The query surrounding the Dodgers as baseball’s winter conferences start in San Diego on Monday is identical one which surrounded them a 12 months in the past: Will they allocate substantial cash on a premium participant this offseason?
Final 12 months, the reply was no after Bryce Harper turned down their three-year contract supply. This 12 months might be totally different.
The Dodgers have been lively. They’ve already met with beginning pitchers Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, and third baseman Anthony Rendon, in accordance with individuals with information of the scenario. These three gamers are thought-about the highest free brokers on this winter’s class. They’ve additionally expressed considering third baseman Josh Donaldson, the 2015 AL MVP and 2019 NL comeback participant of the 12 months, and reliever Blake Treinen, an All-Star in 2018, amongst others.
Cole would in all probability value probably the most, adopted by Rendon and Strasburg. They may additionally purchase a star through commerce. The commerce crop may embody Boston Purple Sox outfielder Mookie Betts, Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor and Chicago Cubs third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant.
The Dodgers have the assets for such a transfer. They’re among the many richest franchises in skilled sports activities, reaping the advantages from working within the nation’s second-largest market. They’ve led the most important leagues in attendance seven seasons in a row and set a franchise file for attendance in 2019. Their tv contract generates at the least $200 million per 12 months. They produce income most organizations dream about whereas having maintained one of many sport’s deepest farm methods.
However they haven’t wanted to splurge on gamers to stay annual contenders since Andrew Friedman turned president of baseball operations in October 2014. Below Friedman’s watch, the Dodgers haven’t given a free agent from one other group a contract value greater than $55 million assured (A.J. Pollock final offseason), one value greater than $93 million assured to re-sign a participant (Clayton Kershaw final offseason), or one longer than 5 years to anyone.
The fiscal self-discipline, coupled with artful transactions, small and enormous, to shed payroll, saved the Dodgers beneath the aggressive steadiness tax line — a smooth wage cap that has hardened throughout baseball — the previous two seasons after exceeding the brink the earlier 5 years and paying the following taxes.
Because of this, the Dodgers had their penalties reset, which means they might pay the lightest tax ought to they surpass the $208-million threshold subsequent season — a 20 % tax on all overages plus surtaxes ought to they exceed the quantity by $20 million or extra. They might additionally relinquish their second-highest choose within the June draft and $500,000 from their worldwide bonus pool cash ought to they signal a participant who acquired a qualifying supply from his earlier group. Golf equipment that exceed the CBT threshold should surrender their second-and-fifth-highest choices within the draft and $1 million in worldwide bonus pool cash.
Additional, important cash got here off the Dodgers’ books after the 2019 season. Their present projected payroll for 2020 is sort of $32 million beneath the aggressive steadiness tax threshold, in accordance with RosterResource.com, so they could not must pay the comparatively small tax to land a top-tier free agent this offseason. A transfer or two may offload extra wage to create further room.
One chance is buying and selling outfielder Joc Pederson. MLB Commerce Rumors tasks Pederson would make $eight.5 million by means of arbitration after he posted a career-high 36 dwelling runs — all towards right-handed pitchers — and .876 on-base-plus-slugging proportion. The Dodgers and Chicago White Sox have reportedly mentioned Pederson. The Dodgers have greater than sufficient choices to maneuver on with out Pederson: Cody Bellinger, Alex Verdugo, Enrique Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Pollock all play outfield and are beneath contract for subsequent season.
Competitors for the highest free brokers is stiff. Cole, a 29-year-old Orange County native and UCLA product, has additionally met with the Angels and the New York Yankees, who reportedly are all in on Cole and boast the monetary wherewithal to outbid anybody.
The Washington Nationals may re-sign both Strasburg or Rendon, however proprietor Mark Lerner reportedly stated they’ll’t retain each. Strasburg, 31, is a free agent after opting out of his contract with 4 years and $100 million left days after being named World Sequence MVP. The Yankees have reportedly additionally met with him and will flip to Strasburg in the event that they miss out on Cole. If the Dodgers strike out on each pitchers, they may orchestrate a reunion with Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Rendon, 29, is coming off his finest season and would give the Dodgers the elite right-handed bat they’ve coveted. The third baseman has additionally reportedly met with the Texas Rangers. The Philadelphia Phillies, who signed Harper in February to a 13-year, $330-million contract, have reportedly made him a precedence. Donaldson, who turns 34 on Sunday, would require a shorter, inexpensive contract.
Then there’s the commerce market. Betts, Lindor and Bryant have all been perennial All-Stars and MVP-caliber gamers. Buying one among them would require spending important prospect capital on high of the salaries owed. Betts is beneath contract for only one 12 months, whereas Lindor and Bryant have two years of management remaining.
Both route would in all probability value the Dodgers a value they haven’t paid with Friedman on the helm. The query is, will they pay it?
window.fbAsyncInit = function() ;
(function(d, s, id)
var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s);
js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;
js.src = "http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js";
(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));