2016 Winter Meetings: JT reunion, Kenley pursuit, Kershaw’s back, Puig’s plan

The Winter Meetings got off to a quality start for the Dodgers, as they re-signed Rich Hill to a three-year deal worth $48 million. However, it was clear that the team definitely wasn’t going to stop there, as there were plenty of other rumors being thrown around.

—–

Justin Turner, who I feel the Dodgers need back the most for tangible and intangible reasons, appears to be headed for a reunion with the team at some point.

Probably confirmation bias because I want it to happen, but it sure feels like this will get done at some point. As far as why I want it to happen so badly, I previously wrote about my thinking.

That said, the team is smartly covering their bases just in case, and have been tracking Yangervis Solarte.

Solarte has three years of team control left and put up a .286/.341/.467/.808 slash last year with the Padres. Of particular note is his versatility, as he’s average defensively at third, second, and first.

—–

As far as the other priority goes, the Dodgers are talking with Kenley Jansen.

Things don’t sound nearly as hopeful with Kenley as they do with JT, and with the closer market likely to get ridiculous, I have to say it seems more and more likely that he won’t be back.

—–

Oh yeah, remember that Brian Dozier stuff from yesterday? Well, the Dodgers are talking about it, but it seems to be more speculation than something substantial.

Skepticism of Bob Nightengale probably always the right move.

—–

Andrew McCutchen is also drawing interest from the Dodgers.

Cutch obviously had a down year in 2016, slashing a career low .256/.336/.430/.766 and generally looking like a player who was not a center fielder anymore. However, over the last two months of the season he looked more like his normal self, putting up a .284/.381/.471/.852 line.

Not exactly sure of the fit with the Dodgers, but it makes sense to be interested because this kind of franchise talent upside rarely becomes available and the team can always find room for him.

—–

One interesting idea is targeting Wade Davis and Lorenzo Cain.

Both Davis and Cain have one year remaining before free agency, so the Royals might be tempted to move them.

Cain is a plus-plus center fielder and has a .300/.347/.436/.784 line over the past three seasons. Like Cutch, it’s not entirely sure that he would be a necessary piece to the puzzle, but when a talent like him becomes available, it’s best to inquire. Davis is likely a fallback option in case Kenley doesn’t re-sign. He has posted elite-level ERA (1.00/0.94/1.87) and FIP (1.19/2.29/2.29) over the last three years. That’s not to say there aren’t red flags, however, as his strikeout rate has plummeted from 39.1% to 31.1% to 26.7% over the years, and that comes paired with losing a full mph off his fastball in 2016 during a year in which Davis hit the DL with a flexor strain in his right forearm. If the Dodgers are going to pay the price for him, they need to be sure they aren’t getting damaged goods.

Speaking of, the Dodgers are also showing interest in Greg Holland.

Holland missed all of 2016 after having Tommy John surgery at the end of 2015, but he was a dominant reliever from 2011-14 (1.86 ERA/1.92 FIP) before struggling in 2015 to 3.83 ERA and 3.27 FIP, clearly not looking like himself. It’s unfair to expect him to bounceback to his old form given that he’s still sitting in the high-80s at this point, but he could be worth taking a flier on in case he gets his groove back as the season wears on.

—–

In Dodgers news that isn’t trade related, Clayton Kershaw says his back is basically fine.

I would love to believe him, but I’m skeptical given the nature of the injury. We shall see.

Speaking of skepticism, Yasiel Puig‘s quest towards transforming himself back to his old self continues for the third-straight off-season.

With a trade of Puig still not completely ruled out this winter, the right-handed-hitting native of Cuba is working out in Miami and is on a new nutritional program to lose weight, according to manager Dave Roberts, who spoke at the Winter Meetings on Monday.

“He’s excited to come into Spring Training healthy; his weight’s going to be where he needs it to be and where the training staff feels it’s best for him,” said Roberts, who added that Puig will begin hitting off a tee “in the near future” and will travel to Los Angeles at the beginning of January to work with Dodgers strength and conditioning coach Brandon McDaniel. “He’s in good spirits.”

We have, of course, heard this all before, most prominently before the 2016 season. If the Dodgers don’t trade Puig, then we just have to hope again that the training pays off and the attitude adjustment stays, all so that maybe he can regain just some of the star shine that he showcased previously.

Here’s hoping.

About Chad Moriyama

Chad Moriyama
I get paid millions by the Dodgers. MILLIONS!