Offensive malfunctions caused the Dodgers to falter in September, but general manager Ned Colletti said his focus this winter is on the pitching staff -- adding a starter and trying to keep his bullpen together.
"I would say starting pitching is an area that we're going to have to seriously look at," Colletti said.
This spring, Ted Lilly will be coming off arthroscopic shoulder surgery and the Dodgers are preparing themselves for the possibility that Chad Billingsley will undergo Tommy John surgery that will cost him all of 2013. That means they enter the off-season with four starters: Clayton Kershaw, Chris Capuano, Josh Beckett and Aaron Harang. Joe Blanton is a free agent and unlikely to return.
It's not a particularly deep free agent market, but expect the Dodgers to be heavily engaged. They also could be in position to make a trade if another team is willing to move a top-flight starter for salary relief.
The top free agent this winter is Zack Greinke, but the Angels are likely to make a strong bid to retain him. Other possibilities are Ryan Dempster and James Shields, if the Tampa Bay Rays decline a $9 million option. The Dodgers also could check into acquiring Anibal Sanchez.
Colletti's priority in the bullpen is to hang onto closer Brandon League, who had a 0.73 ERA and was 6-for-6 in save opportunities after Aug. 11. League told ESPNLosAngeles.com Wednesday that he would like to re-sign with the Dodgers.
The Dodgers would prefer to keep Kenley Jansen in an eighth-inning role, though they're prepared to go into spring training with Jansen as the closer if they can't hold onto League. Jansen is scheduled to undergo a procedure in the coming weeks for the irregular heartbeat that has cost him time on the disabled list, but the Dodgers expect him to be fully cleared by spring training.