An Early Free Agent Wishlist for Dodgers

While there isn’t any baseball until late February when pitchers and catchers report to spring training, it doesn’t mean baseball takes a break, as many activities continue year-round. Teams have begun to hire new managers, and soon teams will look to make free-agent offseason splashes. While the winter meetings may not be the same as previous years, baseball fans across the world will be refreshing their Twitter feed to hear the latest rumors as the offseason progresses.

The 2020 World Series Champion Dodgers have seven free agents in Pedro Baez, Kike Hernandez, Jake McGee, Joc Pederson, Blake Treinen, Justin Turner, and Alex Wood, all of whom played pivotal roles throughout the regular season and postseason. Whether they re-sign or not, their contributions to the Dodgers will always be remembered.

Here, in this wishlist, I will target players who I think the Dodgers have a good chance of signing or re-signing due to a number of different reasons.

Liam Hendriks—Right-handed Reliever, Oakland Athletics

Liam Hendriks is probably the number one reliever on the market this offseason. The Australian closer won the 2020 Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award. Hendriks is 31 years old and was an All-Star in 2019. He tallied 14 saves in 2020, which was second in the majors. He also posted a 1.78 ERA and 37 strikeouts and a 0.671 WHIP. Hendriks has shown he can go multiple innings, as he recorded a three-inning save in the postseason against the Astros.

There will be many suitors for the services of Hendriks. The Dodgers have three relievers on the free-agent market like I previously mentioned. Whether they’re able to re-sign any of them is uncertain, if they are unable, they could go after Hendriks. With no clear closer, and Kenley Jansen having seemingly lost his efectiveness, the Dodgers could pursue Hendriks. This season, Treinen, Jansen, Joe Kelly, Brusdar Graterol, and Julio Urias all saved games for the Dodgers. The ultimate wish here would be for the Dodgers to sign Hendriks while also retaining Treinen, although that could be quite pricey.

Justin Turner—Third Baseman, Los Angeles Dodgers

Yes I know, Turner isn’t necessarily a new addition to the team, as he’s been with the Blue Crew for a while. It is hard to envision Turner leaving the Dodgers at this point, and it only seems right he retires a Dodger. Turner will be 36 in late November and is nearing the end of his career. The Dodgers definitely got an all-time franchise steal when they signed him to a minor league Contract back in 2014.

This postseason Turner became the all-time Dodger leader in playoff hits passing Steve Garvey. Turner hit .307 in 2020 along with four homers and 23 RBI. His defense at third base also was crucial, showing up with a double play in Game 7 of the NLCS among his many web gems this year. He showed leadership in the clubhouse and was a crucial part of this Dodger team. In all likelihood, Turner may re-sign with the Dodgers on a short-term deal.

Marcus Stroman—Right-Handed Starting Pitcher, New York Mets

This last one came down to two pitchers, Trevor Bauer and Marcus Stroman. Bauer certainly had a great year, but I feel there will be a lot of teams after his services, and he’ll get a lengthy contract, probably outside of the range the Dodgers would commit. I believe Stroman is more of a viable option for the Dodgers. Stroman, who’s 29, didn’t pitch in the 2020 season for the Mets. He’s struggled with injuries the past couple of seasons, but he was an All-Star his last full season in the majors in 2019.

Many fans may remember the great pitching display he put on during the World Baseball Classic back in 2017, earning him MVP honors for the tournament. In the 2019 campaign, he posted a 3.22 ERA and 159 strikeouts over 184 ⅓ innings pitched. Due to his history with injuries, teams may be reluctant to sign Stroman, giving the Dodgers a better chance. Starting pitching has been one of the Dodgers strong suits in recent years, and if the Dodgers don’t sign any starting pitching, there are certainly options within the organization. They definitely have the arms to repeat as champions, but it wouldn’t hurt to add.

16 thoughts on “An Early Free Agent Wishlist for Dodgers

  1. Hot Stove, most fun time of the year (except for the 60 seconds after we won it all).
    Hendriks – we’ve got interpreters for the Spanish speaking guys on the team and had interpreters for the Japanese and Korean guys we used to have. If we sign Liam, do we have to get an Australian interpreter? :). Yes I’m on board with trying to get him.
    JT – absolutely
    Bauer or Stroman – a strong No from me on this one Jose. We just won a World Series with a Buehler who took quite awhile to get going and fought blisters all year, May and Gonsolin who had basically their first experience pitching any amount of innings and no David Price. I absolutely don’t see the need for any more starters. Would love to add a couple of good relievers like Hand and Hendriks or others who might be available to sign or obtain in trade.
    Left fielder – assuming that Joc doesn’t return, I’d like to see us get a lefty hitting left fielder to platoon with Pollock. I would also like to see what Zach Reks has to offer. He’s had some very nice minor league seasons.

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    1. Not sure Jeff. Lots of questions about our starting pitching. Dodgers kind of confirmed this by using may, gonsolin and urias as either relievers or openers. Very reluctant to give them meaningful. Innings in the postseason and quick hooks. Our strength was supposed to be our starting pitching but we only used 2 starters . Not sure why but obviously there was no confidence there. Urias was lights out but not apparently considered a starter. Would have been a lot easier to have a bottom of the order starter go 5/6 innings in each round. I’ve always believed that at by 25 years old you should be established. May of course is a bit younger.

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  2. A great bullpen is absolutely necessary to win in the playoffs, as we just saw. Hendriks would be awesome, but would probably require a multi year contract. How about giving the Indians a low level prospect or a couple million dollars for Brad Hand’s one year $10M contract rights instead?

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    1. Apparently the Indians got the word out that they would be happy to do just that and nobody was willing. That’s why they have placed him on outright waivers. I could be wrong, but I don’t think they can call those back and now trade him. Either some team claims him and assumes the 10 mil salary, or the Indians will release him and have to pay the 1 mil fee that was part of the original option.

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  3. Yes on JT and Liam, no on Stroman or any other starter who is going to want a multiyear deal. Starter is one of their strongest positions. And they get Price back which is like getting a strong #4. Buehler, Kersh and Urias will be the 1-2-3. The kids will fight it out for # 5 and in some peoples minds, #6. So you have White, May, Gonsolin and Grey at that spot. I want a strong second closer type in the pen and both Hendricks and Hand could fill that role easily. Jansen will still be on the team, but in high leverage spots I think he will be used sparingly. I do not see any one getting more than a 2 year deal with all of the uncertainty right now. And 10 mil a year after they lose almost 2 billion across the league? Not many are going to get that. I think even Pederson who would have made 7.5 mil this year, gets 8 or less a year on a 3 year deal.

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    1. You say you don’t expect to see anyone getting more than a 2 year deal Bear.
      I think two exceptions to that will definitely be Realmuto and Springer. Steve Cohen is going to be spending like a drunken sailor. He has more money than any individual owner in baseball and doesn’t care about being profitable for the first few years he has the Mets. He’s going to love this.

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      1. Yeah, Cohen might for a player of Realmuto’s or Springer’s stature. But i don’t see the Dodgers doing that for any player except Turner. The mayor of NY does not really like Cohen much. He lobbied the owners to not confirm the sale.

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      2. De Blasio ultimately had to ok the Mets deal for them to be able to use the stadium and he did. I guess he figured he was already unpopular enough and didn’t want to make it worse.
        I can tell you that if Cohen ran against De Blasio for mayor today Cohen would win. Mets fans are salivating at the amount of money they expect him to spend.
        Turner won’t cost nearly as much as Realmuto or Springer so no need for AF to spend that kind of money this winter unless for some reason he decides to try to extend Seager. Our main need is in the bullpen and even Hand or Hendriks aren’t going to cost the kind of money that Realmuto and Springer will get. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Mets get both of those guys.

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      3. I would love to see just once, 2 or 3 lock down guys out in our pen. It would be novel for sure. I think they might make a couple of trades. Beaty needs to go somewhere he can play.

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      4. Two lockdown guys – you mean other than Sborz and Alexander?
        Let’s say you could have your pick of Hand, Treinen or Hendriks for 2 years/18 mil. Would you pay that? If so, rank the order you would sign them in from 1 to 3.

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      5. Hard to argue with you there. I probably would have ranked them the same as you although I’m having a hard time separating Hendriks and Hand. Would be happy with either. I know Hand has lost velo each of the last two seasons but is still very effective. Treinen certainly wasn’t bad last year so if we couldn’t get either of the others it wouldn’t be the worst thing to have him back.

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      6. I totally agree. The only problem I had with Trienen was his fall off during the playoffs. But most of that was based on one bad inning. He got the job done most of the time.

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  4. I’m still trying to get over my amazement that nobody claimed Brad Hand off waivers for $10M. What does this mean? Probably a good time to sign our young studs, Seager, Buehler, Bellinger, Urias, etc. to cheap long-term contracts. Additionally, a great time to take advantage of cash strapped teams. There is even going to be bargains in the free-agent market. What can Brad Hand/Liam Hendriks expect to sign for?

    I’m expecting Dodgers to enter 2021 stronger than ever. Bullpens win Championships and with Roberts handling the pitching staff, we need a deep one. Look for them to enter 2021 with AT LEAST 4 to 5 lockdown bullpen guys.

    Oh course, today’s low prices could all be a mirage, is sports team revenue going to be down forever or at least a long time? Is all this financial uncertainty China Virus related? Could be. But never a good idea to alienate half your customer base by involving yourself in the political world either. Interesting times!

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