Every year, the Sunday following the World Series, Max Rieper, of Royals Review, hosts the SB Nation MLB Offseason Sim. It is three days of wheeling and dealing with baseball fans across the country, trying to improve the roster for the upcoming season. It has become an annual tradition that I look forward to with great excitement each Fall.
Unfortunately, I am not as smart as the Dodgers’ front office. With the Dodgers’ roster typically being "almost there" every year, there are never a ton of moves to make.
This year, I had 6 goals to accomplish:
1.Clear spots for the young guys and find roles for guys lost in the depth chart
2. Acquire a contact hitter
3. Acquire an RBI guy to be full-time DH
4. Make a World Series-or-bust move for a 1 or 2 starter
5. Find some athletes and good dugout guys
6. Add depth to the rotation
Here were my moves to try and accomplish these goals:
1. Traded Max Muncy to the Mariners for Marco Gonzales
Gonzales is a reliable #5 starter. He will give the Dodgers innings. Muncy strikes out too much for my liking, and his role became undefined with my other plans for a DH and wanting to give the younger guys opportunities. I planned to trade either him or Chris Taylor, and Muncy was the only one to garner any interest. Guys like Edwin Rios, Andre Jackson, and others who have struggled to find regular roles were dangled but did not get any interest.
Trea Turner was let go via free agency to let Gavin Lux become the Dodgers’ SS. No other SS were considered besides Tim Anderson, who the White Sox did not want to trade. This move allows Chris Taylor to be the 2B, and move to OF or UTIL to open up a spot for Michael Busch when the time comes.
Allowed Justin Turner to walk in free. This decision was purely made to allow Michael Vargas the opportunity prove himself at the ML level.
Cody Bellinger was non-tendered. He was offered a contract with incentives for winning a GG, but declined. That’s OK, because it allows James Outman to become the everyday LF.
2. Traded with the A’s for Tony Kemp
Kemp is versatile, playing 2B and OF. He also doesn’t strike out a lot and is a good athlete.
3. Signed Jose Abreu to a 4 year $90 million deal.
I got roasted by the other GMs for this one, but I stand by it.
I know he’s older, but he is incredibly durable, has never had a "bad" season. He also owns over a .300 lifetime average with RISP and even better with RISP and 2 out. The last two postseasons would have ended differently if the Dodgers were able to get hits with men in scoring position. He strikes out plenty, but hits doubles, hits for average, and is not reliant on the homerun to drive in runs. I wanted to sign him for 1 years at $22 million, but this contract got driven up by bidders. I had to make a "up to 4 years/90mil" final offer, which is what it took for him to sign. Hopefully he will have a David Ortiz-esque finish to his career with the Dodgers. If not, he can be the David Price-type presence in the clubhouse for the last year of his contract.
4. Unfortunately, the Dodgers did not acquire the top-tier P they wanted via trade. Sandy Alcantra was not available, and the Guardians did not answer calls about Shane Bieber. I was fully prepared to make Godfather offers for both of them.
5. Raimel Tapia was signed to be the 4th outfielder. He is very athletic and I think will be a fan favorite in LA. He will be able to step in to any OF spot, or pinch run, and play against both righties and lefties.
Dee Gordon was also signed to a minor-league contract. He is still fast and could pinch run in October, maybe.
6. Signed Chris Archer 1 year $3 mil
Maybe Mark Prior and team can rejuvenate his career.
Resigned Tyler Anderson 3 year $53 million with incentives
An overpay (this contract offer was meant for Kadai Senga…miscommunication between me and the agents). My final offer was going to be 3 years for $45 million with incentives, so it's not much higher than I was going to go. I am betting on a best-case scenario is Anderson being a solid #3. The worst-case scenario I believe is a regression toward his #5 starter-type productivity before he was a Dodger. Either way, he is durable and that is valuable for the regular season.
Acquired Marco Gonzales
Expect him to make 25-30 starts if he is on the team all year. He is capable of eating innings, which is something the Dodgers need.
If Ryan Pepiot or Bobbly Miller emerge, Archer, Gonzales and Anderson could be trade bait for a fringe playoff team looking to add SP depth. Assuming the Andrew Heaney role from last season is another option if any of the young arms emerge.
Free Agent Players the Dodgers missed out on:
Aaron Judge - I knew I wouldn’t pay enough but I offered 8 years and $320 million
Masataka Yoshida - I wanted the Dodgers to have their first significant Japanese position player
Overall, I think i did OK. Just OK. I could have pushed more for Senga and Yoshida, and there is a lot riding on young players to perform in 2023. I wasn’t able to acquire a frontline starter, but was able to add depth to the rotation. I wasn’t going to offer anyone a $400 million contract or anything over 5 years. I came in well under budget (the recommended budget was $293mil and I clocked in at $213mil). It is worth mentioning that $40 mil of that number is tied up in Trevor Bauer and Walker Buehler.
The Dodgers’s strength remains versatility and depth. The biggest weakness, in my opinion, is the bottom of the order. The 6-9 slots of :Vargas, Outman, Taylor, and Thompson can go either way. Fortunately, the Dodgers have assets to acquire proven MLB talent, and riches to absorb unwanted contracts of players that can contribute if these plans do not realize right away.
I am banking on the young players emerging and becoming key contributors the same way Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Chad Billingsly, and Russell Martin did over a decade ago when the Dodgers reestablished themselves as contenders. As much as we loathe them, the Astros have maintained their presence at the top of the AL while giving the young players opportunities, and I think the time has come in LA to do the same. Thank you Dodgers Nation on Youtube for making that point.
What would you have done differently?
What moves did you like? Any moves you hate?
Below is the projected opening day roster and a list of the transactions.
Once again, thank you Max from Royals Review. I appreciate you doing this every year.
Gavin Lux SS
Mookie Betts RF
Freddie Freeman 1B
Jose Abreu DH
Will Smith C
James Outman LF
Miguel Vargas 3B
Chris Taylor 2B
Trayce Thompson CF
Austin Barnes C
Tony Kemp UTIL
Julio Urias L
Tyler Anderson L
Clayton Kershaw L
Tony Gonsolin R
Marco Gonsales R
Decline options on Justin Turner, Danny Duffy, Hanser Alberto, Jimmy Nelson
Trevor Bauer declined to opt out
Jose Abreu to a 4 year, $90 million deal
Clayton Kershaw to a 1 year, $18 million deal
Tyler Anderson to a 3 year, $53 million deal with incentives
Raimel Tapia to a 1 year, $3 million deal
Chris Archer to a 1 year, $3 million deal with incentives
Dee Strange-Gordon to a minor league deal
Thayron Liranzo and River Ryan to the Athletics for Tony KEmp
Max Muncy to the Mariners for Marco Gonzales
Ryan Noda to the Nationals for Tim Cate