Once again Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have met to discuss the current lockout, and once again we are no closer to not knowing when the lockout will end and if the season will start on time.
As there is not much to report about from ongoing negotiations, beat writers and bloggers alike are resorting to creating possible scenarios the Los Angeles Dodgers could pursue once the collective bargaining agreement has been passed.
In his ESPN article on Wednesday, Alden Gonzalez covers five possible landing spots for free agent Freddie Freeman, with the Dodgers being one of those teams. The All-Star and former NL MVP would be a huge addition to an already stacked Dodgers lineup.
Freeman is a California boy, and it is curious as to why the Atlanta Braves did not make a bigger push to re-sign their homegrown talent before the lockout. Freeman made it know after their World Series win that he wanted to return to the only big league team for which he’s ever played.
If Freeman joins the team, he would take over at first base. In the short term, that fills a hole left by Max Muncy. Depending on when the season starts, Muncy may or may not be ready for play when it begins – the earlier the season starts, the less chance of Muncy being fully healed from his torn UCL. When Muncy does finally return, it seems that he would move into a rotating roll of first, second, and third base.
With Chris Taylor already in the super utility roll, and if Muncy joined him in that aspect with Freeman continuing the majority of the time at first, that would presumably also move Gavin Lux into somewhat of a part time roll, splitting second base with Taylor and Muncy.
A surplus of good players is never a bad thing. A lineup of Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Freeman, Taylor and Cody Bellinger is about as formidable a top six as you would find anywhere. Freeman’s left-handed bay would replace that of departed Corey Seager in the lineup. Rotating time at different positions has been the Dodgers MO for awhile now, and with the probable inclusion of the designated hitter in the National League, the Dodgers most certainly could make it work.
I think most Dodgers fan would agree that signing Freeman would be a great thing. But Gonzalez also floats the idea of if Freeman were to be signed, either Lux or Trea Turner could be traded.
Freeman’s presence would make the Dodgers’ lineup look just as scary as it did during the stretch run of the 2021 season, but it could also give them more flexibility to make a trade. Lux – who the Dodgers have always been reluctant to trade – could be used in pursuit of starting pitching help, preventing the front office from having to overpay in a free agent market that quickly dried up. Turner – a year away from free agency – could be used to restock a farm system that has thinned out at the top.
It’s true that the Dodgers did just trade away their top two prospects to the Washington Nationals last season to acquire TTurner and Max Scherzer. It did not yield them a World Series title, and Scherzer has moved on to New York. Starting pitching is the sore spot of this Dodgers’ roster, with just three true starting pitchers currently on the roster. Mitch White is still young, David Price is past his starting prime, and Dustin May won’t return until halfway through the season. It is also still unknown if Trevor Bauer will pitch again for the Dodgers, or if Clayton Kershaw will chose to return to the Dodgers.
President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman has always been crafty in figuring out how to make a roster better, and he’s had lots of time to scheme scenarios in his head. No doubt he has many thoughts on how to acquire a starting pitcher or two. Of the two, I think Lux would be more likely to be traded, as he has seemingly not yet been able to reach his potential with the Dodgers and a change of scenery might do him some good.
Like bloggers and beat writers, we will all just continue to wonder and conjecture until MLB and the MLBPA reach an agreement. Hopefully it’s sooner than later before we all run out of ideas.