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One question was posed to me several times this week: Are the Dodgers done making moves?
No. Ask Andrew Friedman or Farhan Zaidi or any GM, and he’ll say his work is never finished. There’s always an intriguing minor-league free agent somewhere (see: Chin-Hui Tsao), an injury waiting to happen. Some person or event will inevitably shift a team’s needs. Baseball is a dynamic sport. The only constant is change.
OK, so the Dodgers have made a lot of moves recently and thrown around a lot of money in the process. But how much money, and where have all those moves left the 2015 club?
Here’s what got me thinking about this. Zaidi has already said that obtaining an eighth inning-type reliever is something the Dodgers will look at, either via trade or free agency. As I wrote yesterday, if the Dodgers have reason to be concerned with their roster, it might be what happens with the ninth inning if Kenley Jansen is hurt or sputtering.
Then I tried to figure out how adding a proven eighth-inning pitcher, someone who would cost more than your typical middle reliever, would impact the Dodgers’ current roster balance and payroll. That’s when this little thought exercise got messy. And complicated. Spreadsheets were needed. God help you if you’re a non-roster invitee trying to make this team out of spring training.
The Dodgers’ payroll is bursting at the seams because of pricey former players and potential 25-man roster guys. Still.
Prospect Julio Urias, 18, pitched one Cactus League inning for the Dodgers in 2014 and did not allow a runner to reach base. (Associated Press photo)
Eighteen-year-old pitching prospect Julio Urias has earned a non-roster invitation to the Dodgers’ 2015 spring training camp. He and top shortstop prospect Corey Seager headline a list of 17 non-roster invitees to the Dodgers’ spring training camp announced Friday.
Shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena, who was designated for assignment nine days ago with four years remaining on his $25 million contract, is also in that group.
It’s going to take more than one story or one blog entry to grasp the full scope of what’s happened to the Dodgers roster since the end of the season. I wrote this today. It’s a start. Mostly, it’s a look ahead to what the 2015 Dodgers could look like. What changes could happen between now and then?
Hanley Ramirez batted .283 with 13 home runs and 71 RBIs in 2014. (Getty Images)
Hanley Ramirez was not expected to return to Los Angeles in 2015. Andrew Friedman’s decision to let him sign elsewhere was going to save the Dodgers a lot of money wherever Ramirez signed, but it was not terribly difficult. The Dodgers had good reason not to give Ramirez a multi-year contract, and Ramirez did not reject the Dodgers’ qualifying offer only to sign a one-year deal somewhere else.
The Boston Red Sox had several reasons to take an interest in Ramirez. They have a designated hitter, David Ortiz, who turned 39 on Tuesday and can become a free agent after the 2015 season. They have their shortstop of the future, Xander Bogaerts, already in place. They have a glaring need for offense at third base (Boston third basemen had a .580 OPS last season, 14th in the American League).
They also draft seventh in next year’s entry draft. Only the teams that draft 1-10 are able to sign a player who rejected a qualifying offer and keep their pick, so the Red Sox had more incentive than some teams to make a big pitch.
Soon, it appears, they will have Ramirez under contract for next season and beyond:
Sources say Hanley’s deal with #RedSox will be in range of five years, $90M.
Alexei Ramirez has a .277 batting average, 99 home runs and 118 stolen bases in seven major league seasons, all with the Chicago White Sox. (Getty Images)
The Dodgers might have a Ramirez at shortstop next year after all.
According to a report on CBSChicago.com, the Dodgers are one of at least three teams that have inquired on White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez. The New York Yankees and New York Mets (“the most aggressive [team] in their pursuit of a shortstop over the past 12 months”) are also mentioned in the report.
Corey Seager is the Dodgers’ lone representative on the Arizona Fall League’s “Fall Stars” roster. Seager, who’s slashing .255/.345/.412 for the Glendale Desert Dogs, will represent the West team.
The game will be played this Saturday (Nov. 1) at 5 p.m. PT at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, Arizona. MLB Network will televise the game, which will also be streamed online at MLB.com.
Scouting and farm directors from every Major League organization, in consultation with Arizona Fall League Director Steve Cobb and his baseball personnel staff, selected the players for the annual showcase that pits top prospects from the Fall League’s East Division and West Division clubs.
Each Major League organization is offered the opportunity to be represented by at least one player.