After a major in-season overhaul, the Dodgers face several key decisions on who they will try to retain and who they deem expendable. With the fielding positions all but set, the Dodgers will focus on pitching this off-season.
The following players are now free agents for the Dodgers:
1. Brandon League: Possibly the best acquisition amid all the craziness that occurred this season. League, acquired quietly from the Seattle Mariners, regained the lost form he lost after the 2011 season, where he saved 37 games while posting a 2.79 ERA. His 2012 season got off to a rough start as he had a record of 0-5 and lost his role as closer with the Mariners.
He was traded to the Dodgers before the trade deadline and, after a shaky start, regained his form and took over the closing duties while Kenley Jansen was on the disabled list with an irregular heartbeat. He saved six games with the Dodgers and had an ERA of 2.30. With bullpen relief a top priority, re-signing League should be at the top of the Dodgers priorities this off-season.
2. Randy Choate: Another key acquisition for the Dodgers, Choate came from the Miami Marlins in the Hanley Ramirez trade. Choate, who pitched 36 games for the Dodgers, held left-handed batters to a batting average of .171. Having a situational lefty in the bullpen is invaluable, as has been proven by the Giants, who had both Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez at their disposal to face left-handed batters. So it would behoove the Dodgers to do what they can to bring Choate back next year.
3. Joe Blanton: Acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in a waiver-wire trade due to the uncertainty of Chad Billingsley, the Dodgers were hoping that Blanton would provide the veteran leadership that was lacking. Blanton, who won a World Series title in 2009 with the Phillies, failed to live up that title as he struggled mightily with his new team. Blanton posted a record of 2-4 and struggled in big moments. He gave up early runs to the Giants when the National League West was still up for grabs. He likely will not be back next season.
4. Jamey Wright: Signed to a minor league contract, Wright managed to work his way into a regular bullpen pitcher for the 2012 squad. He will be 38 next year and it’s likely that he won’t be back with the team next season.
5. Shane Victorino: The Dodgers acquired Victorino in a deadline-day trade with the Phillies for relief pitcher Josh Lindblom. Victorino, who was a notorious Dodger-killer in playoffs past, was never able to muster up his old Phillie-self. He batted a paltry .245 and failed to get hits in key situations. With the acquisition of Carl Crawford in the big trade with the Boston Red Sox, and with Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier signed to long-term deals, Victorino’s days with the Dodgers seem numbered.
6. Adam Kennedy: A local boy from Southern California, Kennedy put up respectable numbers in the 86 games he played, posting a batting average of .262. But alas, it seems the Dodgers may want to go a different directions with their utility player.
7. Bobby Abreu: Designated for assignment August 1st due to the all the acquisitions. Abreu cleared waivers and joined the AAA team and rejoined the Dodgers for the September call-ups. Primarily reduced to a pinch-hitter, it’s likely that his career may be over as he will be 39 next year.
8. Todd Coffey: The Dodgers declined their option on Coffey, whose season ended with Tommy John surgery in July. Coffey had an overall disappointing year, posting an ERA of 4.66 in his 23 appearances before his injury.
9. Juan Rivera: Acquired midway through the 2011 season, Rivera could never maintain the level he played upon his arrival to Los Angeles. He homered in his first at-bat as a Dodger and batted .274 with 46 RBI’s in his 62 games as a Dodger in 2011. However, he battled injuries in the 2012 season and lost playing time with the acquisition of Victorino in July. He only batted .244 with 47 RBI’s in 109 games played this year. With an already crowded outfield and Adrian Gonzalez at first base, the Dodgers did not exercise their option on Rivera.
10. Matt Treanor: The lack of a quality back-up catcher proved to be a big problem as the season wore on for the Dodgers. Starting catcher A.J. Ellis caught an amazing 133 games in 2012. The high volume of games eventually wore on Ellis as he endured a major slump in the last month of the season.
When you look at the Giants, their backup catcher, Hector Sanchez appeared in 74 games and batted .280. That production was huge in allowing star slugger Buster Posey to have a day off or play first base. Treanor was never able to provide any punch in his role. He batted only .175 in his 36 games played. He will not be back with the Dodgers next season, as they declined their option on him.