What I think has held up the Dodgers offseason

To say that the Dodgers were just two wins away from the World Series simply doesn’t cut it, anymore.

Not when we are approaching 30 years without the Dodgers in the World Series. Not when every other team in the division has been to the World Series since then. Not since the Angels won the title and the Giants won three.

And definitely not when those two games were a mirage. The suggestion that the Dodgers were just two unlucky games — just a whisker away — from beating the Cubs to get to the Fall Classic is absurd.

So it’s a tad alarming when you realize the team has probably regressed. Much of the roster is mostly intact, except for an abyss at second base since Chase Utley became a free agent and Howie Kendrick was traded to Philadelphia. Rumors online have linked LA to Minnesota’s 42 HR-hitting second baseman Brian Dozier and Logan Forsythe of Tampa Bay.

A Dozier trade would be somewhat costly. Prized prospect Jose DeLeon might be part of a package deal. How good is he? Last spring, he was No.3 on the Dodgers list of most valued minor leaguers. The other two? Corey Seager and Julio Urias are already in the majors. DeLeon is the next impact guy up.

So the question is: Why not add Dozier and be done with it? Especially when you have about a dozen starting pitchers currently under contract led by Clayton Kershaw?

Because the Dodgers see this guy in Tulsa, Okla., as a possible Dozier type if they’re patient.

Willie Calhoun was somewhat unheralded, drafted in the fourth round in 2015 likely because of defensive deficiencies and a poor season playing for the University of Arizona. In the Pac-12, Arizona wanted him to be a contact hitter. Once he left the school and started swinging with a little uppercut, Calhoun started crushing home runs. Last year, he was second in the Texas League with 27 home runs. Compare that with Dodgers first baseman of the future Cody Bellinger, who hit 23 in the same league.

Only Calhoun’s batting average is a somewhat unimpressive .254.

So the Dodgers have a bit of a conundrum. They can afford to wait with Bellinger, because they are happy with Adrian Gonzalez at first. They can keep their No.1 prospect and let Dozier hate life in the Twin Cities. If they do that, however, they take the risk of a platoon situation at second base with a basket of deplorables or rush Calhoun. They also could trade for Dozier. In doing so, the Dodgers lose a likely No.2-level starter in the process and find out that Calhoun was the next Dozier in the first place.

If you’re wondering why the Dodgers are sleeping through the offseason, my guess is this is why.

Because they’re hitting the snooze alarm, which likely means year 30 of the World Series drought is coming sooner than you think.

Curbing the enthusiasm at Dodger Stadium 

At some point, baseball sportswriters will give me whiplash from all the head shaking their brilliantly crafted flights of fantasy during the so-called hot stove league cause. In other words, if you thought every political pundit blew it on the presidential election — and except for Ann Coulter, they did — the sports department is following suit with their biannual roundup of all the great things the Dodgers are planning.

It’s all crap.

They’re not adding big-ticket free agents. If anything, they’ll be cutting payroll. It’s more likely they will bid adieu to virtually all of their free agents, including third baseman Justin Turner and closer Kenley Jansen.

But wait, fellow Dodgers fans wave their tablets in protest: Every website, even reputable ones such as ESPN, Fox and CBS, claim the Dodgers will go big-game hunting to catch up to the Cubs. After all, they have billions coming in from their TV deal and they attract almost 4 million fans every year. Besides, dammit, Magic Johnson wouldn’t let us down.

Oh, you’re going to be let down. An article in Saturday’s edition of the Los Angeles Times appears to have shed light on why the Dodgers have behaved like cheapskates since Andrew Friedman became the team’s grand poobah.

The upshot is this: The Dodgers lose money, lots of it. According to Forbes, they’re on the hook for as much as $400 million. You could even say all of that debt could be attributed to former owner Frank McCourt. The Guggenheim ownership group assumed $419 million in debt when it bought the team.

Moreover, the Dodgers are paying players handsomely for filling rosters on other teams, or for just staying at home. LA forked out $100 million to the likes of Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, Dee Gordon, etc.

Major League Baseball will only let a team have so much debt over time. The formula is 12 times annual revenue minus expenses. Should a team not lower that debt in a certain amount of time, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has 16 options for punishment. Those options include seeking league approval for any new expenses or suspending ownership/management.

What does that mean in the interim? The Dodgers $300 million payroll in 2015 is on a drastic downward arc. Think a cut of one-third from 2015 in a few years. Granted, a $200 million payroll should be a team that qualifies for the playoffs.

But improve enough to knock out the Cubs? That’s not happening next year unless Chicago gets destroyed by injuries.

I’m a Dodgers fan. I wish it weren’t so.

It is.