‘Tis the season for family gatherings, Winter Meetings, and wondering what the front office of the Dodgers will do during the offseason.
There have already been quite a few rumblings of supposed trades or free agent signings. The Dodgers have been supposedly interested in trading for J.T. Realmuto of the Miami Marlins, Corey Kluber and Yan Gomes of the Cleveland Indians. They have also been part of ridiculous rumor that they would sign free agent Bryce Harper for a 14 year, $420 million contract.
The overall feeling, though, is that the Dodgers are not going to make a big splash in the offseason market. We had discussed previously that Friedman and Company told their shareholders that their goal was to stay under the luxury tax for each of the next four seasons.
The Dodgers don’t seem to be too interested in re-signing free agent Manny Machado, and while he is a generational talent, they don’t really have the need for him with the imminent return of Corey Seager. Harper, similarly, has an incredible amount of talent, but the Dodgers have young, good, controlled outfielders. Yasiel Puig is only under team control until the end of next season, but along with Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson and Chris Taylor, all of them had similar or better stats than Harper did last year. They also have their No. 1 prospect ready to patrol the outfield in Alex Verdugo. Harper would be an expensive luxury the front office may not wish to splurge on, especially when the team needs a catcher and bullpen help more.
So needing a catcher and relievers, the Dodgers won’t really do nothing. But they very well could continue to do a series of smaller, less exciting moves that fulfill the roster needs without making a huge financial and newsworthy splash. As we have talked about before, there is not a huge market for catchers. Realmuto is the best player out there for acquiring, but most likely would take more than the Dodgers would like to give up. Yesterday, Dennis took an in depth look at what trading with the Indians might take. He made the point that the Dodgers are pretty well set with their starting rotation. The Dodgers would likely have to be able to make a really great deal to acquire any big names there.
Most of the players from the Dodgers’ last two World Series runs are still with the team, and if they perform as they have been, the Los Angeles should have no problem winning the NL West for a seventh consecutive year. None of the other teams in the division, at this point, look like they’ll make upgrades that make them competitive.
From there, it would be what teams in the other NL divisions decide to do. The Cubs look to be quite over the off-season. For NL teams, the pundits’ favorites for both Harper and Machado seem to the Philadelphia Phillies and the St Louis Cardinals. Would the addition of either or both of the aforementioned players be enough to put them over the jump to getting through the playoffs to the World Series?
That remains to be seen, but is it a chance the Dodgers want to take? As much as I personally would like to see the Dodgers go all in and get that WS, I have a feeling that they will not spend lavishly. A lot of Dodger fans may be disappointed, as the 2018 offseason was touted as being full of big available names, and that the Dodgers were saving money so they could go in on those names. I don’t see that happening, and fans should be prepared.