10/22/2003 12:30 PM ET
Evans on quest for improvement
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
Dan Evans says a decision has not been made about a position switch for Shawn Green. (Ben Platt/MLB.com)
LOS ANGELES -- While the bankers and lawyers put together the deal to sell the Dodgers to Frank McCourt, general manager Dan Evans is doing more than insisting that it's business as usual.
Evans has brought his player-personnel braintrust to Los Angeles this week to analyze the team's needs and formulate off-season strategy to address those needs.
"Clearly, our offensive approach has to improve," he said of the Dodgers' offense, which was last in the league in runs, average, RBIs, and on-base and slugging percentage.
"We did poorly with runners in scoring position and, overall, our offensive production -- encompassing a number of categories. That is where we will be locking in," he added. "Everyone knows the areas we need to improve upon going into the off-season."
Last week, in Vero Beach, Fla., Evans and his staff analyzed the team's minor league system. That information will be incorporated into this week's meetings.
"We will decide which minor leaguers might help us on the Major League level," he said. "We'll evaluate our Major Leaguers, our players rehabilitating from injuries, players available on the free-agent market, players we might want to target on other clubs who would be good fits here. Last year in this meeting, we stressed the philosophical approach. This year the focus is entirely on improving our big-league team in 2004."
Evans doesn't shy away from the uncertainty that comes with a change in ownership. He knows that his contract, and that of field manager Jim Tracy, runs through 2004, and he is proceeding accordingly. In addition, he doesn't know the payroll he will have at his disposal.
"First we'll decide where the areas are that we want to target," he said. "It's much easier, then, to take the payroll and utilize that amount to the best of our ability. We'll get the number sometime soon. Until then I'm not worried about it. We can't sign [other clubs'] free agents now, anyway."
According to Evans, decisions have not been made on position switches for Shawn Green and Paul Lo Duca, and he has not discussed the subject with either player. He also has not begun contract talks with any of the Dodgers' 10 potential free agents, including Jeromy Burnitz, Tom Martin and Wilson Alvarez. Paul Quantrill has an escape clause that could allow him to become a free agent as well.
Evans has not officially acted on options for Brian Jordan and Andy Ashby, although it is common knowledge that the club will not exercise those options. Combined with allowing Fred McGriff to leave via free agency, the decisions will free up nearly $20 million in salary.
We either make ourselves happy or miserable.
The amount of work is the same.