As busy and expensive as it was, the Dodgers' off-season mostly held true to expectations.

Clayton Kershaw got a seven-year contract worth $215 million. Don Mattingly got his coveted extension in the form of a new three-year deal. The Yankees threw a ton of money at Masahiro Tanaka, so the Dodgers enter camp with only five healthy starting pitchers. How cliche.

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti spent the winter listening to trade offers for his well-paid outfielders, but didn't pull the trigger on any blockbusters. So the Dodgers' roster looks mostly familiar with a few notable tweaks as pitchers and catchers report to spring training today. Essentially, Colletti must be counting on those tweaks and some healthy superstars to help the Dodgers improve on a 2013 season that ended with a loss in the National League Championship Series.

The Dodgers handed out $78.35 million in guaranteed contracts to free agents this winter. What did that buy?

Third baseman Juan Uribe, and relievers Brian Wilson and J.P. Howell, all signed on to reprise their 2013 roles. Dan Haren signed a one-year, $10 million contract to replace Ricky Nolasco as the fourth starter. Former Indians closer Chris Perez signed on to set up Kenley Jansen. Former Dodgers (and Rays, Rockies, Rangers, Mariners, Brewers, Royals, Indians, Giants and Cardinals) pitcher Jamey Wright becomes the long reliever again.


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The cost of building the bullpen alone was staggering. Together, Dodger relievers will earn roughly $26 million in actual salary in 2014. That doesn't include deferred signing bonus payments, salaries for players with 0-3 years' service time (such as Paco Rodriguez, Chris Withrow and Jose Dominguez), or the actual closer — Jansen has yet to re-sign. That's an eye-popping number.

Maybe the biggest individual surprise is Wilson, who drew interest from the Yankees and Tigers, two teams that expect to contend in 2014, to be their closer. Instead, Wilson chose to be baseball's highest-paid eighth-inning man in Los Angeles for $10 million and a player option for 2015.

For a team that fell two games short of a pennant in 2013, no major changes were needed. We got none.

5 QUESTIONS

1. When (and where) will Matt Kemp be playing every day?

Hold the cliche machine: Kemp is not in the best shape of his life. With Opening Day six weeks away, he still isn't running on a left ankle that was surgically repaired in October. Kemp recently vowed not to come back prematurely, but didn't offer a specific timetable for his recovery. The center fielder did offer a specific job description — “I'm an everyday player” — but so are outfielders Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford when healthy.

2. Who will play second base?

Cuban import Alex Guerrero began taking reps at second base in recent months after sitting out the previous year altogether. Guerrero believes he can make the transition from shortstop smoothly, but how long will it take? The Dodgers have Justin Sellers, Dee Gordon and veteran non-roster invitees Justin Turner, Chone Figgins and Brendan Harris as fallback options in case Guerrero isn't ready by Opening Day.

3. Who will be the first players off the bench?

Ned Colletti wanted a younger team, so he gutted his aging bench. Nick Punto (A's), Skip Schumaker (Reds), Jerry Hairston Jr. and Michael Young (both retired) are gone. So is 36-year-old Mark Ellis, who would have been an ideal mentor to Guerrero. Gordon's speed and Scott Van Slyke's power are valuable assets; beyond them and catcher Tim Federowicz, there are no favorites to land the important bench jobs.

4. How much is Jansen worth?

The arbitration-eligible right-hander recently filed at $5.05 million, the Dodgers at $3.5 million. If the two sides can't find a number somewhere in the middle, an arbitration panel will have to pick one number or the other. Jansen was 28 for 32 in save situations last year and posted an otherwordly 6.17 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The converted catcher has never entered a season as the undisputed closer.

5. Will the kids be all right?

Highly touted outfield prospect Joc Pederson, along with pitchers Zach Lee, Ross Stripling and Chris Reed, received their first invitations to major-league spring training. More than an opportunity to earn Opening Day jobs, it's their chance to showcase the state of the Dodgers' farm system and possibly earn mid-season call-ups. How they perform will determine how soon the Dodgers can lean on their farm system for quality major-league depth.