You'd think TMZ would have signed on Ned Colletti as a consultant after these winter meetings. From Matt Kemp being traded to Seattle (wait, Boston; wait, Detroit; wait, nobody?), David Price coming over to the Dodgers, Brandon Phillips taking a non-existent spot at second base, Stephen Drew coming aboard as the priciest mediocre shortstop in the world, Masahiro Tanaka getting posted and signed and Dee Gordon finally getting the boot, Colletti has been busy.
Well, busy shooting down ridiculous rumors perpetrated by writers who were hungry for content during a very uneventful week, that is.
Absolutely nothing happened in the past four days for the Dodgers, unless you count trading for minor league relief pitcher Seth Rosin as a relevant move. The closest they came to actually pulling the trigger on a deal was Colletti almost ordering the pastrami sub instead of the BLT at the executive lunch. Good choice, Ned. Good choice.
Most of the team's action took place before the winter meetings actually began, as it re-signed Brian Wilson, took a one-year flier on Dan Haren, signed Cuban second baseman Alexander Guerrero and started exploring an extension for Hanley Ramirez, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
As it stands now, the Dodgers have had a successful winter by not actually doing anything. The biggest losses from last year's almost-World Series team were mainly backup infielders and a couple relief pitchers, who can be replaced in free agency.
It would be nice to get J.P. Howell back in the bullpen and to re-sign Juan Uribe as a stopgap at third base until Corey Seager is ready to roll, but losing one or both won't affect the Las Vegas oddsmakers, who have the Dodgers going off at 5-1 to win the 2014 World Series, according to Vegas Insider.
The worst thing the Dodgers could have done at the winter meetings would have been to sell low on Kemp and receive a bad return for a massive PR headache, or trade away the diamonds in the very rough farm system that is just starting to get back on its feet for Price.
They could have signed Drew for far more money than he's worth and the cost of a first-round pick, which would have pushed Ramirez over to third base for the time being.
Honestly, Colletti could have traded Kemp, Andre Ethier, Seager, Zach Lee, Julio Urias and $78 million in cash for eight years of Hideki Irabu and a minor league catcher to be named later, and nobody would have been all that surprised.
It's out of the Dodgers' nature lately to stand pat during the meetings, but they did. And for that, they grade out well.
Here are how things shake out for the Dodgers right now:
1. Carl Crawford, LF
2. Yasiel Puig, RF
3. Hanley Ramirez, SS
4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
5. Matt Kemp, CF
6. A.J. Ellis, C
7. Juan Uribe, 3B*
8. Alexander Guerrero, 2B
Andre Ethier, OF
Dee Gordon, IF
Justin Sellers, IF
Scott Van Slyke, 1B/OF
Tim Federowicz, C
1. Clayton Kershaw, LHP
2. Zack Greinke, RHP
3. Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP
4. Dan Haren, RHP
5. Stephen Fife, RHP*
*Until Josh Beckett/Chad Billingsley are healthy
Paco Rodriguez, LHP
Scott Elbert, LHP
Brandon League, RHP
Chris Withrow, RHP
Jose Dominguez, RHP
Brian Wilson, RHP (set-up)
Kenley Jansen, RHP (closer)
Obviously, that lineup and rotation stack up against the best in baseball, and the bullpen can take care of business. But getting Howell back would be enormous for the Dodgers, and actually retaining Uribe would soothe a couple headaches.
I'm sure the Dodgers will continue to move to find a back-end starter, a couple more bullpen arms and maybe some bench depth. But as it stands now, Colletti and Stan Kasten have done a good job putting a very competitive team back on the field without falling into the media trap most teams do. It's cold and lonely down there. Just ask the Toronto Blue Jays.
If the 2014 season started with the above roster, this writer would be totally fine with it. Most importantly, Colletti balked on trading Kemp and hasn't given up the handful of top-tier prospects the Dodgers have developed.
As it stands now, the Dodgers have earned a "B+" for their work in the offseason, and an "A" for the winter meetings specifically, if only for brushing off the wild rumors flying around Kemp and others, and avoiding drama about Kershaw's extension or Don Mattingly's contract situation.
There is room to grow in both directions here, though. If the Dodgers do add another starter, a bullpen arm, a couple backup infielders and a third baseman of quality, that "B+" could easily register in the "A" range.
If they give up a draft pick for Drew, trade an outfielder for too small of a return or move half the farm system for Price, Colletti and Kasten might just be suspended from school.
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