Jan 23

Hot Stove League #5, 2022-2023

No major player moves to report. The Dodgers signed RHP Tyler Cyr to a minor league contract. The Phillies had let him go this past season and the As picked him up.

Cyr was released by the A’s on January 13 to make roster room for new signee Shintaro Fujinami. After clearing waivers, Cyr was released on Tuesday.

The right-hander made his major league debut last August with the Phillies, but after one game was claimed off waivers by Oakland. Cyr, who was born in Freemont, pitched in 11 games for his hometown team. In all, he had a 2.70 ERA with 16 strikeouts and five walks in 13⅓ innings in his first year in the majors.

In 39 games in Triple-A for Lehigh Valley and Las Vegas in 2022, Cyr had a 2.85 ERA with 45 strikeouts and 23 walks in 41 innings.

The Dodgers also added Chris Woodward to their front office as a special assistant. He was their third-base coach from the 2016 through 2018 seasons before the Texas Rangers hired him as manager. They fired him midway through the 2023 season as the team was struggling to a 51-63 record.

Jan 11

Hot Stove League #4, 2022-2023

The LA Times’s Jack Harris offers a recap and analysis of the Dodgers’ relative inactivity this offseason.

For most of Andrew Friedman’s tenure as the club’s president of baseball operations, this is how the Dodgers have operated.

They’ll flex their financial muscle on deals they believe to be worth the value, but rarely expand their financial strike zone beyond what they deem a deal to be worth.

In recent offseasons, that has meant hanging around “the backboard,” as Friedman likes to say, in hopes of scooping up a loose superstar on the rebound.

Sometimes it works, such as their blockbuster trade and extension for Mookie Betts in 2020, or the shock signing of Freddie Freeman after the league’s lockout last spring. Sometimes it doesn’t, such as when the Dodgers missed out on Bryce Harper in 2018 and Gerrit Cole in 2019.

But for a club that prioritizes “sustained success” — another Friedman principle — and considers multi-year outlooks when constructing its roster and payroll, it has become the default course of action.

This winter proved no different.

While Rodón and Jacob deGrom got nine-figure guarantees, the Dodgers filled out their pitching staff with Noah Syndergaard and Shelby Miller (they were also heavily linked with Seth Lugo).

While Trea Turner, Bogaerts and Correa secured long-term deals, the Dodgers added J.D. Martinez on a one-year deal, and Jason Heyward and Steven Duggar on minor league contracts (they also made a strong push for Kevin Kiermaier).

The team never completely abandoned the thought of another marquee signing. With Dansby Swanson, for example, they positioned themselves as a shorter-term alternative for the All-Star shortstop in case he didn’t get the mega-deal he was seeking. Swanson eventually agreed to a seven-year contract with the Chicago Cubs before the holidays.

But in the end, the Dodgers effectively decided to double-down on themselves, bypassing the very top of the free-agent market with the belief they could contend in 2023 in other, less expensive ways.

I don’t have major complaints about the team’s unwillingness to spend a fortune on long multi-year contracts for guys in their thirties, although I’d like to have seen them keep Trea Turner and re-sign Justin Turner (for a lot less than Trea). We’ll just have to wait and see how this younger team does and trust that Friedman and Company will be able to find competent help at the trade deadline.

Dec 27

Hot Stove League #3, 2022-2023

The Dodgers’ apparent attempt to stay below the luxury tax cutline was thrown into turmoil by MLB’s reinstatement of Trevor Bauer.

Whether or not the Dodgers release him, Bauer will still be owed $22.5 million this season. (That could drop to about $21.8 million if he is released and signed by another team on a league-minimum salary.)

That’s less than the $32 million Bauer was originally supposed to make in 2023. But even that reduced amount pushes the Dodgers’ estimated luxury tax payroll for next season, according to Fangraphs Roster Resource database, to just under $233 million — the threshold at which the league begins assessing luxury tax penalties.

After paying tax penalties the past two years, and facing an inflated 50% tax rate in 2023 for being a repeat offender, the Dodgers had previously seemed likely to stay below the $233-million tax line.

They had freed up more than $100 million in salary from last year’s team. They had made only a string of modest one-year signings so far this offseason. And though their lack of spending had netted an underwhelming cast of additions for next year, the long-term benefits of potentially resetting the tax now would have positioned them to spend big again next offseason, when Shohei Ohtani is set to headline the free agent market.

Bauer’s reduced suspension could complicate any such plans.

Staying below the tax line could box the Dodgers out from making other needed additions to the roster in 2023 — such as adding more pitching depth or a left-handed bat before the end of the winter, or trading for a shortstop or bona fide ace before the midsummer deadline.

On the other hand, if they do cross the threshold to complete their 2023 squad, the resulting penalties might make them less willing to pay a luxury tax again the following season, leaving the possibility of adding another lucrative long-term contract a year from now increasingly tenuous.

Given the team’s reluctance to sign Carlos Correa due to possible fan resistance, I can’t imagine them keeping Bauer, even though he’s been convicted of no crimes. I imagine there’s some heavy cogitation going on in the offices at 1000 Elysian Park Avenue.

Dec 10

Hot Stove League #2, 2022-2023

The Dodgers have not re-signed Justin Turner. They have lost Craig Kimbrel, Tyler Anderson, Cody Bellinger, Chris Martin, Tommy Kahnle, Andrew Heaney, and Trea Turner to free agency or non-renewal of club option. David Price is a free agent and the Dodgers have expressed no interest in re-signing him. They have not signed Aaron Judge or Xander Bogaerts or Dansby Swanson (although he’s still available) or Justin Verlander or Jacob DeGrom. They’ve signed Shelby Miller and Jason Heyward; amusingly, the Braves traded Heyward to the Cardinals for Miller in 2014.

All in all, so far the Dodgers have made no external moves to meet any of their needs at shortstop, center field, or starting pitching, although Clayton Kershaw is coming back. There’s plenty of time to do so; spring training won’t start until February 14.

The fans are restless.

Nov 25

Hot Stove League, Black Friday Edition

Rumor has it that there are at least four teams interested in the non-tendered Cody Bellinger.

MLB insider Jon Heyman joined Chicago’s 670 The Score radio station to talk MLB rumors. He said there’s at least four teams that he’s heard connected with the Dodgers’ centerfielder.

“I have heard Bellinger connected with the Cubs. Bellinger certainly would fit the White Sox,” Heyman said. “I’ve heard him with Astros, Jays, Cubs, I’m sure the Yankees, as well, would be interested in Bellinger.”

Heyman said that on a sports radio show. In a column at the New York Post he upgraded the number of interested teams to eleven!

From the same source, the Dodgers are expressing interest in Carlos Rodón, who spent last year with the Giants and posted a 14-8 record with an ERA 2.88 and a WHIP of 1.03.

Nov 06

Initial Dodger Outlook 2023

MLB Trade Rumors has the official status of each of the Dodgers who were on the roster at the end of the 2022 season.

From guaranteed contracts to free agents, nearly everyone we know is listed, and there are a couple I don’t know too.

Here’s the LA Times’ Houston Mitchell with his own roundup at Dodgers Dugout. Mitchell does a little more explaining of the rules and conditions for each status.

Nov 05

World Series Game Six, 2022

Phillies at Astros, 5:03 PM PDT, TV: Fox

The Phillies ask RHP Zack Wheeler (12-7, 2.82 ERA regular season; 1-2, 2.67 ERA postseason) to stop the Astros’ seeming juggernaut and force a Game Seven. The Astros hand the ball to LHP Framber Valdez (17-2, 2.82 ERA regular season; 2-0, 1.42 ERA postseason) and ask him to finish the Series tonight.

Today in baseball history is mostly filled with managerial moves, including Chuck Tanner’s ascent to the Pirates, Burleigh Grimes to the Dodgers, and Paul Molitor to the Twins.

Nov 03

World Series Game Five, 2022

Astros at Phillies, 8:03 PM PDT, TV: Fox

RHP Justin Verlander (18-4, 1.75 ERA regular season; 1-0, 7.20 ERA postseason) will pitch for the Astros and RHP Noah Syndergaard (5-2, 4.12 ERA regular season; 0-0, 1.69 ERA postseason) will pitch for the Phillies. The Series is tied at two games apiece.

It wasn’t until 1953 that baseball’s rules were changed to require players to bring their gloves into the dugout when the third out of a half-inning was recorded. Also, Sandy Koufax and Greg Maddux received Cy Young Awards, and Nomar Garciaparra won the Rookie of the Year Award. These events and more took place this day in baseball history.

Nov 02

World Series Game Four, 2022

Astros at Phillies, 5:03 PM EDT, TV: FOX

The Astros give the ball to RHP Cristian Javier (11-9, 2.54 ERA regular season; 1-0, 1.35 ERA postseason). He’ll face the Phillies’ RHP Aaron Nola (11-13, 3.25 ERA regular season; 2-1,l 4.57 ERA postseason).

Today in baseball history has been mostly postseason award announcements, with one notable exception: in 2016 the Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years.

Oct 31

World Series Game Three, 2022

Astros at Phillies, 5:03 PM PDT, TV: Fox

The Astros hand the ball to RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (4-2, 2.27 ERA regular season; 0-0, 2.45 ERA postseason). He’ll face the Phillies’ RHP Noah Syndergaard (5-2, 4.12 ERA regular season; 0-0, 1.69 ERA postseason) LHP Ranger Suárez (10-7, 3.65 ERA regular season; 1-0, 1.86 ERA postseason). The postponement helped the Phillies, as Syndergaard hasn’t pitched much recently and probably couldn’t have gone more than three or four innings. Suárez has been a workhorse for the Fightin’ Phils.

A Jeter home run, an A-Rod home run following the first use of instant replay, the first and last instance of the Cy Young Award being earned by the brother (Gaylord) of a previous winner (Jim) and a whole lot of hirings and firings of managers. That’s what took place October 31 in baseball history.

On November 1 in baseball history Campanella won the first of three MVP Awards, Koufax won the last of his three Cy Young Awards, in 2007 two Japanese pitchers combined for a perfect game to win the Japan Series and in 2015 the Royals won the World Series for the first time in 30 years.

In Dodgers news, Justin Turner is this year’s winner of the Roberto Clemente Award. Congratulations to him and his wife Kourtney!