Baseball is finally back. After all hope looked lost, the owners and MLBPA finally agreed to a new CBA for the next five years.
Opening Day is set for April 7. However, the Dodgers will begin their season on April 8 on the road against the Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers home opener will be on April 14 against the Cincinnati Reds.
Now that free agency is fully open, teams can begin to fill out their rosters. The Dodgers will be busy in the free agency period. We will take a look at three moves the Dodgers could make to improve their chances within the next month when the season starts.
Sign Freddie Freeman
The 32-year-old and former N.L. MVP may not be returning to the Atlanta Braves amid multiple reports. All off-season there have been rumors that have linked the Dodgers and Freeman. Now with the universal DH rule, the Dodgers have room to even add another bat.
“I think it’s awesome, imagine how dangerous we’d be if we got him in that lineup,” said Max Muncy when asked about the possibility of the Dodgers signing Freeman. During the 2020 season, Freeman won the MVP. During the 2021 season, Freeman hit .300 and belted 31 home runs along with 83 RBIs, so just imagine adding that to this lineup.
We all know the Dodgers lost Corey Seager this offseason, so they’ll be looking to add another bat, and why not add Freeman? A move like that will surely get Dodger fans excited for the new season. Freeman is expected to have multiple suitors along with the Dodgers, such as the Yankees, Rays, Mets and even the Braves.
Re-Sign Clayton Kershaw
Most Dodger fans would probably agree to this, as Kershaw really does not need any introduction. We all know that he is the best pitcher of his generation, a franchise icon and a first ballot Hall of Famer. For many, the thought of Kershaw leaving the Dodgers seems unfathomable.
Kershaw, now 33 years old, is obviously not the same pitcher he once was posting sub two ERAs. Last year, Kershaw in 22 games posted a 3.55 ERA and won ten games. Although he’s struggled with various injuries the past couple seasons, there are multiple teams expected to be after Kershaw.
The Dodgers entered the 2021 season with one of the deepest pitching rotations, and now they have some holes to fill in that regard. So far they have Walker Buehler, Julio Urias and Tony Gonsolin set for the rotation, and they also signed left handed pitcher Andrew Heaney, who could take a spot.
Dustin May is still rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, and who knows what is going to happen with Trevor Bauer. So signing Kershaw could benefit both sides as he enters perhaps the final stages of his career. The Rangers and Yankees are among the teams who may look to pry Kershaw away from the Dodgers.
Fill Out the Bullpen
Kenley Jansen, who has the most saves in Dodgers franchise history, is a free agent, and Joe Kelly who has been a staple in the Los Angeles bullpen is also a free agent. While there is a possibility they bring back both, there has not been much talk surrounding those two.
Corey Knebel has also signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, so the Dodgers can potentially lose three bullpen arms. Right hander Tommy Kahnle, who missed during the 2021 season due to Tommy John surgery, is expected to be back for this season. The Dodgers could look to trade for a reliever or sign a couple from free agency.
However, they can also bring up a prospect to fill out the bullpen, as the deep farm system can come in quite handy. If Jansen ends up walking, the Dodgers will have to look for a new closer for the first time in nearly a decade. The most obvious options would be to plug Blake Treinen or Brusdar Graterol in those roles.
Now that the lockout fiasco is over, it will be fun to see how teams fill out their rosters with Opening Day less than a month away and a lot of big names still left on the market.
19 thoughts on “3 Big Moves the Dodgers Can Make Before 2022 Opening Day”
If Jansen will take a 2 year and option I would sign him. Otherwise let him go and bring up some young arms.
I am probably in the minority but Kershaw has been breaking down for the last several years. If they can sign him, if he is able to pitch, then a very incentive laden short 2 year deal. Again there are a lot of young arms that are almost ready or possibly ready line Pepiot, Miller etc. The Bauer is circling over the Dodgers like a vulture. Hopefully Manfred shows some resolve and makes a decision!!
Kersh is an icon clearly. But he is also injury prone now. He has not been the same pitcher the last several seasons. He is not the Ace of this staff anymore. As much as it would be nice to see him retire a Dodger, watching him pitch as become a painful experience. Just look at his last start last season. As for Freeman, I say do it sooner than later. Giants signed Rodon to a two year 44 million dollar deal. 3 teams interested in Pujols. As for the bullpen, I think it is pretty loaded right now. Rotation needs some tweaking. But you have guys like Graterol, Kahnle, Hudson, Treinen, Gonzalez, already there. And a couple of their free agent minor league signings could make contributions. I am very interested to see how Carson Fullmer looks. The guys stuff is nasty.
According to ESPN, seems like Kershaw is expected to resign
I wish he wouldn’t as Bear states it’s painful to watch him these days. I hope he pitches at home in front of his family and friends and enjoys the last couple of years. I doubt the Texans will be in the playoffs but let Kersh go.
Many industry sources are saying that. MLB Insider is also saying that Freeman is coming to LA. Rodon signed with the Giants, which makes that rotation pretty solid.
I also saw a report that linked Trevor Story to the Dodgers.
Happy about Kershaw as it’s a 1-year deal and he and the club can see if he can stabilize his back and elbow. I am OK with the rotation as 1/4 of the year will be 50% bullpen anyway as they attempt to stretch out the starters. Ferguson will be back and Gonzalez is reportedly in great shape. Kahnle should be ready to compete.
Freeman would be an incredible pick-up. If Muncy can be at 100% it would be a very potent lineup.
The Giants look to have a solid rotation but they will miss Posey. The Giants players all had high output years can they keep it up? I still like the Dodgers to win Freeman or no Freeman.
There are a ton of free-agent deals where does Jansen go? How soon do we know about Freeman? I want to see some of the young arms like Pepiot and Miller this year. Will White pitch? How about Jackson? I continue to be a huge Vargas guy.
So with Kershaw signing someone must be moved from the 40 man roster. Could be Bauer if MLB suspends him. Otherwise, I think the possibilities would be cutting Price, Phillips or OF Raley. Price has a lot of mileage on his arm and wasn’t particularly effective last year. Phillips, while decent for the short time with LA, has historically struggled with control and our bullpen is loaded. While I like Raley, he will likely be AAA depth.
Friedman has a relationship with Price. The Dodgers seem to like Raley. I am guessing Phillips? If they sign Freeman do they trade Lux? Or do they keep Lux in case T Turner leaves next year? The next week will be interesting!
They should definitely not trade Lux. He has great value at low cost and should be ready to break out.
I agree that Lux will breakout this year. I like the young arms the Dodgers have in their system. I would prefer they keep Lux but if they decide to trade for another rotation pitcher Lux is very valuable. If they believe Heaney will have a good season then it depends on what happens with Bauer. I would rather they go with Urias, Buehler, Gonsolin, Heaney and then Kershaw, Price, White, Jackson or Pepiot to see who steps up. I think they will keep Kershaw & Price to see if they can get their arms back for the end of year. I do not count on May until we see how he progresses. Very glad the season will start soon.
I have not seen that. Kersh resigns for one year 17 mil with incentives.
10-7, 138 IP, 3.46 ERA, 1.0 WHIP, 150 Ks
8-6, 126 IP, 4 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 149 Ks
Our 4th and 5th starters, (sharing some starts with Pepiot and Miller) making about $60 million, while our 1-3 starters are arb eligible.
We’re favored to win the World Series with all the ?s that remain. It’s good being a Dodger fan.
These projections are seldom very accurate IMO.
Happy that Kershaw is staying and hoping he has a healthy season
I agree. Kershaw doesn’t bring much price /benefit to the table, especially with the annual injury factor. Think we can take the money and do much better. I’m hoping Kershaw retires because I would hate to see him in another uniform.
What they do about the starting pitching will tell us volumes about how the dodgers value their prospects and if any of them have a future on this team.
Bauer placed on Admin leave for at least a week while MLB ponders suspension.
Gary, you were wondering about who might be taken off the 40-man to accommodate CK. As of Monday, May can be put back on the 60-day IL so that will take care of the problem.
Kersh still has to pass his physical so it will be easy to hold off adding him until Monday.
Yes, I thought of May, but wasn’t sure when he could go on the 60 day..