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.
Tonight, in the Chilean Patagonia town of Cochrane, an elderly couple entered the restaurant where I was eating dinner. They were both wearing Blue Jays jerseys. I asked if they were Canadian, and they responded they were Italian (but their son lives in Toronto).
International signing period results:
27 days until pitchers and catchers report to ST (February 16)
31 days until remaining squad reports to ST (February 20).
36 days until first spring training game against Milwaukee (February 25).
69 days until first game of the 2023 season (March 30).
Can’t come soon enough!
Spring Training will be very exciting this year with all the kids vying for starting roles. This seems like a big transition year for the team.
Bally Sports Network (which broadcasts games for 14 MLB teams and is a subsidiary of Diamond Sports, itself part of Sinclair Broadcast Group) may be in trouble because Diamond is potentially nearing bankruptcy. That could portend bad things for regional sports networks. However, there is one bright side: because of this MLB may be forced to look at its “antiquated blackout rules.”
That links to the St. Louis Dispatch and is behind a paywall now (my first pass was not). This NY Post article covers the same material.
The Dodgers avoided arbitration with all but one of their eligible players — Tony Gonsolin may be headed for a hearing.
I am currently in Futaleufú, the whitewater capital of Chile. Tomorrow I will meet with a friend living here who’s a Brewers fan and, a few years ago, we bet a dinner at the town’s best restaurant over whether Bellinger or Yelich would be MVP. I haven’t been able to collect until now.
Did you two previously wager on Braun-Kemp?
No, we didn’t know each other then.
Menos mal! Can imagine your reluctance in paying off a wager for that MVP*
Is trout on the menu?
It could be. I’ll try to post a photo or two.
No really good food shots, but this is my Brewers fan friend settling the bill. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/22a2f776d63f61e362a6bc072f68c8c90c213cd0cdb71ebcd9f438c0ee85f0a1.jpg
The Dodgers as usual avoid arbitration with several team members (in fifteen years they’ve only gone to arbitration hearings with two players). They made deals with Will Smith, Walker Buehler, Trayce Thompson and Dustin May. There are still six other arbitration-eligible players remaining — Julio Urías, Evan Phillips, Tony Gonsolin, Brusdar Graterol, Yency Almonte and Caleb Ferguson.
Will miss Trea, but glad they passed on giving big bucks/years to the older starters on the market. Leaves space/resources next year for reupping Julio, entering the Ohtani sweepstakes, and giving Klayton another year if he wants. While the bat is underwhelming, I like the great glove that Rojas gives the Dodgers a lot of flexibility in the infield and anchors CT3 to the outfield.
Bauer officially released. Gonna be interesting to see if any team will sign him.
The Trashtros would be the obvious fit.
Miguel Rojas is indeed a Dodger (assuming he passes a physical, which, after Correa’s travails in the past month, isn’t a sure thing). He’s got some Dodger history, too. The Dodgers are
I gotta say, the Dodgers got the better of that deal back in 2014. They still have Barnes, they flipped Heaney for Howie Kendrick, and they had several excellent years from Kiké before he left as a free agent for the Red Sox. And now they have Rojas back. They gave up Amaya,
Hanser Alberto signs minor-league contract with White Sox. He’ll be a non-roster player at their Major League camp this spring (hmm. Camelback, right? Awkward!).
Dodgers trade their #15 prospect Jacob Amaya to Marlins for SS Miguel Rojas.
Dodger staff is still better than SD. Good pitching beats good hitting.
First – I hope all my California friends are surviving the crazy weather that is happening right now. I can’t imagine being pounded by all that wind and rain. I have been thinking of you all quite a lot.
Second – I’m fine with the Dodgers off-season so far. Glad to see the end of contract with Bauer. And I’m fine with holding off big contracts this year and reload again next year.