Today in the baseball world, teams and players had to decide if they would extend qualifying offers or opt out of their current contracts, respectively. The Dodgers only had one player in this category—Kenley Jansen, who last week decided that he will chose to stay in Los Angeles for his last two years of his contract.
￼The Dodgers should be looking to upgrade their squad for next season. So which newly-free agents could be on the Dodgers radar?
Of course, we can start with the really big names, those of Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg. Cole was at the end of his contract with the Astros after being acquired from the Pirates, and Strasburg opted out of his remaining contract with the Nationals. Both these arms are next-level good, and would certainly be game changers come playoff time. But will the Dodgers spend the big bucks to give their rotation a huge boost? History says no, as the Dodgers tend not to sign the big name free agents for long-term mega money. The Dodgers already have a decent rotation, even without Cy Young finalist Hyun-Jin Ryu. I would absolutely love to see either Cole or Strasburg in Dodger Blue, but I give it a very small chance of happening.
We discussed the possibility of signing Anthony Rendon a couple weeks ago. I don’t think there is a huge chance of that happening either, although again, Rendon’s another player that I would love to see on the team.
A possible lower-level acquisition could be righty pitcher Zack Wheeler. The former Met doesn’t seem like a flashy signing, but he’s coming off his lowest walk rate, walking 2.4 per nine innings and striking out one per inning. Projections have him coming in about four years and $90 million. The competition for him will be fierce, but I’m sure the Dodgers will definitely be doing their due diligence on him.
The best outfielder on the market is Nicholas Castellanos, but the Dodgers are not really in the market for another outfielder right now, especially since the signing of A.J. Pollock hasn’t worked out so well up until this point.
Will Smith, the reliever, is conceivably the best bullpen arm out there for the taking. He would be most likely looking for a three to four year deal worth $35-40 million and has a qualifying offer attached to him. I’m sure the Dodgers will be in on him, but most likely won’t put up that much for a reliever.
Drew Pomeranz is a once starter-turned reliever who dominated in his new role in the second half of 2019. He struck out half the batters he faced. Small sample size for sure, but someone the Dodgers could definitely sign at a reasonable rate and use to their advantage.
Many of these free agents are represented by Scott Boras, a big proponent of opt outs. The Dodgers would be one team that could use this to their advantage. They could offer a bigger AAV, for just a few years and allow the player to test the market again in a shorter time.
The Dodgers front office is creative and hopefully will use the last three years as incentive to make a significant signing this off season.