With the exception of a surprising, five-player trade with the Atlanta Braves that saw the return of Matt Kemp and departures of Charlie Culberson, Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy, it’s been a relatively quiet offseason of transactions for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The club was prominently linked to Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton earlier this winter, though both players ultimately landed elsewhere. The Dodgers also saw reliable setup man Brandon Morrow sign a two-year deal with the Chicago Cubs, while its six other free agents remain on the market.
On the acquisition side, the Dodgers have inked just one Major Leaguer in former Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays swingman Tom Koehler to a one-year deal.
During an interview on The Petros and Money Show on AM 570 L.A. Sports, Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi discussed the club’s lack of offseason activity, citing the organization’s young talent as reason to stand pat:
“One of the things that we’ve tried to keep in mind is, we don’t want to go out there and kind of make the big splash and bring in some veteran players that might block some of our younger guys who we want to create opportunities for.
“Even if you look at our left field picture going into 2018, there’s been a lot of conversation about whether we’ll add a bat there. I wouldn’t necessarily rule it out, but if you talk about Chris Taylor in center field and Yasiel Puig in right field, suddenly you’ve only got one spot for a Joc Pederson, an Andrew Toles, or even Alex Verdugo who is going to be big-league ready next year.”
Zaidi credited breakout seasons from unforeseen players during the 2017 season and prefers to give upcoming prospects opportunities to stick on the Major League roster, rather than add veterans that could slow their development:
“When you look back at 2017 and you really think about what were the success stories and the things that got this team to the next level, it was guys like Chris Taylor and Austin Barnes, and guys who got an opportunity because they weren’t blocked by some veteran player. As we go through this offseason, we’re kind of keeping that in mind.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently expressed a similar sentiment, marveling at the impact the team’s rookies and young players have made, while still valuing veterans. Considering Zaidi’s latest remarks, his previous comments of the Dodgers focusing on adding elite talent continues to ring true.