We’re less than 40 days away from the first Spring Training game (hopefully) and it’s been a fairly quiet offseason up to this point. The hot stove has been heating up over the last few days, and I have a feeling we can see a lot of moves go down this week.
Here’s the latest news and rumors surrounding the Dodgers.
This was an interesting note we got from Ken Rosenthal yesterday. He reported that the Dodgers have compiled a list of infield alternatives, including free agent Marcus Semien. This is assuming that the Dodgers don’t bring back Justin Turner, of course.
For the sake of this rumor, let’s say the Dodgers don’t bring back Turner. Would Semien be a good fit? ..... I think? The big question mark here is the fact that he’s a shortstop. Of his 854 career games, 775 of them have come at short. He’s spent 50 games at third base and 29 games at second base.
Per Rosenthal, he’s drawing interest to play either one of those positions. If the Dodgers signed him, he would play third base or multiple positions, since you know... Corey Seager is currently LA’s shortstop.
Semien was really good for Oakland in 2019. And when I say really good, I mean it. He finished third in AL MVP voting after hitting 33 home runs with 92 RBI. His OPS was a career-high .892. Aside from that season, he’s been pretty ‘eh’ throughout his career.
His .223 average last season was the worst of his career and his OPS (.679) was the lowest since 2014. His power numbers declined as well, as he was on pace to hit 22 home runs over the course of a full season.
Though his bat definitely has shown potential, his numbers haven’t necessarily blown anyone away in any season other than his 2019 campaign. With that being said, his versatility could be what makes him a good signing. We know the Dodgers love players who can play all over the field, and if he’d be able to play second base, third base and occasional games at shortstop, that’d be a huge bonus.
MLBTradeRumors projected he’d earn a contract of one year for $14 million. If the Dodgers swing and miss on Turner, a one-year rental for Semien could potentially be great value. It doesn’t look like Enrique Hernandez will be returning, so they’ll be losing one of their most versatile weapons. I don’t think LA is confident enough in Edwin Rios, Matt Beaty and Zach McKinstry to see consistent playing time either.
This is a player who has proven he has what it takes to play at an All-Star level. The Dodgers won’t have to rely on his bat, considering they have numerous players who can hit 30 home runs in a season easily. If Semien is able to play multiple infield positions at an above average level defensively, it could actually be a very good move.
Of course, this is just all assuming that Turner doesn’t come back.
Is there a world out there where the Dodgers sign both Turner AND Semien. Sure. Do I think that will happen? I doubt it.
Here’s one name I haven’t thought about once all offseason, that is, until Mark Feinsand reported the Dodgers were interested in him.
The reliever market remains crowded with talent, but one pitcher on a lot of radars is Jeremy Jeffress; per sources, at least 10 teams have some level of interest in the right-hander including Blue Jays, Red Sox, Cubs, Astros, Dodgers, Mets, Phillies and Nationals.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) January 18, 2021
LA has been attached to numerous bullpen names all offseason, such as Kirby Yates, Liam Hendriks and Brad Hand. They missed on the first two and don’t appear to be close with the third. Now, it looks like they’re attached to another. Jeremy Jeffress.
The 33-year-old had an interesting season last year for the Cubs. He was 4-1 and posted a great ERA of 1.54. However, his numbers everywhere else weren’t that great. His FIP was 4.05, an insane difference compared to his ERA. He averaged only 6.6 strikeouts per nine innings, one of the lowest numbers of his 11-year career. Plus, none of these numbers were ideal either.
Dodgers fans remember him from his days in Milwaukee, when Yasiel Puig hit the game-clinching homer off him in Game 7 of the NLCS in 2018. In five games that series, Jeffress owned a 7.71 ERA.
According to the tweet, there are at least 10 teams with interest in Jeffress, so I don’t think he’s necessarily sitting at the top of LA’s wishlist.
We really want to know whether or not the DH is going to be back in the National League next season. I don’t think anyone wants to know more than Marcell Ozuna. The free-agent is coming off a spectacular season with the Braves and would make any lineup that much better. The problem, he’s more fit to be a DH.
Ozuna can still play left field, sure. He’s not awful by any means. He just is more preferred as a DH, which at this time, only 15 teams can offer. There’s optimism that the DH will be back in the NL this season, but until that’s officially announced, he’s just sitting in no-mans land.
The Dodgers have reportedly been interested in Ozuna, and have also supposedly had negotiations with him. He’d be a great addition to the Dodgers lineup, as he’d give LA yet another player who can go out there and hit 30 homers. If needed, he’s still capable of playing left field, so the Dodgers would be able to utilize their DH still.
Again, this is all assuming the DH returns. I don’t see any world out there with the Dodgers signing Ozuna and the DH not being back, unless they make a lot of moves prior.
The Dodgers haven’t been attached to Nelson Cruz, at least that I know of. There’s a solid chance they have zero interest at all. Yesterday it was reported that Cruz is drawing interest from both AL and NL teams. If the Dodgers are reportedly in on bringing in a power bat if there’s a DH, why not be interested in Cruz as well?
I get it, Cruz will be 40 this season, which seems nuts. But he’s been the best power hitter in baseball over the last few years. He hit 16 homers in 53 games last season with an OPS of .992, and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Additionally he would be much cheaper than Ozuna, as Cruz would likely only be looking for a one-year contract.
The problem? Well, if you’re bringing in Cruz, he’ll only be the DH. He hasn’t played in the outfield since 2018, in which he played only four games. We know the Dodgers like to maximize their DH, which I don’t think can happen if they were to have Cruz. He’d be an every day kind of bat you’d need, which would really limit the amount you could shift players around.
If the Dodgers are content on just having a full-time DH who can hit potentially 40 home runs while posting an OPS of .900 or better, this is a dream fit. However, I don’t think they want to commit to a single player at the DH spot.