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Dodgers Hot Stove: 5 Moves L.A. Needs to Make This Offseason

For a team that just won 111 games, the Dodgers head into the offseason with more question marks than you might expect, and very few (if any) of those questions were raised by the stunning collapse in the NLDS. Even if L.A. had steamrolled to the World Series title like we expected, most of these questions still would have existed.

In the end, the 2023 roster might end up looking quite a bit different than the 2022 version. Here are five moves the Dodgers need to make this offseason to set up 2023 to be even better than 2022:

1) Find a Shortstop

Trea Turner is hitting free agency, and a few factors might be working against him coming back to Los Angeles. He might want to play closer to home on the east coast. Other teams might outbid the Dodgers. And, for that matter, L.A. might have soured a bit on him after his struggles over the final month or so of the season.

Trea could be back as L.A.’s shortstop, but if he’s not, they need a replacement. They could stay internal, either shifting Gavin Lux back to his natural position or giving 24-year-old prospect Jacob Amaya a shot at the job.

Or they could go external, with Dansby Swanson, Xander Bogaerts, and Carlos Correa among the options in free agency. Swanson, like Turner, had a good season overall but struggled late, posting just a .693 OPS after early July, but he’s a solid hitter and an outstanding defender. Bogaerts has been a consistently excellent hitter the last five years, and he had his best defensive season in 2022, but he’s also the oldest of the bunch. And then there’s Correa, who might be the best player of the bunch, but he’s also the most hated man in Los Angeles due to his unrepentant cheating and whatnot.

2) Add an Ace Starting Pitcher

The Dodgers have a solid starting rotation even if Clayton Kershaw doesn’t come back, with Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin, and Dustin May sure things in the rotation. If Kershaw comes back, that’s four good starters, and Tyler Anderson could return to make it five, although he’s likely to draw a lot of interest on the open market.

Los Angeles also has a few prospects who might be ready for the big leagues at some point in 2023, if not at the beginning of the season. Ryan Pepiot spent some time in the rotation in 2022 with mixed results. Bobby Miller is their top pitching prospect and finished the season in Triple-A. And Gavin Stone rose through the minors like a rocket and looks like he might be the real deal.

But L.A. might want to add an ace, and there are some options on the free-agent market. Carlos Rodon can opt out of his contract with the Giants, as can Jacob deGrom with the Mets and Justin Verlander with the Astros. If we’re talking aces, those are the three real options in free agency.

Starting pitching wasn’t L.A.’s problem in the NLDS, but adding an ace to be 1a and 1b with Urias would make the team that much more formidable.

3) Figure Out the Outfield

We know Mookie Betts is going to start, probably in right field. Beyond that, who knows? Will Cody Bellinger even be on the team? Will Chris Taylor ever remember how to hit? Did Trayce Thompson do enough for them to bring him back?

Aaron Judge, of course, is the big-name outfielder on the free-agent market. Judge, like Betts, is a right-fielder, but Mookie has the athleticism to move over the center if the Dodgers want Judge in right. Or Judge could play left field.

Brandon Nimmo will also be a free agent and could be a center-field replacement for Bellinger. An outfield of Judge, Nimmo, and Betts would be pretty nice.

4) Make a Third Base Plan

Justin Turner and Max Muncy split time at third base this year, and they could do that again next year, with Muncy getting more and more time and JT spending more time at DH or on the bench. JT bounced back to have a solid offensive season, but it was still the worst season he’s had since he came to L.A., and a shin injury late in the year limited his playing time and his effectiveness. The Dodgers need to decide if they’re exercising JT’s $16 million team option.

Intriguingly, Nolan Arenado could opt out of his contract with the Cardinals, and the Lake Forest native might want to follow Freddie Freeman’s lead and come home to the Dodgers. Arenado would be opting out of $144 million in future earnings, so the Dodgers would have to make it worth it for him, but he remains an elite third baseman at age 31 and is coming off his best season.

5) Do the Little Things

Every good team needs a good bench. Hanser Alberto was a fun player for a year, but he’s probably not any sort of answer in 2023. Friedman & Co. will undoubtedly identify a bench player or two who make us think, “Wait, who?” and then perform well for the team. Joc Pederson will be a free agent and could be a decent option now that he’s accepted his role as a platoon player.

On the bullpen side of things, Craig Kimbrel will be gone. Chris Martin and Tommy Kahnle will also be free agents, but the Dodgers might want to bring them back. Friedman will likely try to identify one or two relievers they think they can work their magic on.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.


  1. An ace starter is top priority (or should be) and that can’t be a guy coming back from his 7th tommy john surgery. Go out and get a real solid, healthy ace. Bellinger shouldn’t even be considered. HE CAN’T HIT! Outman should be evaluated this winter with the idea of bringing him up to fill one of those outfield positions. Taylor looked like Bellinger too much of the time, with big looper swing that makes solid contact with air. Far too many Ks. If they can’t sign Turner as SS, then move Lux the job for him to keep or lose. I would hope they take a good hard look at their own farm system. Frankly, during the Padres series collapse, I think some of the kids – not suffering from a lingering season long hitting drought could have done better and sure as heck couldn’t have done worse than the hopeless, hapless lineups we sent out there. They were ‘DEM BUMS’ albeit multi-millionaires “Dey was still BUMS!”

  2. I think the Dodgers need to figure out how to get Cartaya, Vargas and Outman on the roster and give them time and opportunities to become major league players. At least 2 of them. That would make the roster cheaper. And they have a higher ceiling than some cheap veterans might have. It would be great to have some cheap player with high production (like Bellinger and Seager in their rookie season).

    For the starting pitcher, for me, it’s Anderson, unless deGrom is available.

    On the bullpen, Almonte, Graterol, Kahnle, Martin, Phillips, Treinen, Vesia, Hudson and González is fine, with Bickford, Bruihl, Ferguson and Nelson around. And the front office will find 1 or 2 good players, so I think it’s fine.

  3. Chris Martin is a third year arbitration eligible player for 2023. So long as he’s not non-tendered he will be on the team for 2023.

  4. We have a problem in LA and its Robert..i can talk about Robert decicion that change the direccion of every series that he lost..needs to stop making predition and changing picher and batter base on its an unpredicted don’t know what its going to happen. Robert need to go, the GM need to stop thinking that Robert its the reason of success of the dodgers ..we have a good team every year but not a good manager

    1. i doubt that english is your first language as you have multiple spelling and tense mistakes. Manager Roberts is respected throughout the league and blue is lucky to have him. while the dodgers have some problems, they won 111 games.
      yes it is an unpredictable game,as are,all sports, and some fine players didn’t produce in the last games of the season.
      bellinger could return and play well so could Taylor.let’s look forward to antger fun season of blue in LA.

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