This is a project where 30 people got together to act as the GMs of the 30 MLB teams with the idea of conducting the offseason in one week. This is what happened in this simulation, not a prediction of what will happen in real life.
By Bob Lowe
Last year, my first as GM, we went all in to fix the Los Angeles Dodgers’ biggest weakness: hitting left-handed pitchers.
We traded Yasiel Puig and Brandon McCarthy for Ryan Braun. While they may have worked, the actual Dodger brass can’t take much criticism for anything. 104 wins and a World Series appearance prove that.
Other than that big trade, the 2017 Dodgers had a very similar offseason. With much of the same roster, the team just got better–including hitting southpaws.
Entering the 2018 hot stove, the Dodgers have no glaring weaknesses. Tinkering, being financially prudent and not getting stale are the priorities with the $220 million budget. We enter 2018 near $190 million.
The GM Project Dodgers started of the off-season by signing all arbitration-eligible players: Yasmani Grandal; Tony Cingrani; Luis Avilan; Josh Fields; Kike Hernandez; Joc Pederson; Yimi Garcia and even much maligned Pedro Baez. It takes a village to fill out a pitching staff and Baez will get a chance to redeem himself in 2018.
We sought to ride the club of Scott Kazmir’s $17.6M salary. Surprisingly, a number of teams were interested in Kazmir and our other high salaried LAD hurlers who have had posted more days on the disabled list than strikeouts.
LAD moved Kazmir and catcher Kyle Farmer for 2B Starlin Castro and RHP Albert Abreu. We even got the Yankees to pick up half of the dollars left on Castro’s contract, bringing the price tag to $4M annually.
The thought on Castro is that he is a younger option with a bigger upside to Logan Forsythe, who underachieved in the regular season before having a good postseason in 2017. Castro has another good Dodger quality: he can play shortstop.
Like Andre Ethier, Chase Utley announced his retirement after the World Series. Castro almost serves as switch-hitter at second base, since he hits better (.293) against lefties than righties (.278). While Austin Barnes took over the catching duties, he can also spell Castro at second–as can Hernandez or Charlie Culberson.
Certainly the double-play combo of Castro and Corey Seager is an appealing thought for Dodger fans over the next two years.
The infield is in great shape with rookie of the year Cody Bellinger at first base. Adrian Gonzalez is back for the final year of his contract. While he costs $22.5 let’s remember he helped make the post Frank McCourt Dodgers competitive.
Justin Turner, who posted an MVP caliber year, is back at third base. Culbertson and Hernandez will spell him.
In the outfield, veterans Ethier and Curtis Granderson are gone. Hernandez will platoon with either Joc Pederson or Andrew Toles. Centerfield as now Chris Taylor’s. Like many versatile teammates, however, he can fill in the middle infield. Yasiel Puig–who is now patient at the plate–is now the everyday rightfielder.
As for starting pitching, the four-man staff of Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Alex Wood are back. The fifth spot will be a battle between Kenta Maeda, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy. Julio Urias could be an option after the All Star break as the highly-touted lefty returns from injury. Walker Buehler could also come to LA if he progresses in AAA Oklahoma City.
In free agency, we made a $19M offer for Yu Darvish. Outbid by the Orioles, the Dodgers are still in good shape.
Closer Kenley Jansen is perhaps the best in the business. Brandon Morrow–who earned a nice free agent payday ($13.M) and the right to be 8th-inning guy in 2018. Lefties Cingrani and Avilan are back, From the right side long-man Ross Stripling is joined by Fields, Baez and Ravin.