At this point, we might have to start talking about this Dodgers offseason as among the best in baseball history. Landing the biggest free agent ever would have been accomplishment enough, but president Andrew Friedman followed that up by signing the next hottest name on the market: Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who’s reportedly set to sign a 12-year, $325 million deal with L.A, according to ESPN. Oh, and did we mention the team also swung a trade for Rays ace Tyler Glasnow, just for good measure? It’s safe to say that the Dodgers took this year’s NLDS flameout personally.
But for as much star power as this roster now boasts, star power alone doesn’t win you a World Series; if it did, the Angels would have a few more trophies in their case right now. Even with Ohtani, Yamasoto and Glasnow in tow, Friedman still has some questions to answer if he wants to put some daylight between the Dodgers and other loaded contenders like the Braves, Phillies, Rangers and Yankees. Who might he target next? Let’s break it down.
What should Dodgers do next after Yoshinobu Yamamoto signing?
Add another depth arm
Yamamoto sure seems like a future ace, but you can never have enough starting pitching; just ask last year’s Dodgers, who went into spring training confident in their depth only to watch it disintegrate in real time amid a myriad of injuries (and off-field issues). Yamasoto, Glasnow, Bobby Miller and Walker Buehler have a ceiling as high as anybody’s, but they also bring plenty of risk as well — health in the case of Glasnow and Buehler, workload in the case of Miller, who’s yet to throw even 140 innings in a single season and got shelled in his postseason debut.
If Los Angeles wants to get their best guys to October in one piece, they’re going to need at least one more arm to help shoulder the load in the regular season. It’s hard to imagine Clayton Kershaw wearing any other uniform, but the 36-year-old legend will be out for at least the first half while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. A swingman like former Giants lefty Sean Manaea could make some sense as a spot starter who can also pivot into a multi-inning bullpen role, or Friedman could look at a reunion with veteran lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu. Whatever path he chooses, he shouldn’t be done adding to his pitching staff just yet.
Flesh out the bullpen
Speaking of which: The Dodgers had among the best bullpens in the game in 2023, but they’re a bit light on reliable options behind the 1-2 punch of Evan Phillips and Brusdar Graterol — especially if Blake Treinen’s shoulder issues linger at all. In particular, L.A. could use another righty option alongside Joe Kelly; maybe a reunion with Ryan Brasier, or a run at former Rays setup man Robert Stephenson?
Find another outfielder
The inclusion of Manuel Margot in the Glasnow trade was a bit of a curious one: Sure, Margot can handle all three outfield positions defensively, but he’s not particularly good against lefty pitching, making him a curious platoon fit against southpaws. No matter what pitcher is on the mound, Los Angeles feels a bat short in the outfield, with James Outman and Jason Heyward locked into the lineup against righties and Margot and Chris Taylor likely playing against lefties — but no clear third option either way. Luckily, there are plenty of names still on the market here, from a more traditional center fielder like Michael A. Taylor to a corner option like Michael Brantley or Teoscar Hernandez.