MLB Free Agents: 10 Free Agents the LA Dodgers Should Pursue
The Los Angeles Dodgers have some big steps to take if they ever want to see themselves in the World Series.
Although they are far from a competing team, it would not be surprising to see this team hoisting the trophy in October in a few years. They have the talent and core group of players to make it happen.
With Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp at the forefront of their operations, the future looks bright (especially with the exit of Frank McCourt).
Fans would say not many roster pickups would be needed for this particular team due to the youth and development still needed for key players. The Dodgers still have the talent in James Loney, Andre Ethier and young gun Dee Gordon.
With that said, the Dodgers are not perfect—far from it. They still need to strengthen some positions such as the pitching rotation to help support Kershaw.
LA also needs get better offensively with some stronger bats in the lineup.
The defense and fielding was not too much of an issue (mainly because Kershaw had a great year).
With these few tweaks and some years to build cohesion amongst the clubhouse, the Dodgers are a team that should be looked at to have a good chance at winning it all.
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One of the biggest holes in the Dodger lineup is the pitching rotation. With the lack of any leadership (except Clayton Kershaw), the rotation looks pretty weak.
Especially with the uncertainty of Hiroki Kuroda, picking up some solid pitchers seems to be a reliable bet.
Javier Vazquez posted an ERA of 3.69 of 2011. This is far lower than his career stat of 4.22. He finalized 162 strikeouts with a WHIP of 1.18.
These are all pretty solid stats that the Dodgers should look at.
Although he is not very young and has 13 years of experience, his veteran leadership could be a healthy change in the locker room.
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With an abysmal year in 2010 batting .196, Carlos Pena wanted redemption with the signing of his one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs.
Although his stats were not anything special, his productivity took a huge spike. In 2011, his average went up to .225 while his OBP also rose from .325 to .357.
Pena has shown that although his stats are not spectacular, for the right price, his numbers would help this club out tremendously.
Pena would be competing for the first base spot with James Loney, another Dodger fan favorite. Having that competition could help Loney out of his slump from last year.
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Another solid pitcher like Francisco Rodriguez would be a welcome sight to the Dodger faithful.
After a poor performance from reliever Jonathan Broxton, it would be nice to see someone who can actually save a game for the Dodgers.
With an ERA of 1.80 in the postseason last year with the Brewers, pressure is nothing new to him.
During the regular season, his ERA was 2.64 while acquiring 79 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.30. If he can maintain this level of play, the Dodgers would thrive with his production in the bullpen.
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It looks like Hiroki Kuroda’s decision is between going back to his native Japan and staying with the LA Dodgers. This is good news for the boys in blue because Kuroda played pretty decently last year. On top of that, was a great teammate.
He did not put up spectacular numbers, but did manage to put up decent ones in relativity to the rest of the Dodgers lineup. His ERA was 3.07, which is also a decrease from his career average of 3.45. He acquired 161 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.21.
The locker room seemed to like his presence and work ethic, even amongst the drama that was the McCourt scandals.
Kuroda has shown to be a good player and individual towards the Dodgers franchise and is probably why he is being shown such leniency in his decision-making time frame.
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Ryan Madson is another reliever that the Dodgers should look into.
Last season, Madson maintained an ERA of 2.37, which is a significant decrease from his career average of 3.60. He managed 62 strikeouts as well as a WHIP of 1.15, which is slightly down from his career number of 1.29.
Madson is looking for a four-year deal, which is something that he is unlikely to find. However, with some leeway in his demands (and the fact he will probably be slightly cheaper to pick up), he could find his way into a good organization.
If Madson does decide to come to the Dodgers, it would be a big bonus for that rotation and Kershaw, who needed some help from the relievers in the 2011 season.
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Although David Ortiz is getting old and is not necessarily meant to be a great overall player, he does bring some heavy swings to the lineup.
The Dodgers struggled last season to help back up Matt Kemp’s stellar year. Although they have Andre Ethier and James Loney at the helm, they struggled to reproduce the same numbers from the year prior.
Last season, Ortiz averaged .309 and an OBP of .398, which were both up from his career averages. He also acquired 29 home runs and 96 RBI. Production is surprisingly on the rise for this seasoned vet.
The questions still remain regarding Ortiz's age, however if he can produce at this level or even slightly less, the Dodgers can still use him to relieve some pressure off of Kemp.
Maybe this will even put some pressure of other players in the lineup to produce more.
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Mark Buehrle is a starting pitcher for the Chicago White Sox that could be of some help to the LA Dodgers.
Last season, his ERA was 3.59 while earning 109 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.30. His ERA was down from his career average of 3.83, which shows some signs of progression.
Buehrle did manage to make the All-Star game in '05 and '09, showing that maybe there are some years where he has played better than his numbers might show.
He is a decent player who has played with the White Sox his entire career. This will make it tough to land him because he looks set to stay either there or his hometown of St. Louis.
However, if the numbers add up, there is always a possibility.
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Heath Bell is a solid relief pitcher, which is something the Dodgers are in need of.
Bell is currently playing for the San Diego Padres and is entering his eighth year.
In 2011, his ERA was at 2.44 with 51 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.15. His ERA and WHIP are both down from his career averages of 3.06 and 1.20, respectively.
His production is starting to increase, which makes him an enticing option for the Dodgers to pursue.
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One of the biggest names (and bodies) out there on the free-agency market, Prince Fielder is looking for a change.
Although the Dodgers manager has said it is unlikely that the Dodgers will pursue Fielder in the offseason, there is always a possibility with a new owner.
Aside from the struggling bullpen, offense was one of the big issues that plagued Los Angeles. With the exception of Matt Kemp, the rest of the Dodgers lineup played pretty average and close to poor for most of the season.
They did pick it up towards the end, but by then it was too late.
Fielder allows some relief for Kemp and would also significantly increase the run production of this Dodger lineup.
In 2011, he averaged .299, up from his career average of .282. He acquired 120 RBI and his OBP was .415. His numbers do not lie and they show that he is producing at a high rate.
As nice as it would be to see him in blue, it is going to take some serious change with James Loney to make that possible.
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C.J. Wilson is a solid pitcher and showed how good he could actually be last year with the Texas Rangers.
In 2011, his ERA was 2.94, down from his career average of 3.60. He had 206 strikeouts, a WHIP of 1.19 and an overall record of 16-7. Wilson proved that he can be stud at the starting pitcher spot.
Although it is unlikely the Dodgers can spend the money on him, especially with Kershaw already looking for a big pay raise, acquiring him would turn the Dodgers rotation into one similar to the Phillies.