Heading into the 2014 season, the Dodgers have plenty of question marks to keep themselves busy.
Among the biggest decisions, however, are the list of 12 players the Dodgers need to make a decision about whether as free agents or players who have club options for next season.
With 12 players to comb through, we’ve split this post into four sections of three players each, beginning with the position players.
Among the six players from the field are two starters from last season, so without further ado, here’s a breakdown of which guys are on the list today:
Once thought to be a tough decision, the Dodgers’ decision to sign Alexander Guerrero makes this seem like a simple decision. There’s no doubt the Dodgers will pay Ellis $1 million to buy him out of the club option he has for this season.
That said, if the Dodgers could bring Ellis back for less than $5.75 million as a bench player, I think it could be a great move for LA.
The obvious reason is the question marks surrounding Guerrero and whether he’ll be major-league-ready to start next season. If not, Ellis has proven he’s a capable starter for Los Angeles.
Even if Guerrero is ready, however, Ellis would provide an excellent backup at a few of the infield positions and could be used as a defensive replacement late in games.
Prediction: Re-signed as a backup
With 319 at bats this season for the Dodgers as the primary backup at second base and a regular in the injury-laden outfield, Schumaker hit .263 this season.
A career .285 hitter, Schumaker was a solid reserve for the Dodgers but didn’t seem to do enough to justify being brought back next season. With guys like Scott Van Slyke and Joc Pederson in the wings, the Dodgers aren’t in need of another outfielder.
In the infield, I think the Dodgers would prefer to retain a guy like Mark Ellis or even Nick Punto rather than Schumaker as a utility backup. If Ellis isn’t kept, however, I think there’s an outside chance that Schumaker is retained.
One guy who could affect Schumaker is Dee Gordon. If the Dodgers think Gordon is finally ready for a season in the big leagues, he could take one of the backup infield positions away.
Prediction: Not re-signed
Hands-down the biggest surprise of the 2013 season, Juan Uribe did more than enough to justify being brought back next season — punctuated by his NLDS home run.
Uribe hit .278 this season with 12 home runs, but it was arguably his glove that was more valuable to Los Angeles. While Uribe won’t win the popularity contest that is the Gold Glove award, he surely is deserving of consideration given the consistency he brought to the position this season.
With no prospects in the organization chomping at the bit to play third base next season, bringing Uribe back on a one-year deal seems like a no-brainer for Los Angeles. His role as a mentor to Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig makes him invaluable as a clubhouse guy and should earn him the opportunity to return next season should he want that.
Prediction: Re-signed as the starting third baseman next season
In case you missed it, here’s the Adrian Gonzalez “Mickey Mouse” antics from the NLCS