The calendar has turned to December, meaning the top executives from each organization and the top agents from around the league gather for the winter meetings. These meetings could determine the shape of the league for years to come. At this year’s meetings in Nashville, teams will go in with a specific goal that they believe will improve their team in 2024 or the future.
Here is each NL West team’s winter meetings goal now that every other division has already been covered.
The Goal For Each NL West Team at the Winter Meetings
LA Dodgers: Bring in starting pitching or Shohei Ohtani
The LA Dodgers have been preparing for this off-season for years. The prospect of signing two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani has been in the back of the minds of the Dodgers’ front office for multiple years. They shed some payroll this past season to make sure they could hand out the largest contract in baseball history and they appear to be the favorites to do exactly as they set out to do.
Ohtani would solve many problems for them, he immediately makes the best top three in any lineup in baseball (possibly ever) with Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman and in 2025 would join the rotation as a key part of that pitching staff.
However, if they don’t sign Ohtani, they can still add to a starting rotation that was their weakness last season. With the payroll flexibility and prospect capital, they have no player is off limits, they could sign anyone from Blake Snell to Yoshinobu Yamamoto to Jordan Montgomery or trade for the likes of Dylan Cease, Tyler Glasnow, Shane Bieber, or Corbin Burnes. No matter what happens though, the Dodgers will make noise this winter.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Sign a full-time DH
The Arizona Diamondbacks had a better season than anyone could have imagined in 2023. Not only making the postseason but making it to the World Series was far beyond the expectations that were set for this extremely young team still thought to be in a transition phase. Now, after acquiring Eugenio Suarez from the Seattle Mariners earlier in the off-season they will look to the free agent market to plug some holes in the offense and build on their success in 2024.
The biggest hole right now is at DH and with several veteran DHs on the open market this shouldn’t be hard to solve. Veterans like Jorge Soler, JD Martinez, Joc Pederson, or Justin Turner could be solutions at DH or they could look for an outfielder and rotate guys through the DH spot. That could mean Teoscar Hernandez, Michael Brantley, or a reunion with Tommy Pham. The Diamondbacks have several options to fill that last spot in their lineup and will look to improve their offense in Nashville.
San Diego Padres: Trade Juan Soto
Four years ago it seemed like the San Diego Padres were going to be one of the best teams in baseball for years with a top farm system and stars like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado to build around. Since then has been a display of how not to execute the end of a rebuild. Trading away many of their top prospects for older players and signing free agents to massive contracts that have no hope of ending with a positive return.
This week the Padres have a golden opportunity to undo some of the damage that has been done to this team over the last couple of years by trading superstar outfielder Juan Soto. To be clear, there is no hope for the Padres to get back anything close to the insane prospect package they gave up to acquire him in the first place but they can replenish the system enough to help them stay competitive over the next several seasons. Either way, they need to get something back for him before he leaves in free agency at the end of the season.
San Francisco Giants: Leave Nashville with a superstar
This was the goal of the San Francisco Giants front office last off-season when they went after every superstar on the market but came up empty. One year later the Giants still have enough payroll flexibility to go big in the free-agent market and are in just as much need for a top player to lead them back into the playoffs.
Ohtani is obviously the top target but that is seeming increasingly unlikely, despite that though the Giants remain among the favorites for top international stars Yamamoto and KBO outfield prodigy Jung Hoo Lee. Other options could be Snell, Cody Bellinger, or Matt Chapman. Whether it is the smart decision to bring in a superstar or not, the Giants will make every effort to leave Nashville with a new face of the franchise.
Colorado Rockies: Trade big league veterans for prospects
There’s no way to sugarcoat it, the Colorado Rockies are in the midst of a full rebuild. Recently there have been some signs of a bright future from Ezequiel Tovar, Nolan Jones, and Brenton Doyle among others, but this is still a team in a pretty dire situation. Lucky for them though they have veteran pieces who could be traded to build even more depth in the farm system, they just need to pull the trigger and make some deals.
Who they would decide to move depends on when they think they’ll be competitive again. If the Rockies believe they’ll be good in the next few seasons they could deal franchise icon Charlie Blackmon, infielder Brendan Rodgers, or starter German Marquez. If they think it will take longer than that they could also deal starters Kyle Freeland, Antonio Senzatela and Austin Gomber, or third baseman Ryan McMahon. Ideally, they could also off-load the albatross contract they gave Kris Bryant in 2021 but it’s unlikely any other team would want him.
Overall, the NL West looks like it will be one of the most competitive divisions in baseball over the next few seasons. With three financial powerhouses in the Dodgers, Padres, and Giants to compete against the up-and-coming Diamondbacks, this division is going to be a heavyweight fight from start to finish for years to come. That’s why every team in this division is going to take this opportunity to load up their rosters in Nashville.
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