After agreeing to a three-year contract extension with Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu accepting the qualifying offer, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a starting rotation that should be among the best in baseball in 2019.
Beyond that, some questions remain with various aspects of the roster. The outfield remains a bit of a crowded picture, while the bullpen has voids that must be addressed, and depth at catcher is essentially nonexistent.
Whereas Ryu accepted the one-year, $17.9 million contract to remain with the Dodgers, Yasmani Grandal predictably declined the club’s qualifying offer. He is eligible to re-sign with the Dodgers under different terms, but that wouldn’t appear to be a likely scenario.
According to Jon Heyman of Fancred, as free agency and the MLB Hot Stove season begins to heat up, the Dodgers are focused on their bullpen and catcher position:
dodgers top priorities appear to be bullpen (back-end help for Jansen would be preferable) and catcher (though grandal may not be so likely since they may prefer short term guy with great catching prospects ruiz & smith on horizon)
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 12, 2018
Of the seven players who became a free agent the morning after the World Series concluded, three — John Axford, Daniel Hudson and Ryan Madson — are from the bullpen. The unit finished with a 3.72 ERA and .689 opponents’ on-base plus slugging percentage, both of which ranked eighth overall.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and former general manager acknowledged the bullpen was an area that could be addressed this winter, but they didn’t necessarily believe doing so needed to be by spending lavishly.