Few baseball players available this off-season better fit the needs of the
He plays a position the team seeks to upgrade as it prepares for 2017. He offers power as a right-handed hitter, a commodity the team often lacked last season. He is owed $15 million through 2019, a reasonable sum for a large-market club to absorb. He revamped his swing in 2016 to hit a career-best 42 home runs, and he won't turn 30 until May.
But the market does not bend for the whims of one particular team. Weeks of bartering with the Twins has not resulted in a deal. The Dodgers have maintained dialogue on other fronts, and may need to pivot toward other options, rather than acquiring a one-man panacea like Dozier.
A little more than a month away from
“It’s somewhat interconnected,” President of Baseball Operations
"As you get into January, there are a lot of conversations that have been ongoing now for a little while. So those things start to come to a head more. It's starting to whittle down where we have a better feel for what's more likely."
The team accomplished a significant portion of its off-season to-do list during December, dishing out $192 million to re-sign Jansen, Turner and pitcher
Meanwhile, the rest of the market remains frozen. A plethora of free agents are still available, including established veterans such as outfielder
Despite a robust offense in 2016, the Dodgers ranked last in the majors in on-base-plus-slugging percentage against left-handers. The team attributed the group-wide malaise to a series of factors. Scott Van Slyke injured a wrist. Yasiel Puig never gained traction. Trayce Thompson fractured his back. Enrique Hernandez struggled with off-speed pitches.
"It was like the imperfect storm that played out last year," Friedman said. "We feel like if, even if we're not near where we were last year, it's not going to be a strength. But we have a lot of other team strengths. And if that's an area that's not as strong as others, so it goes.
The Dodgers could divert some of their resources toward a right-handed slugger, even if it means fiddling with their outfield alignment. Bautista starred in Toronto for Dodgers vice president of baseball operations
If a deal for Dozier fails to materialize, the Dodgers could pursue a similar, if less appealing, alternative.
Forsythe hit 20 home runs with a .778 OPS for the
Friedman declined to comment on any specific negotiations. But he preached the importance of patience as he finalized the roster for spring training.
"Throughout the course of the negotiation process, there are ups and downs," Friedman said. "So it's just a tough thing to assess. But there are a number of different options out there. I think some are more likely than others, but three days from now, I could feel very differently, and those could flip. It's a tough thing to answer before things run its course."