Dodgers Sign Top International Prospects, Other Offseason Moves

(David Zalubowski/Associated Press)

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.

Four players on the Dodgers remain eligible to exchange proposed arbitration salaries with the team. Those being Corey Seager, Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, and Austin Barnes.

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.

14 thoughts on “Dodgers Sign Top International Prospects, Other Offseason Moves

  1. I also read about another SS they signed, Doncon. I know nothing about the kid, but it was all over twitter along with the other 2 signings.

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  2. DJLM 6 years 90 million, thought he would get less years for more AAV. I thought the Dodgers could do better than
    4/60 seems like the Dodgers didn’t really want him that much. We gave JT 4/64 four years ago. Oh well we’ll have to see what AF has in mind for a third baseman.

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    1. That takes time Keith. And they will probably talk about it some during spring. But to keep negotiating is up to the player. And if memory serves, isn’t his agent Boras? Boras likes his guys to go to free agency. And Corey will be a very hot commodity if Lindor signs a long term deal with the Mets, which is looking more likely as time passes. Buehler and Barnes the only two who did not agree to contracts. Buehler asked 4.150 and the team offered 3.3. Barnes wanted 2 and the team offered 1.5. They will need to go over the limit to sign Turner or any other relief arms. At last count they were about 6 mil under the cap.

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  3. Yeah bear, looks like they will end up over the cap, if this was a normal year I wouldn’t think twice about it, but with the COVID issues I can’t ridicule them for not spending more money.

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    1. I know it’s always stated that the Dodgers have a lot of money coming off after the 2021 season, but it’s really not all that much. Jansen is the only guy that looks like he will absolutely not be back, savings $20M. Kelly has a team option of $12M or buyout of $4M, so the cost of keeping him in 2022 is $8M, depending how he pitches in 2021 they might pickup that ONE year option. Taylor’s $8M will need to be replaced by something. Kershaw’s $31M also drops off, but Dodgers will try and sign him for at LEAST $15M if he’s any good in 2021. Seager $14M drops off, but we will hopefully resign him, maybe for up to $30M/yr. Several others on the team are looking at salary increases (Bellinger, Urias, Buehler) through arbitration. Haven’t checked but others will probably start hitting arbitration. And got to consider they’d probably also like to extend a few of these guys on high but “bargain” prices.

      Bottom line, seems to me it’s going to get harder not easier to stay under the luxury tax threshold in coming years.

      All that being said, I think Friedman could be done for now or he might still add an elite reliever and a stud third baseman. How’s that for hedging my bets. But, I guessing he’s done prior to the start of the season, except if extreme value comes our way. We’ve already got depth and options inhouse. If Dodgers want to keep their championship window open for a few more years, they’re going to have to keep refreshing the roster with a lot of Pre Arb guys.

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      1. You’re right Box, there isn’t nearly as much room next year as it seems. Even if the front office is willing to spend above the threshold, at some point they’ll want to come back under to re-set, unless they have inside info that there may be no limits once the new CBA is negotiated.

        It would be best for the game and the players if all salary limitations were wiped out and all the owners who have a hard time spending sell out to billionaires like Steve Cohen, but of course that won’t happen.

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      2. I think they try and retain Kersh at no more than a 2 year deal. As for Seager, I am thinking he will test free agency. Kelly will not be retained and Kenley is going to be gone.

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      3. I agree with you guys. Dodgers need to use pre-arbitration players wherever they can to keep costs down. Although there’s money coming off the books in 2021 some or most if not more money will be used to extend players and re-sign players. I have a feeling Seager will leave as rumor has it he wants to play near the family farms in North Carolina and he is still in a snit about the Dodgers kicking the tires on a Lindor deal although he needs to grow up and understand its a business. If the Players Union is on the ball they will get rid of or restructure the Luxury Tax deal they made. That said there is probably a very good chance of a strike in 2022.

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  4. Agree bear. Seager will test free agency and probably end up back east, nearer home. Don’t think he feels he has garnered much respect by fans or management in La. So many good shortstop will be available think Friedman will go after the cheapest one. Might be fan backlash in that senerio.

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    1. Lindor will extend with the Mets. Story and Baez are the only other premium SS’s available. You have to figure that the Cubs will re-sign Baez rather than Bryant if he isn’t traded. So that leaves Seager and Story. Lux is a Shortstop and they have Busch impressing everyone with his bat. If Seager leaves and Lux shows he can hit. You can envision a SS and 2nd base combo of Lux and Busch in 2022.

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