What’s Next For The Dodgers?

The bulk of the moves made by the Dodgers this offseason have focused on shoring up the team's rotation, unsurprising after their starters threw the sixth fewest innings in the National League this season. Both Ted Lilly and Hiroki Kuroda were re-signed, and the rebuild was capped off today with the Jon Garland signing. Add in the incumbent Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley, and all of a sudden Ned Colletti's team boasts a deep starting staff.

Once the Garland deal was announced, Colletti told reporters that the rest of his offseason goals involve adding a bat, adding a reliever, and sorting out the team's catching situation (team Twitter link). A few weeks ago we learned that the Dodgers were likely to increase payroll next season despite the uncertainty surrounding the McCourts' divorce, and they could free up even more cash by non-tendering Russell Martin, George Sherrill, and/or Ryan Theriot. The $5.19MM they paid to former players Nomar Garciaparra, Orlando Hudson, and Jason Schmidt in 2010 disappears as well.

Colletti reportedly made a serious push for Aubrey Huff, but he's not expected to bid on Adam Dunn even though he's arguably the most dominant offensive force on the market. Colletti is likely do his shopping in the next tier of free agents, and has interest in bringing both Rod Barajas and Scott Podsednik back. Johnny Damon, Rick Ankiel, or Austin Kearns could slot into left field at a reasonable price, but that is nothing more than speculation on my part.

The late game bullpen will return next season in the form of Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo, and the upstart Kenley Jansen, but Colletti will presumably look for an upgrade over Ronald Belisario (5.04 ERA) and Ramon Troncoso (4.33) for the middle innings. So far they've added a few guys on minor league contracts (most notably Dana Eveland and Oscar Villarreal), but the safe bet has them adding someone more established this winter.

Matt Klaassen of FanGraphs explained that despite his performance drop-off, Martin is still a fine option behind the plate if healthy. A.J. Ellis and Hector Gimenez would be the only backstops on the 40-man roster if he's non-tendered, and those two have just 143 plate appearances worth of big league experience combined. Barajas performed well for the Dodgers late last season, but Miguel Olivo and Yorvit Torrealba are available on the free agent market as well.

Colletti's done a great job of getting the most difficult part of his offseason out of the way early by locking up the three starting pitchers, but there's still plenty of work to be done. Luckily for him, the winter is still young.

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