Happy New Year! Our first full week of the New Year begins and guess what Dodger fans, still nothing new to talk about.
This offseason has been sputtering along with some trades and signings here and there, but so far, nothing to get too excited about.
Unless, of course, you are the San Diego Padres, who made a flurry of moves, adding both Yu Darvish and Blake Snell to their rotation via trades, while also signing Ha-soeng Kim from Korea to their bolster their infield. They can watch as the rest of the offseason unfold knowing they’ve already made their big moves.
Why is the off-season so quiet so far? Well, with everything else in life, the pandemic has brought most things to a screeching halt. Owners lost a ton of money between the shortened season and no fans in the stands. (These are billion dollar corporations but we’ll ignore that little factoid for now). Clubs are unwilling to over pay for new talent, or in some cases, not pay at all. Some clubs will stand pat until they can earn some revenue again, and others will just wait out the offseason to see who they can get on the cheap.
Will the Dodgers make a big move to counter the moves made by the Padres? The first thing that pops into my head is no. To begin with, that is not President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman’s MO. He’s always thinking three steps ahead of what fans think and probably even saw the moves the Padres made coming.
BUT. Friedman is always tinkering, always working out how the team could be better. He has stated that his main goals this winter were to better the bullpen and get a right handed bat.
The bullpen he has already added to, to what benefit remains to be seen. But the right handed bat is still the unfinished part of the equation. Where things stand now: Justin Turner wants a four-year contract; but at age 36, the Dodgers are unlikely to give him a contract longer than two years. The rumor mill is still hot about the Dodgers being interested in DJ LeMehieu, but he is seeking a four-to-five year contract worth $125MM, and that would put the Dodgers over the luxury tax.
Do the Dodgers need to do anything? Again, the quick answer is no. Of course, they will sign a right-handed bat, but it might not be any of the “big” names out there. They could convince Turner to come back for a shorter amount of years than he’s looking for. Or….
Something does keep nagging about the Dodgers interest in LeMehieu. In the past, Los Angeles has been tied to every big name free agent because A) they had to money to be, and B) they hadn’t signed one yet. But now, they did land one in Mookie Betts, and they are one of only a handful who could still afford to add another big-name free agent. They have to power to one-up the Padres and everyone else again with their financial prowess.
Whether they will or not is most likely a scenario we won’t see for a few weeks or so. The Dodgers like to do their inquires, but still lay back and see how the market unfolds. No doubt Freidman has something up his sleeve that will keep the Dodgers at the top of the baseball food chain for years to come.