After the World Series ended in Houston on Saturday, the offseason officially started on Sunday morning. At 6 a.m. PT, scores of players became free agents, including 10 Dodgers, a group led by Trea Turner and Clayton Kershaw.
Joining those two are Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, David Price, Chris Martin, Tommy Kahnle, Joey Gallo, Craig Kimbrel, Kevin Pillar.
While these players are all free agents now, actual free agency doesn’t start until 2 p.m. PT on Thursday, which is the end of the five-day “quiet period.” No player can sign with a new team before then, but they could sign with their previous team at any time. Baseball isn’t like basketball or football, in that there won’t be a mad rush of deals the second the market is open. MLB’s offseason moves at a much slower, sometimes glacial pace.
This is the second consecutive year the Dodgers have a premier shortstop hitting free agency, with Turner almost two years older than Corey Seager was last offseason, when he signed a 10-year, $325-million contract with the Rangers. The demand for Turner will be high, which makes him a no-brainer to receive a qualifying offer.
The qualifying offer is a one-year, $19.65 million contract that must be extended by 2 p.m. PT on Thursday, with the player having 10 days to accept of decline. If a player declines and signs elsewhere, the former team receives draft-pick compensation.
Dodgers free agents
The Dodgers did not extend Kershaw a qualifying offer last year, a time in which Kershaw was facing much uncertainty with his season-ending elbow injury. This year Kershaw is healthy, but it sure sounds like the same path will be followed this year.
“Like I said last year, for him to take the time and put his head together with Ellen and figure out what makes the most sense for their family is what we’re going to afford them the time to do,” Andrew Friedman said on October 18. “Whether it’s a decision they make quickly, or it takes some time, I’m not sure of that right now.”
Another potential qualifying-offer recipient could be Anderson, who had a career year on the mound, leading the Dodgers in innings pitched (178⅔) while finishing fifth in the National League in ERA (2.57). The left-hander, who turns 33 in December, made $8.5 million in 2022.
Heaney also made $8.5 million on a one-year deal with the Dodgers, and set career bests in ERA (3.10) and strikeout rate (35.5 percent). But he also missed half the season on two separate injured list stints with left shoulder inflammation.
The Dodgers traded for Kimbrel at the end of spring training, and he had by far the lowest strikeout rate (27.7 percent) of his career en route to a 3.75 ERA. He lost the closer role in September, and was left off the roster for the National League Division Series.
Price reached the end of his seven-year contract originally signed with the Red Sox. He put up a 2.45 ERA and 3.88 FIP in 40 games and 40⅓ innings this season with the Dodgers. The 37-year-old Price mentioned multiple times throughout the season that he might retire at season’s end, but that hasn’t yet been made official.
Martin was excellent for the Dodgers after getting acquired from the Cubs at the trade deadline, posting a 1.46 ERA with 34 strikeouts against only one walk with Los Angeles. Martin recorded the save in the Dodgers’ only win of the NLDS.
Gallo was also acquired at the trade deadline and, though he provided actual outfield defense, he didn’t hit much at all, hitting .162/.277/.393 with a 41.6-percent strikeout rate in 44 games, with seven home runs. He played in only one of four NLDS games, but did not bat.
The Dodgers signed Tommy Kahnle to a two-year, $4.75-million contract before the 2021 season while he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. After rehabbing the entire first year of his deal as planned, Kahnle was activated by the Dodgers in April, but then missed another four months with a bone bruise in his right elbow. He put up a 2.84 ERA and 4.38 FIP in 13 games, with 14 strikeouts and three walks in 12⅔ innings.
Kevin Pillar is a local kid who played high school baseball at Chaminade in West Hills and college ball at Cal State Dominguez Hills. The 33-year-old veteran signed a minor league deal with his hometown team in March and was called up to the team in May. He played in just four games before suffering a broken shoulder. He played in a few minor league rehab games down the stretch, but the major league portion of his season was over.
With these players now free agents, the Dodgers’ 40-man roster to begin the offseason has 36 players. The Dodgers also hold club options for 2023 on Justin Turner, Hanser Alberto, Danny Duffy, and Jimmy Nelson, with those decisions due by Thursday.