Questions Remain for Dodgers After Reported Signing of Trevor Bauer

The Super Bowl is over, so you know what that means. It’s Time for Dodger Baseball!

Pitchers and catchers are still slated to report to spring training on February 18th, just 10 short days from today. Talks are reportedly still ongoing, but as of now, the season will start on time and not have any Covid related delays. Things, of course, could change at any time.

There are not only questions surrounding baseball in general, but also specifically around the Los Angeles Dodgers.

On Friday, free agent starting pitcher Trevor Bauer announced on his YouTube page that he had decided to sign with the Dodgers. His contract is for three years and $107 million. He will reportedly be paid $40 million for the first season, $45M for the second season, and $17M for the third. He can opt out after either the first or second season.

His reported signing has led to some questions, especially since the news has not been officially announced by the club as of this writing.

First, the Dodgers 40-man roster sits at 40 players, so space will need to be made for Bauer’s arrival. One could assume that a player would be designated for assignment; but since there has not been a peep about the signing from the Dodgers’ front office, fans are wondering if there isn’t something more in the works.

If the Dodgers are planning to sign that needed right-handed power bat, they also are going to need to clear a roster spot for that player. And, since the Dodgers would now be way over the luxury tax threshold, they might also be looking to move a player or two to relive some of their monetary liabilities.

A trade may very well be coming in the next few days. That leads to the second question—will the Dodgers trade one of their current starting pitchers?

The Dodgers starting rotation now seemingly stands at seven. Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, David Price, and Bauer round out the top four. Julio Urías, Dustin May, and Tony Gonsolin make up the rest. What are the Dodgers planning on doing with them all?

While Price has stated that he very much intends to pitch this season after opting out of last season, that still is not definitive. Urías was used mostly in relief throughout the playoffs, but would like to return to the starting rotation. The could leave May and Gonsolin starting the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Having too many starters is not always a bad thing, because as we know, a starting rotation never makes it all the way through the year being completely healthy. If May and Gonsolin have to start the season again at Triple A, they could end up being back with the big club quickly.

But, what if one of the starters is used to acquire the right-handed power bat? Rumors have been swirling for the last week or so that the Dodgers are open to trading Price. Yet to pitch a meaningful game for the Dodgers, Price is still owed $64 million of his $217 million contract, half of which will be paid by the Boston Red Sox. Moving Price could clear up some salary space for Bauer and that other bat.

It is slightly curious as to why the club has not said a word about the Bauer deal, but an announcement should be coming soon, most likely in conjunction with an announcement of a trade or another signing. On Sunday, Dennis discussed the Dodgers’ current financial situation and whether the Bauer signing would affect the Dodgers’ ability to re-sign Justin Turner.

It remains to be seen what the club does (I’m starting to feel like a broken record here) but as we are nearing the start of spring training pretty quickly, we should know soon the plan that President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman has in mind for the team.

19 thoughts on “Questions Remain for Dodgers After Reported Signing of Trevor Bauer

  1. Andy, I was surprised by the Bauer signing. The Dodgers need a right-handed infield bat. The Dodgers have a surplus of young pitchers. I know the old saying you cannot have too much pitching but when you examine the Dodger 40 man roster and look at their recent draft and top prospect lists you realize they cannot play them all. Can they make a trade with a club to get a 3rd baseman? Turner is everyone’s first choice but he is 36 and they should not give him a long-term deal. Turner in the last few years has declining defensive metrics and has had more trouble getting around on high fastballs he once crushed. We all love JT but Father Time is undefeated. With top prospects like White, Santana, Uceta, Carrillo, Jackson, Pepiot, Gray, and others to choose from paired with perhaps David Price they may be able to trade for a very good 3rd baseman.
    I believe the Dodgers are not concerned about the Luxury Tax as the Players Union Contract is to be renegotiated next year and the players will not let the Luxury tax stand without changes. The tax has been bad for most players dramatically affecting salaries.
    It will be an interesting month to see what the Dodgers decide to do. Like you I think a trade is imminent. I am still hoping they delay the Spring League as vaccinations here in AZ are running behind. AZ is almost last in vaccinations. Several variants have been identified and are spreading fast. I always buy Season tickets at Camelback but until my wife and I are vaccinated we will not go.

    1. I’ve been going to Camelback every year for an extended ST weekend with my son and some of his friends but missed last year due to Covid and don’t plan to go this year either.

      I’m hoping by next year things will be back to normal. Nothing like a mid March trip to Az to see spring arrive and take a look at the youngsters.

      Hope your vaccinations and the Camelback schedule coincide enough for you to take in some games Tmax.

      And if you get there, give me a report on what you think of our new third baseman, Rios, or Bryant, or Suarez, or Franco, or Frazier or Chapman or (fill in your chosen name). Or maybe you’ll just be telling me how great that smile on JT’s face looks now that he’s back.

  2. I do not think Price is on the market. Trading him makes no sense what so ever. With him they have 3 former Cy Young winners in the rotation, without him they have 2, and a bunch of questions. With him they have 4 front line starters and 3 very talented, but inexperienced kids. No, does not make any sense at all. If they were worried about payroll, they would have never signed Bauer. And the only reason the signing is yet to be official is because he has not taken his physical yet, and they need to clear a roster spot, which I think will be done when someone like Sborz or Santana is DFA’d.

  3. Dennis, we were speaking about Ramon Troncoso the other day. In case you didn’t see it, he’ll be the pitching coach at Rancho Cucamonga this year.

    1. I’ve read that they say they aren’t going to trade him so we would have to make a crazy offer. Ruiz and Gonsolin isn’t nearly crazy enough. Maybe if you add Lux to that they might at least not hang up the phone. So now you’re having a nice conversation with them and they say they want you to add Busch to those three and they’ll think about it.

      Would you do Ruiz, Gonsolin, Lux and Busch? I’m a huge Ramirez fan but no way I do that.

      Now that I’ve laid out everything for you Keith, I need to point out that my opinion doesn’t count for any more than yours does, so maybe you’re right and I’m offering way more than they would ask. We’ll probably never know.

      How about it, what do the rest of you folks think?

      1. I was recently reading a Milwaukee Brewer blog, I have friends that are huge Brewer fans, and they had heard the Indians were listening to offers for Ramirez. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense as he is a young All-Star level 3rd baseman. I agree it would probably take a crazy offer. The Pirates have the emerging Hayes at 3rd. As they are rebuilding they might listen to trade if they can get two young starters for 1. The Pirates have a lot of roster spots to fill. Suarez strikes out a lot but he is a good 3rd baseman and under contract for a couple of years. The Dodger hitting coaches might be able to help him. Suarez is not at his prime yet he may improve. The Dodgers have a trade history with the Reds. We could trade Gray back to them LOL.

  4. After reading your response Jeff, you’re probably right about the cost being to high. I would be okay with adding Busch, or Houese, and another prospect outside of our top 12 or 15, but I’d like to see the team keep Lux around for insurance, in case AF can’t get Seager to sign back p next season.

    Suarez would be ok maxster, but I was trying to be fiscally responsible at the same time, as finding a third base option if they can’t sign JT. I might be wrong but I think Suarez is starting to make a pretty good salary.

    1. He’s controllable for four more years Keith, with a team option for a fifth year. The next 4 years are at about $11MM per year and the option year is at $15MM with a $2MM buyout. Those are bargain prices which is why they’ll probably be asking quite a bit for him.

    2. I like Suarez. He is under contract until 2026. He earns 10.5 this year and 11.0 the rest until the final year 2025 then it’s 15.0 million. Not a bad contract to take over for a very good right-handed infielder with some power. Suarez will be 30 in July. Suarez has won the Reds good teammate award and is reportedly a team leader and positive guy. The hitting gurus of the Dodger might help him improve his OBP by taking some walks and getting the strikeouts down. I too think Lux will make a comeback. Funny to talk comeback as he turned 23 in November. Lux tore up the Minors and was a player of the year there. As the Dodgers are no longer playing in Albuquerque his numbers were not inflated. At 23 he will get stronger and learn better plate discipline. Imagine how many games the Dodgers can win if Bellinger, Muncy, & Lux improve on last year’s hitting. Will Smith is starting to mature as a player also. It takes awhile to adjust. That is why I think Lux will be fine.

      1. I admit I’m being picky here Tmax, but I don’t think you can refer to Lux as making a comeback. He’s never produced at the MLB level, although we’re looking at a very small sample size. I happen to think he’s going to have a good career but we need to understand that there are some guys who totally kill it in the minors and then never produce in the big show.

        It could be that AF feels he has such strong pitching now that he can afford to start the year with Lux penciled in at second and Rios at third, because he expects Muncy and Bellinger to at least have decent years as opposed to what happened last year. Also, he has CT3 in reserve if Lux totally falters so they could make him the second baseman if after half a season Lux is totally lost.

        On the other hand, there doesn’t seem to be a good alternative to Rios at third if he isn’t up to the task. Muncy and Taylor are really not third basemen and Hoese probably isn’t ready yet. That’s why I have this recurring nightmare that he’s going to sign someone like Franco or Todd Frazier, who will come very cheap and have had experience at that position just in case Rios isn’t ready to be a regular. There are those who think Smith might get some time at third if we don’t bring back JT but I have my doubts. I think, at this stage of his career, they want him to concentrate on being a catcher.

      2. You aren’t being picky you are right he hasn’t produced yet. Not many players win Minor League Player of the Year and flame out though. I would say Lux has a very good shot at making it. I like the idea of bringing up Ruiz and playing Smith at 3rd occasionally. Ruiz is a switch-hitter so can fill in as opportunities arise. It depends also on how the Minor Leagues are impacted overall. I still think JT signs.
        Taylor is a good 2nd baseman and has some power. He is simply more valuable as a Swiss Army Knife. Seems that the Dodgers may bring McKinstry to fill that role. Also, how do they use Beaty? I really like Rios. He reportedly has worked hard on his defense at 3rd.

      3. I’m really sorry that they’ve set the rosters at 26 this year instead of 28. They aren’t going to hold teams to just 13 pitchers so teams could go 14 or 15 and I expect some of them will because only having played 60 games last year is going to be hard on the pitching staff’s stamina come August/September.

        For a team as deep in talent as we are, the larger the roster the better it is. If we assume Rios definitely has a spot, I think there will be some tough competition between McKinstry, Beaty, Reks and Raley for a spot. McKinstry has the advantage of being very versatile, Beaty has the most experience, but Reks and Raley aren’t slouches and if either of them has a really strong spring training, he could displace someone on the roster. It may be that only one of those four makes the team out of camp, max two of them. I think all four of those guys have options remaining.

      4. Unfortunately, they are all Left-handed hitters. Maybe DJ Peters as he can play all 3 outfield spots well, has reportedly improved his plate discipline and is a right-handed hitter. Beaty did not have a great year last year.

      5. DJ can definitely play all 3 outfield positions but he needs to cut down on his k’s before he’s going to get a roster spot. He’s another hard worker. Roberts loves him, so I think they’d be happy to find a reason to add him.

        On the other hand, Mookie, Pollock and CT3 are all right handed hitters so not sure why we would need another one who plays outfield.

      6. You are right they do not really need a right-handed outfielder although Peters has power, is big, fast, and has a good arm. As Pollock and Bellinger have had some injuries in the past it would be great to have another guy that can back them up. Does Beaty stay on the roster? The good news is Peters is just a phone call away and the Dodgers swap players as well as anyone. I still think there will be a trade if they do not sign JT.

  5. I stand corrected maxster, Suarez has four years left on a seven year 66 million contract, which takes him thru age 33. He is making a little less than Ramirez.

    There’s another reason why you guys should never listen to me, I’m always wrong.😀

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