Happy Saturday, party people. The first spring training game is officially less than a week away and players will be reporting to camp in the coming days.
Yesterday was a great day for the Dodgers, as they reportedly re-signed Clayton Kershaw to a one-year contract. However, there is still a lot of work for LA to do as they put together their roster for a brand new season.
They’ve been attached to a number of names over the last few days. Here are the latest rumors surrounding free agents and the Dodgers.
This is the biggest one. It appears to be a two-team race between the Dodgers and Braves at this point, but there very well could be other teams in the mix. We’ve known for a while that LA is interested in the former MVP, but Jon Morosi tweeted last night that the Dodgers were making a strong push.
As of this morning, he’s been the only reporter to indicate the Dodgers are as aggressive as they sound, so we’ll take this tweet with a grain of salt before we hear otherwise.
Still, make sure to have those notifications turned on.
Sources: #Dodgers talks with Freddie Freeman are intensifying. The sides remain in contact tonight on a deal that would bring the reigning World Series champ home to his native California. @MLB @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) March 12, 2022
With the designated hitter coming to the National League in 2022, it opens up the market more for players like Nelson Cruz. Apparently, the Dodgers have shown interest in one of the best power hitters from the last decade.
Cruz would be a welcoming addition to LA’s lineup. Although he’s 41 years old, he’s still got it. In 2021, Cruz hit 32 home runs and posted an OPS of .832.
However, this move wouldn’t necessarily make any sense for the Dodgers. Cruz is limited to only being the DH, which goes against how the Dodgers would like to use the position. When speaking with reporters on Friday, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he expects to use the DH as a revolving position, allowing players to get days off and play matchups to their advantage.
Source: At least 8 teams interested in DH Nelson Cruz, including #Dodgers #Padres and #Brewers.— Enrique Rojas/ESPN (@Enrique_Rojas1) March 12, 2022
Nellie's market is accelerating, but he's not closing a deal yet.
Fuente: Al menos 8 clubes interesados en Nelson Cruz, incluyendo #Dodgers #Padres y #Brewers.
Nada definitivo aún.
Another intriguing name that has been linked to the Dodgers is Jorge Soler. Just like with Cruz, having Soler’s bat in the lineup would be huge. He adds another powerful bat that would just provide more depth for LA’s offense.
Yet again, just like we mentioned with Cruz, Soler doesn’t make as much sense for the Dodgers, considering he’s limited to the DH position and right field. Considering LA has one of the best right fielders in all of baseball in Mookie Betts, I don’t think Soler will be seeing much playing time out there.
Like I mentioned earlier, the Dodgers want to use the DH to their advantage as opposed to penciling in the same guy nearly every game. Soler proved in 2021 he’s not just a depth piece, so he’ll likely be landing a full-time starting job and better pay day somewhere else.
Back in November, David Vassegh reported that the Dodgers were showing interest in Japanese outfielder Seiya Suzuki. It was pretty quiet on that front, as the Dodgers weren’t linked to him since. However, that changed yesterday, as Jon Heyman said the Dodgers were one of the teams pursuing Suzuki.
At 27 years old, many consider Suzuki to be one of the biggest talents to ever come out of Japan. In 2021, the right-hander hit .319 with 38 homers and 88 RBI. He’s a career .315 hitter with 182 home runs and has driven in 562 runs. Suzuki won the 2019 Central League batting title, is a four-time All-Star and is a three-time Gold Glove winner.
Since 2015, Suzuki has only played in the outfield. The Dodgers are pretty set when it comes to outfielders, so this seems like it would be a tough fit. If LA is truly interested, they could always trade AJ Pollock to free up a spot in the outfield.
Mariners, Giants, Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox among the hottest pursuers of OF talented all-around OF Seiya Suzuki. 5 time NPB Best Nine award winner.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 12, 2022
This would be a very good option for the Dodgers, as Jonathan Villar would be a great depth piece on the roster.
He had a decent season in 2021 with the Mets, posting an OPS of .738 with 18 home runs and 18 doubles. Villar has hit as many as 24 homers, which he did back in 2019.
In addition to providing some power, Villar has been one of the best base stealers over the last few years. He stole 14 bases last season, which nowadays will nearly get you inside the top 10 in the league. In 2019 he swiped 40 bases and back in 2016 he led all of the majors with 62 stolen bases.
Villar also provides defensive versatility for LA. In 2021, he spent 97 games at third base, 26 games at shortstop and nine games at second base. With the Dodgers rotating their infield and using the DH to their advantage, Villar would be a great addition to fill in when needed and provide a bat and speed off the bench.