The hot stove is heating up.
Earlier this morning, I posted an article discussing the latest rumors surrounding the Dodgers and a number of free agents. One of the free agents discussed was Nelson Cruz, who had been linked to the Dodgers along with a number of teams.
Since then, more reports have come out in regards to the Dodgers’ interest with Cruz, and it doesn’t sound like they’re simply checking in.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Dodgers believe they’ll be able to sign both Cruz AND Freddie Freeman. Here’s what Rosenthal had to say in his latest piece:
The inclusion of a universal DH in the labor agreement makes it possible the Dodgers could add both Freeman and Cruz, who also is drawing interest from the Padres. The Dodgers seemingly believe they could afford both as well; Freeman likely will end up in the $25 million to $30 million range annually on a long-term deal, while Cruz figures to receive about the same salary that he did last season, $13 million, for one year.
Juan Toribio, who covers the Dodgers for MLB.com, also reported the Dodgers’ interest in Cruz this morning. In addition, he added that Cruz is interested in joining the Dodgers.
#Dodgers would prefer to not have a set DH, a good spot to rotate players. But Cruz is definitely interested. If he wants to join, they will pivot and obviously won't say no.— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) March 12, 2022
I talked about it in the other piece, but it’s worth bringing up again. It’s tough to see the Dodgers fully committing to a designated hitter. At this point in his career, Cruz is strictly limited to the DH role, making it tough to give other guys rest and use different lineup configurations.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts also spoke about the DH on Friday, saying he expects to use the DH as a revolving position, allowing players to get days off and play matchups to their advantage. With Cruz, you likely won’t be able to do that.
Maybe if Cruz truly wants to join the Dodgers, they can somehow work around it. I mean, who wouldn’t want to add one of the best power-hitters in baseball to an already stacked lineup?
Dodgers expressed interest in Chris Bassitt
Another notable piece from Rosenthal’s article included the Dodgers showing interest in Athletics starter Chris Bassitt. According to the article, Rosenthal said the Dodgers inquired about the right-handed pitcher prior to the lockout.
With the Dodgers still in need of starting pitching, Bassitt would be quite the addition. He just turned 33 years old and has one year left on his contract. He’s making less than $9 million in 2022, a very affordable price for LA.
Bassitt has finished in the top 10 of American League Cy Young voting each of the last two seasons and was named an All-Star in 2021. Last season with Oakland, he went 12-4 while posting an ERA of 3.15. In 157 1⁄3 innings of action, Bassitt struck out 159 and issued 39 walks.
Not sure how engaged talks have been between the two clubs since the lockout ended, but definitely keep an eye on Oakland as they’re expected to trade a number of pieces in the coming weeks.