Without question, I feel disappointed and hollow about the Los Angeles Dodgers’ winter efforts. Truly, it comes down to I feel that the Dodgers are a player or two away from greatness. You hear that said a lot of times in sports – but I can’t ever remember a time that it applies to an organization and it’s core more than it does the 2020 Dodgers – in my mind.
Thankfully, MLB.com’s Mike Petriello writes about why the Dodgers weren’t more active in the off-season. Furthermore, it’s an important read for people like me; and I’m sure I’m not alone. Sometimes an opposing viewpoint can help make sense of things if you can be asked to look at it differently.
The Dodgers haven't really done anything this winter, and fans are understandably frustrated.
What's the plan, and how much does the timing of it matter?
I tried to figure it out–> https://t.co/7HD8yINC6m
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) January 17, 2020
Notably, Petriello points out something said by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. Indeed, quotes like this one along with Roberts’ saying he was leading the recruiting efforts of elite players like Anthony Rendon could have been misleading.
“I think this is probably the most turnover we’ll have from one season to the next.”
Now, why would Roberts say such a thing and have one of the team cornerstones in Justin Turner learning a new position if things were going to stay status-quo? Petriello takes his shot at explaining the ‘why’ behind it all.
Mike Petriello on Why Los Angeles Did Little in 2020 Off-Season
First, Petriello displays that the Dodgers are far and wide projected for the most wins in their division again. He goes on to point out the core players the Dodgers have and the laurels of the 106-win season in 2019.
“If you’ve won seven straight divisions and look incredibly well-positioned to take an eighth, then you have the luxury of not worrying about adding reinforcements for the summer. You can make all of your big moves with an eye on October.”
Next, Petriello again leans on the Dodgers being a lock to win the NL West. Which – to me – is a consolation prize at this point. It is being the best cook in the city at a chain of Olive Garden restaurants.
“A disappointingly timid winter” and “damaging their chances to win the division” aren’t exactly the same thing; great as Cole and the other free agent stars may be, they wouldn’t do a whole lot to increase L.A.’s odds of winning the NL West. There’s only so much room to improve.
Therefore, Petriello defends the Dodgers’ nonchalant ways this past off-season by resting on the fact that their division is below them in talent. I encourage everyone to click through and read his article because there is a lot to it. Also, he goes on in this portion of the piece to explain away why the Dodgers had a credible reason to come up short on every big-time candidate.
Finally, he does admit that being a lock to win the division and winning the World Series are not the same thing. This is what has me back to my initial feeling of scratching my head about the lack of creativity this past off-season.
Petriello on When the Right Time is for Los Angeles to Make a Move
Next, Petriello asks us to think back to Stan Kasten’s infamous quote about ‘the team the Dodgers have now won’t be the team they have when the postseason begins’. Petriello believes that it’s more critical for the Braves and White Sox of the world to enter the season strong than it is for the Dodgers.
“If the goal is to improve for October, and you’re pretty sure you’re getting to October no matter what you do, then it might not matter terribly much if you’ve made your improvements on Nov. 15 or Jan. 15 or July 15.”
However, my counter to that and Kasten’s comment are ‘we have heard that before’. Surely sounding spoiled in my comment, it’s beginning to feel like deja vu in terms of the Dodgers sniffing around a big name, then coming up short for one reason or another.
In conclusion, Petriello looks at some past World Series winners and the moves they made. Then, he suggests players like Ian Kennedy and Ken Giles to bolster the bullpen. While I would welcome Giles or another fireman reliever in a heartbeat, it still doesn’t feel like the team would be doing all they could do.
To sum it up, the Dodgers have the market, roster, farm system, and brain trust in the front office to put the league on notice and behave like a large-stack poker player. Until they do that – or win a World Series in the manner they’re doing business now – the buzz Petriello is trying to refute may not go away.