It’s been more than a month since the Dodgers suffered their stunning exit from the postseason.
The reasons for the latest disappointment were dissected and analyzed. The manager was criticized. Players were blamed. The front office was questioned. But there are no obvious roster needs for a team that compiled 106 wins, setting a record for one of the sport’s marquee franchises. The holes aren’t glaring. An overhaul isn’t necessary after seven consecutive trips to the postseason.
That does not mean change isn’t coming this offseason, which shifts into a higher gear this week when the general managers meetings take place in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Dodgers could use, above all, another front-line starting pitcher to place alongside emerging ace Walker Buehler and another right-handed power hitter. The free-agent market presents options.
Starting pitchers Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg headline this free-agent class after fueling their clubs through the postseason. The expectation is that Strasburg will re-sign with the Washington Nationals, but Cole, an Orange County native and UCLA product, does not hold the same allegiance to the Houston Astros. The 29-year-old right-hander is up for grabs, and the competition will be stiff from coast to coast. The Angels and New York Yankees are among the clubs expected to pursue him.
Third basemen Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson, both elite right-handed hitters, headline the crop of position players in free agency. Rendon, 29, can sign a long-term deal if he wishes but has hinted at retiring earlier than typical. The Dodgers would pounce on the opportunity to sign him to a shorter deal — think four or five years — if available. Donaldson, meanwhile, turns 34 next month and can be had for a shorter deal after he clubbed 37 home runs with a .900 on-base-plus-slugging percentage on a one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves.