Dodgers still have some work to do after the Winter Meetings

J.T. Realmuto (Via)

The Winter Meetings have come and gone with the Dodgers making just one move, losing two players to the Rule 5 Draft and them being involved in a number of rumors.

One player the Dodgers had been linked to pretty heavily was Corey Kluber. And while I’m sure they’d love to add him, that seems less and less likely as the days pass. Cleveland has been able to shed payroll by trading Edwin Encarnacion to the Mariners in a 3-way trade on Thursday and Yonder Alonso to the White Sox on Saturday. They were able to save enough money that they might not have to trade Kluber or Trevor Bauer. I mean, they really shouldn’t have had to, but you know how billionaire owners love their money.

So if Kluber is off the table — and it seems like he might be — what’s next for the Dodgers? They don’t necessarily need to add a starting pitcher as they’re about 8-9 deep as it is, but if you have a chance to add a former Cy Young starting pitcher, it’s hard to pass that up. They might still try to figure out a way to bring in Yusei Kikuchi, who is on his way to Los Angeles to begin free-agent negotiations with interested teams.

There are some internet rumors about Bryce Harper and the Dodgers, but I’m not going to get too excited just yet. Also, you already know where I stand on the Dodgers signing him (DO IT). Let’s set that aside for the moment.

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The Dodgers still don’t have either a starting catcher or a guy to pair with Austin BarnesFrancisco Cervelli is still available, and the Dodgers have had trade discussions with the Pirates about him. Wilson Ramos, whom the Dodgers talked to about a 1-year deal, just signed a 2-year, $19 million deal with the Mets. It was a great signing for them, even if Ramos has some injury history and isn’t a terribly good defender behind the plate. The Mets had been rumored to be interested in J.T. Realmuto — even the leading candidate at one point — but with the Ramos signing, they’re out. So, maybe the Dodgers get back into that sweepstakes, provided the asking price comes down. Jon Paul Morosi had the latest on that front on Sunday.

Sources say the teams were in contact during the Winter Meetings, but that the Dodgers were balking at the inclusion of at least one key player on whom the Marlins were insisting. The Ramos signing isn’t an encouraging development for the Marlins, who have lost the leverage of a large-market, intensely interested suitor. The Dodgers have less incentive to increase their most recent trade offer for Realmuto, especially when free-agent alternatives are available in Yasmani Grandal and Martin Maldonado. The Dodgers remain open to bringing back Grandal on a one-year contract, one source said Sunday evening, after he rejected a one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer last month. Based on the fact that Ramos’ average annual value was roughly half of that amount, it’s unclear if the Dodgers still value one season of Grandal at $17.9 million.

Morosi also speculated that the Dodgers would be willing to include either Keibert Ruiz or Will Smith and Dustin May in a package for Realmuto. So far, that hasn’t been enough to entice the Marlins.

While the brass and Dave Roberts seem to be comfortable with a second base trio of Enrique Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Max Muncy, there is still a chance to land a more permanent option at the position. They’ve been linked to DJ LeMahieu, but nothing has come of it yet.

They could look to add a reliever, even after signing Joe Kelly, but that doesn’t seem like as big a priority now. And that’s fine.

What really needs to happen is to clear up the outfield logjam. They’ve been trying to trade Matt Kemp and/or Yasiel Puig, but they’re still Dodgers. Alex Verdugo was rumored to have caught Cleveland’s eye, but I doubt the Dodgers trade him without getting a stud starting pitcher in return. Joc Pederson is also available but hasn’t drawn as much interest on the trade market.

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There’s still plenty of winter left. There are still plenty of quality players available. This could be a busy week around baseball, but if things don’t get done this week, there probably won’t be much action until after the new year. We’ll see what happens.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.