There were three marquee names on the free-agent market this off-season. Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg.
The Dodgers went 0-for-3 on them.
Cole opted to go to New York for a record-breaking nine years worth $324 million, Strasburg returned to the Nats, and Rendon... well, he chose Anaheim because the Dodgers supposedly didn’t even make him an offer.
After striking out on the biggest names in the free agent market, where do the Dodgers go now? They’ve been linked to numerous free-agents, as well as linked to a number of potential trades. Here’s the latest.
The Dodgers have been rumored to be interested in Donaldson all off-season. Coming off a season in which his WAR was 6.1, he’d be a great addition to LA’s lineup. Though he’s four years older than Rendon, he’d still be a great signing, and a much cheaper one at that.
Last year, he had an OPS of .900 and hit 37 home runs, the most he’s hit in a season since 2016. He was great at third as well, as he finished second among third basemen in defensive runs saved. However, he’s rumored to be wanting a contract of at least three-to-four years.
With that being said, it’s hard to imagine the Dodgers offering him a contract that will pay him until either his age 37 or 38 season. It won’t be cheap either, as Ken Rosenthal reported it could be an annual salary of around $25 million. If the Dodgers were unwilling to pay Rendon $35 million a year, a third baseman four years younger, it’s difficult to see them reaching a deal like this with Donaldson.
The Dodgers have reportedly inquired about Hader, but it’s tough to see the Brewers parting ways with him. Hader has won the Trevor Hoffman Award in each of the past two seasons as the top reliever in the National League, meaning his price won’t be cheap.
On top of being arguably the best reliever in baseball, he’s only 25 years old, and is under club control for the next four seasons. Milwaukee is rumored to have asked for at least one top prospect in return, and deservedly so. LA has the prospects to acquire Hader, but it’s tough to see them parting ways with either Gavin Lux or Dustin May to do so.
This one shocked Twitter on Tuesday night, when Rosenthal reported the Dodgers were looking into Bumgarner after failing to sign Cole. Bumgarner had a “down” season last year by his standards, but he’s still one of the better left-handed starters in the game. Plus, he’s still only 30 years old.
The increase in his spin rate on his four-seam fastball last year was the biggest in baseball, and the Dodgers believe he has a ton of upside. He has been rumored to be seeking a deal north of $100 million, so again, we’ll have to wait and see if the Dodgers are willing to offer something like that.
Also, would Bumgarner really consider going to the Dodgers?
Joel Sherman reported that the Dodgers are one of the more aggressive teams on free-agent reliever Betances. He appeared in only one game in 2019, as he spent most of the year on the injured list with a right shoulder impingement. He came back in September, but suffered a partial tear of his left Achilles tendon.
From 2014 through 2018, he was among one of the top relievers in baseball. He appeared in 349 games, posting a 2.22 ERA, 188 ERA+, 2.26 FIP and a 1.018 WHIP. In 373 innings, he struck out 607 hitters, a strikeout-per-nine of nearly 15.
He’ll be a risk with his injury concern from last season, no doubt. However, if the Dodgers can ink him to a one-year deal, there’s a very low-risk/high-reward with him. Much like Blake Treinen, they’d be taking a gamble. But, if he can return to his former self, along with Treinen, the Dodgers would immediately be in contention for the best bullpen in baseball.
With the free-agent market drying up, is there a chance the Dodgers make a blockbuster trade? They are no stranger to making huge trades, as we’ve seen in the past. One of the more rumored trades that has come up has been with the Indians and acquiring their All-Star shortstop, Francisco Lindor.
On Wednesday afternoon, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that the conversations between the Indians and Dodgers are ongoing, and that Cleveland has asked about LA’s two top prospects, Lux and May.
With the Indians likely being unable to sign Lindor to a long-term deal, it makes sense for them to part ways with him and acquire assets. The Dodgers reportedly refuse to include Lux in any deal for Lindor.
I don’t think anything happens here, but it’s just something noteworthy to potentially keep an eye on. The Rockies said they would consider offers for their third baseman, just one year after signing him to a long extension.
Arenado went to high school in Los Angeles and grew up a Dodgers fan, so it seems like a natural fit. However, the price is surely to be high, and it’s tough to see the Rockies trading him within the division, especially to the Dodgers. Though, LA does have the capital to at least grab Colorado’s attention, and dumping Arenado would save the Rockies a lot of money moving forward. Like I said, I doubt anything happens, but hey, rumors are fun!
I don’t have much on this rumor, so I’ll just include the tweet from Jon Morosi.
Source: #Dodgers showing interest in LF Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, who is viewed by many as a better fit for the American League. Tsutsugo faces a Dec. 19 deadline to sign in @MLB after being posted by the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of NPB, for whom he hit 29 HR this year. @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 12, 2019