The offseason period picked up this week for the Los Angeles Dodgers with the arbitration-eligible settlements and the international signings as the headlines.
The Dodgers made several moves during the international signing period. Usually, the signing period is during the regular season, but with the pandemic and shortened season, it was moved to a better-suited time.
The prospect scored by Los Angeles who turned most heads was 17-year-old shortstop Wilman Diaz. The 6-foot-2 Diaz hails out of Venezuela and is regarded as one of the better players of this international class. Diaz was ranked the No. 3 overall prospect by MLB and No. 7 by baseball America.
Another signing by the Dodgers is fellow Venezuelan catcher Jesus Galiz, who is also 17 years of age. He was ranked as the No. 8 prospect by MLB. The Dodgers have now signed three catchers out of Venezuela in recent years, including Keibert Ruiz who made his debut this season as well as Diego Cartaya.
Dennis profiled Galiz a few days before Christmas.
The international class for the Dodgers also includes Roger Lasso, an outfielder from Panama, Carlos Avila, a catcher from Venezuela, Miguel Angel Vilchez, a right-handed pitcher from Curacao, and a right-handed pitcher from the Dominican Republic, Misael Soto.
Several major league players pursued by the Dodgers also signed contracts, as well as former Dodgers scoring deals. The DJ LeMahieu race ended Friday morning when the infielder re-signed with the Yankees on a six-year, $90 million contract. It was reported that the Dodgers offered four years, $60 million, but the Yankees went two more years which may have put the Dodgers out of the race.
Former All-Star closer Brad Hand, who the Dodgers had been pursuing, was reported by Jon Heyman to be talking with the Mets. A deal isn’t close, but the Dodgers may be still be in the running along with the Blue Jays and Astros.
Left-handed pitcher Alex Wood, who had returned to the Dodgers last season for his second stint, signed with the San Francisco Giants on Thursday night. Wood landed a one-year deal for $3 million. The move reunites him with former Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi, who is currently President of Baseball Operations for the Giants. Wood first arrived with the Dodgers in 2015 after being traded from the Braves. He was an All-Star in 2017 and pitched in some big postseason games for the Dodgers, registering a 1.93 ERA in the 2020 playoffs. He leaves the Dodgers as a World Champion and will be remembered for his tremendous work.
Cody Bellinger and the Dodgers avoided arbitration on Friday evening settling at a $16.1 million dollar contract. Bellinger received a record $11.5 million settlement last season, so it’s quite the raise for the World Champion and the former MVP. He currently has two more years of arbitration left.
Right-handed reliever Dylan Floro and the Dodgers also avoided arbitration agreeing on a $975k deal. Floro posted a 2.59 ERA last season and has been a reliable relief pitcher for the Dodgers. He has produced grounders more than half the time at 52% in his career and limits his walks. Floro has been a steady piece in a strong Dodger bullpen over the past several seasons.
Also avoiding arbitration was newly acquired relief pitcher Corey Knebel. The Dodgers and Knebel agreed to a $5.25 million contract for one year. Knebel was an All-Star in 2017 but has struggled with injuries in recent years. Both parties are hoping for a strong bounce back year similar to 2017.
Lastly, per Bob Nightengale, the MLB is fearing that the pandemic might wreak havoc throughout the season and is planning to bring back seven-inning doubleheaders, extra innings starting with runners on second base, as well as the Universal DH. Those details are still being negotiated, but they obviously play big for National League teams—especially the DH. It was rumored that Marcell Ozuna and the Dodgers were talking, but without a DH that may be some tough negotiations.
The offseason period has finally picked up—let’s hope for more productive moves over the coming days.