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Dodgers offseason wish list: L.A. could solve most of its problems by re-signing its own free agents

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The 2021-22 MLB offseason is a few weeks old and we’re still waiting for the first major move to happen. That’s not unusual — like the MLB season itself, the offseason is a marathon rather than a sprint — though the impending expiration of the competitive bargaining agreement throws a giant wrench into the hot stove. Still, baseball’s offseason is underway.

With that in mind, we’re going to examine each prospective buyer’s offseason wish list over the next few days, continuing with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Let’s get to it. 

Starting pitcher(s)

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The Dodgers made the first free agent signing of the offseason two weeks ago when they inked reclamation project lefty Andrew Heaney to a one-year contract. They need more rotation help than that, though. Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw are free agents and Trevor Bauer is likely to serve a suspension under MLB‘s domestic violence policy in 2022. The current rotation includes Heaney, Walker Buehler, Julio Urías, Tony Gonsolin, and possibly David Price. There is room for improvement.

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Wish list: Scherzer and Kershaw would be ideal. Even at age 37 and even after limping to the finish in 2021, Scherzer remains a bona fide ace and one of the best pitchers in the game. A high salary two- or three-year deal (high salary as in $35 million to $40 million per year, possibly even more) would make sense. Kershaw’s health is a question, though it’s also difficult to see him the franchise icon pitching elsewhere. Even if the Dodgers have to bring him along slowly in spring training and handle him carefully next season, keeping Kershaw around as rotation depth (with the potential to be a true difference-maker) seems like a win-win.

The Athletics are expected to sell and they have three arbitration-eligible starters who would presumably interest the Dodgers in Chris Bassitt, Sean Manaea, and Frankie Montas. Bassitt and Manaea are a year away from free agency, Montas two. Righty Jon Gray seems like a classic “we’re going to take this guy and make him better than the Rockies ever could” free agent target. We can never rule the Dodgers out on a big money long-term deal for someone like Robbie Ray. My guess is they’re unwilling to do huge dollars for anyone but Scherzer and Kershaw, and will instead look to fill out the rotation with cheaper (but still effective) pitchers.

Replacing Taylor

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It’s difficult to put a number on just how important Chris Taylor was to the Dodgers the last six years. WAR underrated him. Taylor hit .264/.341/.458 in nearly 2,500 plate appearances while playing every position other than pitcher, catcher, and first base during his time in Los Angeles. Plus he had a ton of postseason success too. Taylor is the very best super utility player in the game today and that makes him irreplaceable. Finding someone to fill that role and improving the bench in general is a top priority this winter.

Wish list: Taylor. Losing Corey Seager would certainly hurt, though the Dodgers can plug Trea Turner in at short and Gavin Lux in at second and not miss Seager too much. Replacing Taylor will be much more difficult. Players who are that productive and play that many positions (and play them well) are rare, so why try to replace Taylor when you could simply re-sign Taylor? He’s shown he can fill that very difficult, very valuable role, and the Dodgers would offer him a lot of money and also a chance to win. Seems like a good fit for both sides.

If the Dodgers aren’t going to re-sign Taylor (and Seager), it might be best to purse Marcus Semien to play second base, pushing Lux into that super utility role. Someone like Eduardo Escobar could work as well, though he is primarily an infielder with limited outfield experience. Right now the bench includes some combination of Matt Beaty, Zach McKinstry, Sheldon Neuse, and Luke Raley. I have to think Los Angeles will look to upgrade on that group this winter, and re-signing Taylor would be a great start.

Late-inning reliever

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Kenley Jansen, the greatest closer in Dodgers history, is currently a free agent and not a lock to return. He was outstanding after adjusting his pitch mix at midseason and trading a few cutters for sliders, and he carried that excellence right through the postseason. The Dodgers don’t absolutely need to replace Jansen with another closer because they could easily insert Blake Treinen into the ninth inning. There is a need for a late-inning reliever though. Someone to push Brusdar Graterol and Alex Vesia back into the sixth and seventh innings rather than the eighth.

Wish list: The Dodgers could address just about all their needs by re-signing their own free agents and that applies here as well. Bringing Jansen back is preferable to spending big money on Raisel Iglesias or giving up prospects to get Craig Kimbrel. Los Angeles could go cheaper and re-sign Corey Knebel, who did fine work for them around an injury this year, but the Dodgers seem more likely to look for the next Corey Knebel, that buy-low reliever with upside, rather than pay for the real Corey Knebel. Again, the Dodgers don’t absolutely need a closer because they have Treinen. They do need a high-leverage reliever though, and reuniting with Jansen is the most straightforward solution. He’s still very good and he’s a known quantity.

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The Eagles Have An Elite Advantage Up Front

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The Philadelphia Eagles are in the Super Bowl because of their elite roster.

They have Pro Bowl players all over the field, and that has been their big advantage over most of their opponents.

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In the Super Bowl, the Eagles will have the same advantage over the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Eagles roster is stronger than the Chiefs in just about spot on the field, except quarterback.

One spot that could decide this game is in the trenches.

The battle of the offensive and defensive lines of each team will play a massive role.

Luckily for the Eagles, they have the best offensive line in the NFL.

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There may not be a team that is a close second either.

According to PFF, the Eagles have elite players in all five offensive line spots.

As you can see they are the only team in the NFL with a player ranked in the top 10 at each spot.

You can bet the Eagles will try and use that to their advantage in this game.

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They enter with the top rushing attack in the NFL and led the NFL in rushing touchdowns this past season.

Expect to see them run the ball early and often, to try and control the clock and keep Patrick Mahomes off the field.

It will be interesting to see if the Chiefs have any answer for the Eagles’ rushing attack.

The Chiefs allowed 107.2 rushing yards per game this year.

If they can keep the Eagles around that number, the Chiefs will be in a great position to win.

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For those that love trench warfare, this will be a game for you.

The post The Eagles Have An Elite Advantage Up Front appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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NFL Analyst Provides Chiefs Injury Updates Ahead Of Super Bowl

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The Kansas City Chiefs have added an interesting piece to their roster just six days ahead of the Super Bowl.

While the team’s running backs, Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon, have looked great in previous weeks, the team has decided to include another player into the mix.

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Clyde Edwards-Helaire has officially been activated from injured reserve, and will likely be added to the Chiefs Super Bowl roster.

This comes on the heels of the unfortunate news that Mecole Hardman will be placed on the IR due to his pelvis injury.

His season is effectively over and he will be unable to play in the biggest game of the season.

Edwards-Helaire hasn’t touched the field since the week of November 20, and has been sidelined ever since.

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However, even before he was injured, Edwards-Helaire had not put together a strong showing on the season, as his best individual game was on October 2, where he had 62 rushing yards, two receptions, and two touchdowns.

Besides that game, he has been largely ineffective for the Chiefs.

Will the Chiefs place any faith in Edwards-Helaire to succeed in the postseason?

He does have a history of fumbling, especially in the team’s biggest moments.

We will soon see how involved Edwards-Helaire will be in this game, as the Chiefs look to win their second Super Bowl in the past five seasons.

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Patrick Mahomes has spread the ball around to multiple pass-catchers this season, but due to Edwards-Helaire’s lack of playing time as of late, this will be a situation to monitor moving forward.

The post NFL Analyst Provides Chiefs Injury Updates Ahead Of Super Bowl appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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Julio Urias Discusses His Love For Los Angeles

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Ever since making his MLB debut as a 19-year-old kid in 2016, Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias was projected to be a rotation mainstay for years to come.

He had the look of a superstar: the talent, the determination, and the drive to improve.

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He doesn’t speak too much off the field, but his on-field performance is very loud and it says that he belongs in the National League’s elite.

The Dodgers are the only MLB franchise Urias has known, and it’s not surprising to learn that has grown to love the city, the fans, and everything about being a Dodger.

Julio Urías on his special relationship with the city of Los Angeles: ‘It’s always been an incredible blessing. It always feels like I’m pitching in Mexico. To follow someone like Fernando, it’s such a blessing to be here.’ Dodgers need to pay Julio,” Dodgers insider Doug McKain tweeted.

Judging by his quotes, it does feel like Urias is comfortable pitching in LA, so much that he feels at home doing so.

The team is paying him $14.25 million in 2023, which will be his last season of team control remaining.

After the 2023 World Series, the southpaw will test the free agent waters…unless the Dodgers can extend him.

He is very much worth a mega-extension: he has been great for quite some time and he is still very young at 26.

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His best years, quite possibly, are still ahead of him.

In 2022, he had a brilliant 2.16 ERA in 175 frames.

He helped the Dodgers win another Division title.

Will his stay in LA be extended for the foreseeable future?

Only time will tell but he has earned quite a big payday.

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