As we turn the calendar to 2019, opening day is less than three months away. But while as fans, we may be ready for the season to begin, Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers still have some work to do before then. While they’re still the favorites to win the division, the Dodgers have a few more problems they need to address before Dodger baseball can begin again.
Just like I’ve been saying already, the Dodgers need a catcher. Yasmani Grandal handled a large portion of the catching duties in 2018, but he’s now on the free-agent market. He rejected the qualifying offer of $17.4 million over one year. He’s reportedly looking for a 5-year deal worth $70 million, a very large contract for a 30-year old catcher.
The most rumored option to replace Grandal is J.T. Realmuto. Realmuto is a perfect fit for the Dodgers. Because they traded Puig and Kemp, they are in need of another right-handed bat. To make things even better, Realmuto has two years left in his contract, which is exactly how much time the catchers in the Dodgers’ system need to develope.
The downside to Realmuto is that the Marlins are still expecting too much in return. The Marlins want at least two Major League players. Currently, they are asking for Cody Bellinger and Alex Verdugo. If the Marlins don’t lower their asking price, don’t expect to see Realmuto anywhere other than Miami when Spring Training begins.
The Dodgers haven’t had a good second baseman in years. After they traded Dee Gordon in 2014, they’ve tried to get by with players like Howie Kendrick, Chase Utley, Logan Forsythe, and Brian Dozier. While all of these players were good at one time, by the time they came to the Dodgers, they were all old and basically useless at the plate.
The Dodgers’ best option for second base this off-season is to sign a free agent. The two most notable names on the market are DJ LeMahieu and Jed Lowrie. Both players are very good and would fill the hole very well.
As 2019 begins, these are the Dodgers’ most pressing needs. While there is always more that can be done, I don’t have time to write about all of it.