FanPost

Your 2013 Dodgers, using strictly in-house options: how would you improve them?


As I'm attempting to be a much more positive individual, I'm already looking forward to the 2013 season with great optimism and anticipation. For my inaugural FanPost, I'm looking at how the Dodgers might best use their spots this coming spring after the mega trade bringing in nearly 1/6th of the Boston Red Sox's 25-man roster this past August. Using Eric's payroll sheet as my guide, I've created what I believe is a pretty good list of players, keeping in mind to only use those who are in the Dodgers organization, either in the major leagues or the minors, past this season. The details are a mere jump away...

I have the starting lineup as follows, arranged in my preferred batting order:

LF - Carl Crawford (L)

2B - Mark Ellis

CF - Matt Kemp

1B - Adrian Gonzalez (L)

3B - Hanley Ramirez

RF - Andre Ethier (L)

C - A.J. Ellis

SS - Dee Gordon (L)

Bench - IF Luis Cruz, IF Nick Punto (S), OF Tony Gwynn, Jr. (L), UT Jerry Hairston, Jr., C Tim Federowicz

Starting Rotation:

#1 - Clayton Kershaw (L)

#2 - Chad Billingsley

#3 - Chris Capuano (L)

#4 - Josh Beckett

#5 - Ted Lilly (L)

Bullpen:

Swing Man - Aaron Harang

Long Reliever - Blake Hawksworth

Middle Reliever - Javy Guerra

LOOGY - Scott Elbert (L)

Mop-Up Man - Matt Guerrier

Setup Man - Ronald Belisario

Closer - Kenley Jansen

Whew, that was a lot of names...in any case, in assembling this team of ragtag misfits, I tried to be cognizant of maintaining the proper balance between offense and defense, lefties and righties, and matching players to the roles for which I saw them most fit. One of the few things I was unable to satisfactorily address was a LH bat with "pop" off the bench, and since I didn't want only righties riding the pine, I used TGJ instead of my initial preference of Alex Castellanos. Most obviously, this collection does NOT take into account injuries: Crawford, Lilly and Hawk may not be ready for spring training, and I assume Bills won't be either (still hoping against thinking he'll need Tommy John surgery). With the four aforementioned players being out of action, I would use Hairston in left field and put Castle as the UT, move Harang back into the rotation as the #4 starter and bump up Beckett to #2, while penciling in Stephen Fife as the fifth starter and using Michael Antonini as the swing man to add a second lefty to the pen. Unfortunately, I had to keep fan favorites such as Justin Sellers, Elian Herrera, John Ely and Juan Uribe off my roster, but I welcome any well thought-out arguments.

All of that said, there are a few areas that I find most demanding of attention, specifically the rotation and bullpen, as well as a stopgap OF to spell Crawford until he's 100% healthy, that would be much better addressed by outside help: for starters, Zack Greinke would be an obviously excellent addition, as would Jake Peavy. The excess pitching would allow us to deal from a position of strength and trade for minor league talent and depth, or also enables the team to make dealing with inevitable injuries much easier. Fill the rest of the gaps with low-cost, high-reward veterans, possibly on NRI contracts (Dice-K, for example), let them battle the kids and see who wins. As always, I'm open to all constructive criticism, so please let me know what you would have done differently and why, as well as which free agents you feel would best serve the Dodgers.

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