Putting Together a Dodgers Off-Season Checklist

The Dodgers head into the 2020 off-season after being eliminated by the eventual World Series winner for the fourth straight season—at least you can say the championship runs through Los Angeles…

As it’s currently constructed, the Dodgers roster would likely compete for a playoff spot, which is a good start for any team heading into the off-season. The problem is the Dodgers haven’t won a World Series in 31 years.

This is the time for the Dodgers to make a splash, whether it’s Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Mookie Betts or another player of that caliber. They have the resources and the need to get a deal done, no more excuses.

However, even after acquiring a star, they will still have more work to do.

#1: Sign a front of the rotation starting pitcher

Right now, the Dodgers have seven starting pitchers on their roster: Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Ross Stripling, Dustin May, Julio Urias and Tony Gonsolin. While there is a lot of talent and potential there, it’s also filled with questions and inexperience.

Adding a pitcher like Cole or Stephen Strasburg would help answer those problems and give them another true ace to pair with Walker Buehler. Another pitcher who makes a lot of sense is Zack Wheeler. Signing Wheeler would be betting on a breakout, so it could be risky, but he has the talent to do it and could end up as a steal this off-season.

Right now, the Dodgers rotation is good, but they need at least one more starting pitcher with Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill heading into the free-agent pool.

#2: Try to acquire a star for the lineup

Every regular season, the Dodgers have one of the best offenses in baseball. Every October, the Dodgers forget how to hit the ball at some point in the postseason and it ends their run.

While the Dodgers don’t need to add a star bat, it’s something they should do with the options who are available. The best two options are Betts or Rendon, but they could also swing a deal with Cleveland for Francisco Lindor.

I personally believe they should offer Rendon all the money, and then some more after that. But I would also be happy with Betts, who might even be a better fit position wise. I prefer Rendon because it wouldn’t cost prospects to get him and I like his bat more for the long term.

A Seager—plus something like Joc and Stripling—deal for Lindor makes sense, but Seager has been a more productive hitter throughout his career, so it likely wouldn’t have the same impact as Rendon or Betts would.

If they can’t add a top-tier bat, they don’t really have a need for a starting position player.

#3: Add upside flyers for the bullpen

Constructing a bullpen is arguably the most frustrating thing a general manager has to do in any sport. Simply put, relievers are volatile, so it’s rare to build a strong pen by paying relievers for past production. Paying large money for big-name relievers backfires more than it works.

The best way to do it is by getting all the options you can find and seeing what sticks.

You could bring in a guy who has talent but was injured, like Brandon Morrow. Maybe you move a struggling starter to the pen, such as Shelby Miller, or maybe you sign a guy with great stuff who just couldn’t produce and hope he turns it around, like Jake Diekman.

Or better yet, you sign them all and some more on cheap deals.

If they want to pay someone based on production, Chris Martin should be their target because he likely won’t receive a long-term, high money deal.

#4: Fill out the roster

At this point, the Dodgers should have a new starting pitcher, a lineup upgrade and strong bullpen competition. All that’s left is to put the finishing touches and add some depth or role players. This will depend on what else they do in the off-season.

If they trade Stripling or another starting pitcher, adding a veteran option such as Rich Hill would be wise. Adding a veteran catcher to compete with Austin Barnes for the backup job would be a good decision.

They should also look to bring in any players with upside who could help them. Scooter Gennett could turn into a nice bench piece coming off a down season. Another move they could make is to bring in a guy like Adam Jones to replace David Freese as the team dad and bring “veteran presents” to the clubhouse.

This is a vague part of the checklist because it’s dependent on their other moves, but it plays an important part of the team-building process.

The ideal off-season

The Dodgers should be willing to go over the luxury tax this year. It remains to be seen if they will, but if they are willing to handle it for a year, they can make some major upgrades to their already good team.

  1. Sign Wheeler (Cole or Strasburg likely takes them out of the Rendon and Betts sweepstakes)
  2. Acquire one of Anthony Rendon or Mookie Betts
  3. Trade for Lindor (send Seager, Pederson, Stripling)
  4. Sign upside relievers (such as Morrow, Diekman, Drew Pomeranz, Darren O’Day, Tony Barnette, Tyler Thornburg)
  5. Re-sign Rich Hill

What’s your ideal off-season for the Dodgers? Let us know in the comments below!

Blake Williams

I graduated with an Associate's Degree in Journalism from Los Angeles Pierce College and now I'm working towards my Bachelor's at Cal State University, Northridge. I'm currently the managing editor for the Roundup News and a writer for Dodgers Nation. Around the age of 12, I fell in love with baseball and in high school, I realized my best path to working in baseball was as a writer, so that's the path I followed. I also like to bring an analytics viewpoint to my work and I'm always willing to help someone understand them since so many people have done the same for me. Thanks for reading!


  1. Any mention of signing Rich Hill is coming from an emotional point of view. He’s not a viable or valuable starting pitcher anymore. If he can be a 3 batter reliever or stay healthy to be a steady reliever fine but that is the limit for him other than a possible start to give a real starting pitcher an extra rest during the dog days of summer.

  2. Stripling Seager Pederson for Lindor. Boy that would be too good to be true. Striplings velo isn’t all that good, Seager’s defense is real weak and Joc hits Home Runs and that’s it. That would be awesome, but why would the Indians do that?

    1. Seager is coming off a year of being injured and he still had a productive year and everyone wants to trade him. Any player that gets hip surgery and gets tommy john is not gonna be as good as he was before right off the bat. The second half of the season he even showed he was getting back to his old form yall need to chill out. Joc has been a great piece for the dodgers are you telling me it would be better to have pollock out there instead of him. Joc actually got hits this postseason meanwhile pollock had an ofer u seriously have to rethink being a dodgers fan.

      1. when it comes to October baseball, Seager among several others are not productive. By no means is he alone in that either. Bellinger is another that doesn’t show up in October when it matters the most.

        1. You should check out Rendon’s first two years in the playoffs. Why do you think Washington never won a playoff series until this year. Giving up on Seager and Bellinger at their age is about the most foolish thing the team could do.

          1. Bum4ever, Thank you. Lots of asinine comments here by the usual suspects. These people have no idea how to assemble a winning team.

  3. Can’t even imagine just how good the team would be with Rendon at 3rd, Lindor at SS, Lux at 2b, Move Turner to 1st. Trade a combo of 2 of Muncy, Kiki, Taylor for a starter or reliever as they are unnecessary. Work with May Tony G Urias to find 1 or 2 starters there. Rework the Maeda contract so he can be a reliever. Yeah in my dreams. Mostly nothing will be done.

    1. Lot of good ideas here. Stripling and Joc have trade value and Dodgers don’t need them; only need Kiki or Taylor (not both); Urias, Gonsolin and May are legit starters; Maeda is an obvious upgrade to the bullpen already under Dodger control. Gotta get something worthwhile back for Seager and Muncy because Turner’s days are numbered. Hope they don’t give Rios away.

      1. At the present time, Dodgers do not have any legit impact RH bats. Turner is good but he cannot play every day and he is also getting up in age. Kiki and Taylor are utility players who get exposed when playing on an extended basis.

    2. Why does everyone want to get rid of Max Muncy all of a sudden. I’d trade Lux and all his potential (which really didn’t show all that much at the end of the year or playoffs) before I would let Muncy go anywhere. He’s only averaged over 30 home runs a season for his last two years and was the surprise of the 2018 season. He can get the line drive hit when its required as well as take pitchers deep with regularity. Lux knows one speed: SWING FOR THE FENCES! That works great in minor league ball but I’m not convinced he can make it at the major league level. In fact I’m not even sure he makes the team next spring. He’s got a lot to prove, that he is more than a free swinger… at least IMO.

      1. Good points here,Blue Vinman. Muncy can hit LHP reasonably well so that is a plus right there. Beaty and Pederson are platoon players who CANNOT hit LHP at all so IMHO 1 of those 2 should be moved.

  4. If I read one more “expert” say the Dodgers should resign Rich Hill because “he is good when he is healthy”, I think I will totally lose it. He has seldom been healthy and he is 40. One of the biggest blows to the Dodgers post season chances this year was that Hill got “healthy” enough to pitch less than two innings. That meant that Tony Gonsolin got left off the roster and the Dodgers needed over 6 innings of relief in game 4. Gonsolin went five in our only win over the Yankees. That should have gotten him a spot on the roster.

    1. Agreed here. Ryu would be OK if he returns and asks for a reasonable deal but with Boras as his agent he probably is already priced out of the Dodgers The PS roster decision you pointed out was one big reason why Dodgers fell short among other things.

  5. Nik Mnotana you are wrong in one respect Rendon at 3rd Segar at SS Muncy at 2nd Turner at 1st Muncy is the real thing he plays good defense which the dodgers were afraid of and he hits the stuffing out of the ball Seager still put good numbers up after 2 major operations he is a proven gamer and we don’t need Lindor and why are you so high on Lux at 2ed he still hasn’t proven himself and Muncy has Lux can back him up

  6. If the Dodgers can acquire Betts, I would do it. Perhaps go after Wheeler, I know the author said relying on Wheeler might be risky. Say good-bye to Hill and Ryu. Trade Peterson and Seager for relief help e.g. Will Smith? Rendon, Lindor, Strasburg,Cole = wishfull thinking. Heck Betts is wishful thinking, lol.

  7. Would LOVE Lindor, but, I feel those 3 players might be a bit much for him. Seager, Strip, and maybe Mitchell White or DJ Peters instead? I would like to see Joc and a lesser prospect traded to CIN for Amir Garrett. How about paying 3/4 of Pollock’s salary plus some prospects and send him to BOS for Mookie Betts? Then just pay Rendon whatever he wants and make JT the veteran presence in clubhouse. Then hire Utley as extra bench coach. One can dream right!?

  8. Lindor is Seager less the lost time due to injuries but a switch hitter and that can only help.

  9. Dodgers goals are clear
    1 do not go over luxury tax threshold
    2 cash their 8.2 billion tv check
    3 Field an entertaining (not necessarily competitive) enough team to draw 3 million fans$$$$$
    4 remain loyal to older players and overpay them
    5 pat one another on the rear whether they give up home runs or hit them
    Summary where is a gutty Kirk Gibson player when you need him
    Say what you will but dodgers follow these rules

    1. Competitive? They won 106 games and went to the World Series in each of the previous two years. If you think they’be been just competitive, then you’re as dumb as Grandpa Paul.

      1. Patient zero knowledge is back acting like a know it all throwing insults around if anyone isn’t satisfied with worthless regular season success and no October championship


  11. I have it on good authority that Mike Scoscia wants Dave Roberts job and contends that we will win several championships with him at the helm…

    1. Scioscia is terrible. He resigned from his Angels job so he wouldn’t be fired for screwing up Ohtani. Fans of the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Astros, Cardinals and Braves are suggesting their team’s manager should be fired. Back in May, Nationals fans wanted Dave Martinez gone. Conclusion: fans are idiots.

      1. Conclusion you are no smarter than any other fan you just act like a know nothing know it all who enjoys the yearly shortcomings and anyone who wants more is dumb apparently lol patient zero knowledge

  12. 1) “Veteran PRESENCE” not “PRESENTS” – 2) your checklist is a pipe dream. Spending on Rendon and either Cole or Strasbourg simply isn’t going to happen. Trading Seager is a real possibility – he needs a fresh start out of the LA spotlight. The roster needs an overhaul for sure – because as constructed this group can’t get it down. Kike or CT3 has to go; same with Joc or Verdugo. Too much duplication. They need to resign Martin or another veteran backup, Barnes cannot come back. Going to be a frustrating off season for Dodgers Fans. Again.

    1. I think everyone needs to be somewhat thankful for the team we have now. just think we could go back to the Rupert Murdoch days now that was crappie but they do need some starting pitching I think Wheeler is the best choice for them and I would like to see them get Rendon

  13. Wheeler is gone so thats done–It looks like Ryu will get a 4 yr 80 million dollar deal–somewhere else–Hill is out until August—Strasburg will stay with the Nationals–That Leaves Gerritt Cole—The Yankees or Angels might give him a 250 Million dollar deal–The Dodgers just wont do that–( I wouldnt either) Kershaw -Buehlor–Urias–May & Strippling–Look good to me—Maeda needs to stay in the bullpen and have his contract redone–I like both of the guys this writer asked for–Im partial to Morrow if healthy-And that Tienan kid–So the Bullpen could be–Jansen-Kelly-Maeda-Baez-Gonsolin-Morrow-Tienan and others-Hill Later also-I like that staff–Look Stanton-Harper Muchado-Pujoles are just not worth the money–We lost Grienke in a very wierd deal that came out of nowhere—I think this staff will be fine—————-The offense is different–I would get Rendon–period or Donaldson–RH Bat and defense–But still not real high on Donaldson–Rendon would be my #1 addition–then trade Pollock for money and prospects only–remember Turner may only play 125 games and Seager hasnt shown he will play more than 125 games just yet—So that leaves alotta room for Gavin Lux to also play 125 games–Muncy and Rendon would play 150 games and that would be my infield–Id also trade Taylor–no need and no room–Cody & Verdugo both play 150 games–Joc with D J Peters platoon in LF–So Smith as the Catcher and Martin as his back up–Barnes also gone–So Kike would get the final bench spot—That to me is a much better offense and a better -deffense–We are looking at maybe 300 HRs–im serious and below the salary cap—final note–I would love to keep Ryu at 3 yrs 60 million–I just dont think it will happen

  14. Hey Blake, I like your Ideal off-season list. Though I really like Betts, I’d prefer Rendon and for many reasons incl. he plays like a winner when it counts and he did it on a winning team. Your #5: signing Rich Hill…..hmmmm…I love his Human contribution and if he has a swan song season, we win on that BUT is there enough solid reasoning/evidence??? Otherwise IMHO, your spot on.

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