Don Mattingly spoke to his players after the Dodgers' loss to the Mets Thursday night in Game 5 of the National League Division Series, and mentioned how abruptly this always seems to end. In one instant, you're fighting for a championship and one swing of the bat away from putting yourself in position to make that happen, and the next instant, you've been ejected from the postseason and the long winter has started.
As with all teams with huge payrolls, there could be lots of changes for the Dodgers.
Some moves the Dodgers should make this offseason.
1. Re-sign Zack Greinke, i.e., pay the man.
Greinke spoke with reporters after the Dodgers' loss and was asked about his future with the team. His personal preference was to work out a deal with the Dodgers months ago and that didn't happen, and since then, his leverage has only increased: He's coming off a season in which he posted the lowest ERA by any pitcher in two decades.
Greinke turns 32 later this month and generally the industry is veering away from giving mega long-term deals to older pitchers. But Greinke may be an outlier, because he is a phenomenal athlete, he is in excellent condition while having little history of arm trouble, and he knows how to pitch at different speeds. When he needed extra velocity against Yoenis Cespedes in Game 5, he pumped up his fastball to 95 mph, but also has a great changeup and breaking ball, and should transition well as he ages and loses some velocity.
There probably will be some team willing to give Greinke a five- or six-year deal, but the Dodgers should make this happen. This is their advantage (and the Yankees have it as well) as a team with a massive stack of chips: They can sign a player to a long-term deal without fretting about the production in the last couple of years of the contract.
It might not be the most efficient deal, but the Dodgers should worry about 2016 more than about Greinke's production in 2020. If they lose Greinke — a pitcher they know well, a pitcher who has performed for them — they will have to find somebody to replace the right-hander, who, along with Clayton Kershaw, propped up a flawed team and helped it win the NL West again.
Failing to sign Greinke would be a case of the Dodgers being penny-wise and pound-foolish. They need him, they can pay him, and they should pay him whatever it takes to keep him.
2. Decide whether Don Mattingly is the manager they want.