The Dodgers have been hard at work filling in their bench and the back of their rotation. Yesterday, they added utility player Jerry Hairston Jr. and fifth-starter candidate Aaron Harang.
Hairston gives the Dodgers much-needed insurance at a number of different positions, while Harang offers them insurance in case Hiroki Kuroda doesn't return, as many thought he would.
Given their unsure cash situation, there may not be many more moves to be made, but even so they are decent enough shape.
The Dodgers moved quickly and decisively to fill the holes on the infield. So far, they have signed Mark Ellis, Adam Kennedy and Hairston. Ellis should get the second base job while the others serve as the utility infielders. Hairston will be an option at third, short and second base in addition to the corner outfield slots. Kennedy will be an option at first, second and third base.
James Loney returns to play first base. He has been a disappointment with the bat so far in his career, but he has developed into a fine fielder.
Ned Colletti hopes that Juan Uribe's hitting woes are a thing of the past. He is penciled in to be the everyday third baseman, but he can play multiple positions as well. Kennedy and Hairston were almost certainly priorities because of Uribe's struggles at the plate.
Finally, the Dodgers have a promising young shortstop in Dee Gordon. He came up after the Rafael Furcal deal last season and showed flashes of brilliance. Gordon is definitely a speed threat, and he has more fielding range than Furcal. He will be given time to grow.
Finally, the Dodgers added Matt Treanor to cover for the departed Rod Barajas. He and A.J. Ellis are penciled in to share the catching duties for now.
The left-field situation is the only position in the outfield unsettled. The Dodgers re-signed Juan Rivera, which lends some credence to the idea that he will get the first crack at the job.
Yet some sites have Jerry Sands as the regular. Last season, Tony Gwynn Jr. got the majority of the time, and he is still on board. This will be a very interesting developing situation.
There is no doubt about Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier. Kemp just signed an eight-year, $160 million extension. He isn't going anywhere for a while.
Ethier had a somewhat disappointing 2011 season, but he was still a good player and should bounce back with some better numbers this time around.
The careers of Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley have floated by like two passing ships in the night. Kershaw won what could be the first of many Cy Young Awards. Billingsley dipped below average in another disappointing season. They are flanked by Ted Lilly and new rotation mates Chris Capuano and Harang.
Neither of the two pitchers jumps off the page, but they are both solid bottom-of-the-rotation arms. Also, neither is so expensive that he can't be demoted to the bullpen if Kuroda does decide to come back.
Of course, signing both could be a signal that Kuroda has become too rich for the Dodgers' blood.
As for Lilly, he has been a solid No. 3 starter for every team he has pitched for. If you remove Kuroda, he was the second-best starter on the Dodgers last season.
Billingsley will have to turn that around in 2012 if the Dodgers are to have any chance. Fortunately, that isn't out of the realm of possibility.
Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra are penciled in as the closers next year. Guerra did an admirable job when Jonathan Broxton went down. Jansen's numbers were out of sight, but he did not have many closing opportunities.
Scott Elbert and Josh Lindblom were solid as well in middle relief.
The Dodgers bullpen is in about as good a shape as any other team at the moment.
Winter Meetings Win
Most of the Dodgers' work is done. They may not be exciting moves, but when the dust settles they picked up two decent starters and three good middle infielders.
The catcher situation does not look too good, but they can get by with what they have. Colletti can let the world come to him now and see what it has to offer.
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