Ranking the Top 5 Free Agents the Dodgers Should Re-Sign This Winter

On Tuesday evening, the Atlanta Braves defeated the Houston Astros 7-0 in a decisive Game 6 to win the 2021 World Series. And thus, the off-season has officially begun.

This upcoming winter is going to be probably one of the most frustrating and longest in Los Angeles Dodgers memory, and they’ve had quite a few of those recently. From anguish of not getting the job done in the playoffs, to wondering what players may or may not be re-signed, this off-season has all of that with the added bonus of a possible players’ strike.

This class of free agents is the biggest one the Dodgers have had in a long time, literally and figuratively. The team has 11 total free agents, many of them some of the biggest names on the free agent market. Some of them are certain to not be re-signed, such as Steven Souza Jr and Cole Hamels. But there are five that the Dodgers should focus on, and are ranked in order of importance for getting them re-signed.

5) Corey Seager Having Seager number five here is not in any way not wanting the homegrown shortstop to return, or an homage to his number. There seem to be a number of factors at play here for Seaver’s possible return to the team. One, there is a big free agent class of shortstops this off-season. Two, the Dodgers have Trea Turner for another season, who prefers to play short. And third, while Seager has said he “absolutely” wants to return, being an East Coaster and Yankees fan growing up may sway him in other directions. I just see this one as the most difficult of the five to predict.

4) Max Scherzer I have wanted Scherzer to be a Dodger for forever, and I have finally gotten that wish. He is everything you hope for in a pitcher and more. I would love for the Dodgers to re-sign him to a two or three year deal. At age 37 however, I could see how they would be hesitant to sign him longer than that, and with Scott Boras as Scherzer’s agent no doubt still demanding top dollar and length of contract, who knows what will happen. Still, Scherzer has seemed to enjoy his time in Los Angeles, and has made mention that he would like to play with Clayton Kershaw for a few more seasons.

3) Kenley Jansen The Big Man has given everything for the team that turned him from a catcher to one of the most elite closers in the game, including heart issues at high altitude that caused him to undergo surgery to correct the problem. While he had some issues over the last few seasons, in 2021 Kenley found It again, and his cutter remains as devastating as ever. He registered his lowest ERA since 2017, and is still a viable force at the back end of the bullpen.

2) Chris Taylor Famously acquired for Zach Lee in a trade with the Seattle Mariners, CT3 has just continued to get better and better with time. 2021 saw him make his first All-Star Game. Not many players in the Majors are as versatile as he, being able to play all three outfield positions as well as third, short, and second base. Taylor may follow former teammates Joc Pederson and Kiké Hernandez into the free agent market by trying to getting a full time job at one position. But Taylor is a gem of a player, and too good and serviceable to let get away.

1) Clayton Kershaw Public Enemy Number 1, the greatest pitcher of this generation, number one draft pick by the Dodgers in 2006. If ever there was a player that deserves to spend his whole playing career, it is Clayton Edward Kershaw.

Pragmatically, while he is not the extreme dominant pitcher that he used to be, he was still at the top of all pitchers in 2021, before his injury. Also, while the Dodgers have a bunch of young arms soon joining their rotation, as this season especially has shown, you can never have too many pitchers.

The Los Angeles Dodgers organization also owes all the goodwill to their fan base as they possibly can muster, after the Trevor Bauer fiasco. Making Kershaw a Dodger for life would go a little ways in helping that.

As stated, who know how this off-season will go. Seager and Scherzer are both with Scott Boras, and his clients typically what until closer to Spring Training to sign with teams. A work stoppage could put a huge pause in signings. And no one know how the Bauer saga will end, and if the Dodgers will still be on the hook for some or all of him exorbitant contract.

All fans can do at this point is hope for the best and prepare for the worst. The team next season could look very similar to this one, or drastically different. As Tom Petty famously said, the waiting is the hardest part.

10 thoughts on “Ranking the Top 5 Free Agents the Dodgers Should Re-Sign This Winter

  1. Great summation and indeed “Waiting is the Hardest Part”. As we have all chimed in on this site we should see some type of decision on Bauer in a few weeks. As the Pasadena Police reportedly wrapped up their investigation a while ago we are waiting for the DA to flip a coin and decide to charge or not to charge him. As it has been a while I feel he may drop the charges. But as many have stated here the MLB continues to have the ability according to the Labor Agreement to suspend him. They need to hurry as the contract ends on Dec 1.

  2. The Bauer situation is the elephant in the room as the Dodgers could afford several players with the proceeds if it is canceled.
    I was surprised that Seager said he would like to play with the Dodgers after the season ended as most press and MLB commentators had been fitting him for Yankee pinstripes. It would be great to keep him. I presumed Freidman thought he was gone and that was one reason for Trea Turner’s acquisition. Can Seager and Turner co-exist long term?
    It would be great to sign Kershaw and Jansen and I think they will.
    I think Scherzer’s deal depends on the Bauer situation.
    I respect Tayor’s Swiss Army Knife type utility and I thought he was one of the MVPs of the team this year. I hope they re-sign him but some team may offer him insane money.
    I do not see a lot of player acquisition, trades, or contract-signing this year until they settle the pending Labor Contract. I think there will be a long very acrimonious strike that lasts into the regular season. I hope I am mistaken.

  3. Top 5 comments:
    5) Seager – AF will have to make up his mind if he wants Corey or Trea long term because, even if Corey were to agree to switch to 3rd, I don’t think the money is there long-term for both of them.
    4) Scherzer – I’m sure the front office would like to have him back but I’m not at all sure they’re willing to be high bidder and give him as many years as others might. And then there’s Bauer. Max doesn’t return if we somehow have Bauer on the roster next season.
    3) Kenley – I think he’d like to return and this is the only team he’s known, but he is also a man with lots of pride. If he thinks AF is trying to lowball him, he’ll leave. With Treinen ready to step in that might lower his value to the Dodgers. I was very impressed by what I saw from KJ toward the end of the season and where I was ready to see him go during the first part of the year, I now hope he returns.
    2) CT3 – Whereas Joc and Kike left so that they could play every day, Taylor actually does play most every day, just in a variety of positions. I think if AF wants him to stay and pretty much matches other offers, he’ll return.
    1) Kershaw – I think Clayton is deserving of all the accolades he’s received but he certainly wouldn’t be number 1 on my list. Emotionally, yes. Logically, no. We have no idea if his arm will hold up. To me, he’s a TJ surgery just waiting to happen. I hope they can reach a compromise where he signs a very heavily incentivized contract so that if he’s able to pitch he gets his money, but if not, the team won’t take a huge hit. I don’t see him pitching anywhere but here. It’s either L.A. or retirement and if he can pick up a ball come spring, it will be here.

    1. I believe innocent until proven guilty
      Bauer is a top pitcher
      Bring him back
      With scherzer and buehler, some pitching staff

      1. Can’t bring him back before MLB decides what they’re going to do with him.
        I don’t think the Dodgers will pay both Scherzer and Bauer, but you never know.

  4. Me? I have no clue who comes back. My druthers would go, Kersh, Max, Seager, Jansen, Taylor. Simply because I think Taylor is a lock to leave. But until the new CBA is in place, even worrying about it is a waste of time. Biggest surprise today was the Posey announcement that he will retire tomorrow.

      1. I doubt the Dodgers make any moves before January unless it involves a trade. With the CBA expiring in less than a month, and no certainty right now about MLB’s intentions with Bauer, they have to stay flexible.

      2. Think you are right. In fact I can’t see anyone making any substantial moves until this cba is in place. That may actually speed things along if there are no ( or relatively
        few) free agent sighnings. Right now MlB has really left LA out to hang although I still believe they’ll wash there hands and let the dodgers solve its own problems, unless there is a action by the Da, which isn’t likely.

      3. If the DA does not file on Bauer and drops it does the MLB suspend him? Manfred is not a strong commissioner nor from his previous actions a smart one. Does Bauer get penalized for suspension time served?
        Bauers agents will have him giving money to a women’s charity and finding religion. All will be forgiven that’s how it works with wealthy people. The public memory is about as long as a fruit fly’s life span and they generally think as they are propagandized to think.

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