When the Los Angeles Dodgers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series, there was a message from the front office of wanting to keep the same core roster intact for another run at a championship.
While changes were made, the Dodgers largely carried through with that envision and returned to the Fall Classic. However, they were defeated by the Boston Red Sox in five games, leading to a winter filled with turnover.
It still did not lend to the desired end result as the Dodgers suffered a shocking elimination in the National League Division Series by eventual champion Washington Nationals. Though disappointed, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman additionally was optimistic with the team’s flexibility to improve heading into the offseason.
According to Jim Bowden of The Athletic, the Dodgers again are focused on adding a right-handed batter to their lineup, along with bolstering the pitching staff:
The Dodgers open the offseason with a desire to add a right-handed bat, a starting pitcher that could slot in as a No. 3 or better, and bullpen help.
With a roster due to include Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Joc Pederson and Corey Seager, the Dodgers reportedly spent much of last winter seeking a position player that hits from the right side of the plate.
L.A. was linked to the likes of Nick Castellanos, Jose Martinez and J.T. Realmuto, and ultimately signed A.J. Pollock.
Early speculation this offseason has tied the Dodgers to Mookie Betts, Anthony Rendon and switch-hitter Francisco Lindor. More recently, they were said to have interest in signing Josh Donaldson to a short-term contract.
On the starting pitching side, the Dodgers are believed to be among the top teams that will pursue signing Gerrit Cole. That could apply to Stephen Strasburg, though some view him as likely to re-sign with the Nationals.
If the Dodgers are to address their bullpen, it may be more likely to come in the form of trade rather than free agency. Re-signing Kenley Jansen and inking Joe Kelly have thus far yielded mixed results, and Friedman readily admits the relief pitching is difficult to forecast.
That being said, Friedman indicated the Dodgers would not necessarily be boxed in. “I think we have depth in areas we can make trades, we have financial flexibility,” he said last month. “As we sit here today as a jumping off point for the offseason, it’s a really good position to be in.
“We’re not closing the door on anything right now, and I think we have to go into it very open-minded and open to changing up the complexion a little bit. It doesn’t necessarily mean we will, but I feel like we have to really look at that and figure out what we think is best to put us in the best position for 2020 and beyond.”
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