The Dodgers aren’t necessarily in the market for a third baseman. That hasn’t stopped them from having their name attached to some of the biggest names available this free agency.
Over the last few days, the Dodgers have been attached to both Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson. This doesn’t come as a surprise, as the Dodgers usually tend to have their name attached to the biggest names on the free-agent market every year. However, considering they have a third baseman with Justin Turner and an already crowded infield, how much sense does it make for the Dodgers to go after one of these stars?
First things first, the Turner situation. He has reportedly offered to move over to first base should the Dodgers sign a third baseman. With him moving to first, Max Muncy would slide over to second base. Depending on what happens at shortstop in 2020, it looks as if Gavin Lux will be a utility player as opposed to an every day player.
Moving on now, let’s start with Rendon. Along with Gerrit Cole, this will likely be the most-mentioned player the Dodgers will be rumored to sign. He’s coming off the best season of his career, in which he finished third in MVP voting. In 146 games, the 29-year-old had a 6.3 WAR, along with 34 homers and a league-leading 126 RBI. Additionally, he had a .319/.412/.598/1.010 slash line.
After a season like that, he’s set up to receive a large pay-day, and it’s unlikely the Dodgers have any intentions of throwing $200+ million his way.
According to The Washington Post, the Nationals offered Rendon a seven-year contract worth between $210-$215 million (with some money deferred) back in September. That was before his dominant October, so it’s likely that his price has gone up.
It will be interesting to see what Rendon values most when negotiating contracts with teams. Does he just want as much money as he can get? Will he prefer to have longevity? He’s a Scott Boras client, so there’s one thing that’s certain, he’ll be getting his money.
If we’ve learned anything from the Dodgers over the years, it’s that they are not going to offer him a lengthy contract like that. However, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them offer a shorter-term deal. Maybe they throw more money his way over 3-4 years? They supposedly did it with another former National, so why not another?
There’s no question that the Dodgers would immediately have one of the best infields in baseball with Rendon, Seager, Muncy and Turner. Rendon would fit in perfectly, and would be a nice right-handed bat addition into the middle of the lineup.
Should the Dodgers strike out on Rendon, there’s another third baseman they could potentially bring in.
Donaldson, who spent last season with Atlanta, had his best season since he was an MVP-finalist in 2016. He had a 6.1 WAR and appeared in 155 games, also the most since 2016. He hit 37 home runs, while posting an OPS of .900.
He proved again that he’s one of the better hitting third basemen in baseball, and he will be a lot cheaper than Rendon. Last offseason, Donaldson signed a one-year deal worth $23 million with Atlanta. Signing a one-year contract was a risky move, but it’s going to pay off. It’s unlikely he’ll sign another one-year deal, but with him entering his age-34 season, it’s tough to see a team offering a deal worth more than five years.
This could be an advantage for the Dodgers, who could easily throw enough money his way over the course of two or three years. Will they? Who knows.
There are still many months until Spring Training, and numerous more rumors are certainly bound to pop up over the months. Regardless of what happens, it’s great to see the Dodgers attached to some of the biggest bats on the free-agent market.