As if losing Seager and Scherzer and possibly Kershaw aren’t enough, now comes word that the Dodgers tried to extend RHP Walker Buehler’s contract last spring and he turned the offer down. Now, he’s under club control for another three years, hard as that may be to believe, but he’s in line for big raises through arbitration in each of the next two years, and by the time he hits free agency he’ll be about to enter his age-30 season in 2025. What if Turner, Kershaw, Bellinger and Urias are gone by that point? All of them will have completed their current contracts by that season. Will the team want to spend millions on one pitcher if the entire roster has been depleted?
Or maybe their roster will have been reloaded by then, given their Baseball American farm system ranking of #8. But is that a good bet?
The Dodgers announced a passel of front office moves today.
The Dodgers announced multiple front office moves Tuesday, including the promotion of former Vice President, Assistant General Manager Brandon Gomes to General Manager.
In addition, the Dodgers promoted Alex Slater to Vice President, Assistant General Manager, Brandon McDaniel to Vice President of Player Performance and Thomas Albert to Head Athletic Trainer. Damon Jones has also joined the Dodger front office as Vice President, Assistant General Manager & Baseball Legal Counsel.
Gomes, 37, becomes the 12th general manager in Dodgers history and the first since Farhan Zaidi departed to become the Giants’ President of Baseball Operations in November 2018.
As the lockout continues, the two parties have only met once, on Thursday, December 16, and apparently achieved nothing of any import. It’s unlikely there will be any further meetings until after the holidays.
A union source said Wednesday that since the sides met in Texas in the days leading up to the lockout, the union hasn’t heard from the league on any key economic issues. Now, the union hasn’t reached out on those issues either. But the MLBPA’s lead negotiator, Bruce Meyer, made clear when the lockout started the union felt it was incumbent on MLB to issue the next counterproposal.
Delaying any meaningful talks until January means that the two sides will have about a month before spring training is scheduled to begin. That will create pressure on both sides.
In other news, the Mets hired Buck Showalter as their new manager. He’s 1,551-1,517 (.506) with the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Rangers and Orioles in 20 big league seasons. Showalter is 64 years old.
As it stands, Max Scherzer and Corey Seager have left the Dodgers for greener pastures. Kenley Jansen may have found several teams willing to give him a longer term contract than the Dodgers are. They did re-sign Chris Taylor. Trea Turner can slide from second base to shortstop, where he’s played most of his MLB career. They’re hoping Max Muncy returns to full health, but he admitted earlier in the week that he’d torn his UCL in that last game and he wasn’t healing as quickly as he’d like.
They need starting pitching; right now they have Walker Buehler and Julio Urías. They need to re-sign Clayton Kershaw not just for sentimental reasons but because he’s still a very good starter. Their other starters include David Price and Tony Gonsolin and possibly newly-signed Andrew Heaney, whom they believe they can help improve and reduce his tendency to give up home runs.
Heaney has allowed home runs at a higher-than-average clip in three of the past four years, and he was among the game’s most homer-prone arms this past season. The former first-round pick allowed 2.01 HR per nine innings in 2021, a rate eclipsed by just five other hurlers (minimum 100 IP).
On the free agent market, the best starting pitching remaining includes Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Carlos Rodón. Trading for starters is another option, of course. And they’re waiting for Dustin May to rehabilitate from Tommy John surgery.
The lockout precludes any activities by teams or players until a new collective bargaining agreement is completed, so we may be in limbo for a while.