle Farmer, Edwin Rios and several others. Chris Taylor wasn’t even on the radar this time last year. So, should they get a Giancarlo Stanton or should they just “Trust The Process” of promotion from within? Has Yasiel Puig really evolved and matured, and more importantly, can he evolve into more next year? I have no clue – he is talented beyond belief… and he is a knucklehead!
Yasmani Grandal will be a fre agent after 2018 and has considerable value. Austin Barnes and Kyle Farmer can hold down the Catching Position until Kiebert “Kay Bear” Ruiz arrives in 2019. Grandal could bring back some good prospects or trade for some particular need. There are lots of options and lots to be decided!
Changes in Managing, Coaching & Front Office
The Dodgers are going to lose some people in managing, coaching and the front office – that’s a given. It could be quite a few: Kapler, Anthropoulos, Byrnes, Zaidi, Geren, Lombard, Castro, Carr and Gasparino could be recruited to higher positions with other teams. It’s inevitable that it will happen! Several of their minor league managers and coaches will be recruited, including Pedro Mega, Shawn Wooten, Bill Haselman, Matt Herges, Jay Gibbons, Drew Saylor and Kip Wills. Some will not be there next season. When you are successful, other teams want what you have. It’s just the way it goes.
Nothing is as constant as change, and things will change – I guarantee it… and it will probably be something we have never thought about! In the meantime, enjoy the Wild Card Game. I don’t care who the Dodgers play – Colorado or Arizona. The Dodgers have a losing record against both teams this year. Don’t forget that they were 1-10 or 1-11 against the Mets during the regular season in 1988… and that turned out reasonably good! Vin Scully with the call: