The Los Angeles Dodgers don’t have a lot of holes to address this offseason after completing five in-season trades in 2012. But a number of injuries to key members of their pitching staff means that their is still work to do this winter.
Right-hander Chad Billingsley may miss the entire 2013 season if the elbow discomfort that ended his season on August 24 requires Tommy John surgery this winter.
The Dodgers also aren’t sure what to expect from left-hander Ted Lilly as he continues to work his way back from a left shoulder strain that prematurely ended his season in May. He’s unlikely to return to L.A.’s starting rotation next season, but could become a valuable member of the bullpen.
Closer Kenley Jansen is scheduled to undergo surgery that will hopefully cure him of the atrial fibrillation condition that has cost him parts of the last two seasons. His role for 2013 is uncertain, and if the Dodgers are unable to re-sign Brandon League, they may decide to seek other closing options in free agency.
Los Angeles also has questions in the field, but those issues will work themselves out internally.
The Dodgers don’t know exactly when Carl Crawford will return from Tommy John surgery in July, but he isn’t expected to be out beyond June 1 at worst. Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig should get a chance to prove himself at the major league level until Crawford is healthy.
Manager Don Mattingly will also need to figure out how to deploy the infield trio of Dee Gordon, Luis Cruz and Hanley Ramirez. Cruz deserves to remain a starter after a surprisingly strong 2012 season. That may force the Dodgers to consider trading Gordon to free up space in a crowded infield.
Since pitching help is the clear priority for Los Angeles, here are seven starters and relievers that the Dodgers should pursue once free agency begins.