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Dodgers Get Off To A Slow Start To The Winter, Too, And It’s Absolutely Fine

You know the drill. The bell rings in April and the Dodgers get off to a slow start. You can set your watch to it. They get off to a slow start to the offseason most years too, and you’re experiencing it now. It’s just that in the case of the latter, there’s a method to the madness.

Bryce Harper. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)ASSOCIATED PRESS

Andrew Friedman and his remaining elves have a plan this holiday season. We don’t know what it is, but they have a plan. Bryce Harper? Maybe. A right-handed starter courtesy of the Cleveland Indians? Hope so. A Yasiel Puig trade? Could be.

Let’s review the accomplishments to date. One less cook in the kitchen? Check. A new contract for Clayton Kershaw? Check. Changes to the coaching staff? Check. Contract offers for the arbitration-eligible? Check. And a new one for the skipper just this morning? Check. End of list.

But it’s all good. Totally fine. The Dodgers are shopping for a catcher, a second baseman, a shutdown reliever and perhaps a starting pitcher. The first three are dire necessities, the club is waiting out the market, and the best players are still available in all three cases.

Catchers snapped up by other clubs to date include free agents Kurt Suzuki and Brian McCann (so what?) and the traded Yan Gomes. Gomes is a solid player, but J.T. Realmuto is a better one, and a trade with Miami remains a possibility. A cheaper-in-terms-of-chips deal with the Bucs for Francisco Cervelli is too. Jonathan Lucroy is liable to be a bargain for someone, and perhaps Los Angeles. The catcher vacancy will be properly filled.

Solutions for the keystone abound as well. All the guys mentioned here last week remain options. With the blockbuster Phils-Mariners to be completed immenently, and Jean Segura-to-2B-in-Philly a distinct possibility, Cesar Hernandez is more likely to be dealt than he was before. And he was likely to be dealt before. Hernandez is not my favorite — Jed Lowrie is an absolutely perfect fit — but he brings value. See for yourself and let me know what you think.

I’m not going to pretend to know what Friedman has up his sleeve for the bullpen, but I believe there’s something up there. With Zaidi in San Francisco and AF in the spotlight alone, for better or worse, he’s not going to go another year without what everyone in the industry knows is a must-have for L.A. He’s not going to come up short yet again in October because of the damn bullpen.

There’s been very little action on the RP front so far. Pretty much everybody known to be available a month ago is available now. Here’s a list of the free agents relievers. A trade could come down at any point; say, at the Winter Meetings next week in Las Vegas, on Christmas morning, or Valentine’s Day.

By now you’ve heard the rumors about Corey Kluber. Of course, as is always the case with these things, a boulder of salt is required. Practically every team is interested in every player. And I’m interested in Kate Upton. Every rumor out there is sourced by someone with an agenda; by a player agent more often than not.

Kluber could end up in Los Angeles, with the Mets, with God-knows-what-other-club or finish his career in Cleveland. He’d be a bleeping great Dodger. I mean, great. Better-than-Kershaw-great. So stay tuned.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Cesar Hernandez (16) runs the bases after hitting a home run in the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Dodgers are interested in Yusei Kikuchi, who’s just been posted by the Seibu Lions, too. Yet another lefty for the rotation? Sure, it could happen.

More can happen between today and Opening Day than I can shake a Dodgers Christmas globe at. Your presents are coming, OK? They’re just not under the tree yet. In other words, patience Grasshopper.

And remember, glove conquers all.

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