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.