The Dodgers will enter the winter meetings next week with the intentions of signing reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani among other priorities.
Jeff Passan of ESPN already reported that the Dodgers, Rangers, and Red Sox are all among Ohtani’s top landing destinations, and the free agent will more than likely begin to hold private meetings around the same time as the Winter Meetings. Passan also notes that teams who divulge any inside information about the meetings will essentially be outed from signing Ohtani.
Should the Dodgers end up being the team Ohtani decides to sign with, it will have drastic implications on the current free agent landscape, as Thomas Harrigan of MLB.com writes about the events that could transpire if the Dodgers sign the two time AL MVP:
“So even if the Dodgers are able to land him, he wouldn’t address their most pressing need: starting pitching... we could see them take to the trade market, with the Rays’ Tyler Glasnow, the White Sox Dylan Cease, the Brewers’ Corbin Burnes and the Guardians’ Shane Bieber among the potential candidates to be dealt.”
The Dodgers have also been linked to another Japanese star this offseason in starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Yamamoto has opened his 45-day window for teams to get a chance to meet with the pitcher, and that he is open to playing with another fellow Japanese export, per Andy Martino of SNY.com.
Martino adds that teams like the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox could be intriguing teams for Yamamoto, as fellow former NPB player such as Yu Darvish and Masataka Yoshida are close to him.
The Dodgers have been tied to a more under-the-radar international free agent, as Francys Romero of MLB.com tweets that Los Angeles is one of ten teams that are interested in signing free agent Yariel Rodriguez.
Sources: 10 teams right now are the strongest candidates to sign the Cuban RHP Yariel Rodríguez (26):— Francys Romero (@francysromeroFR) November 3, 2023
Waiting for free agency, Rodríguez threw 94-97 MHP in three consecutive tryouts… pic.twitter.com/vJ5I5Q6xvX
Rodriguez last played in a professional league in 2022, when he was with the Chunichi Dragons of the NPB. In 56 games as a reliever, Rodriguez posted a 6-2 record with a minuscule 1.15 ERA, 0.915 WHIP, striking out 60 hitters and walking 18 while not surrendering a single home run.
Although Rodriguez did not play in the NPB in 2023, he was one of the more effective arms out of Team Cuba’s rotation in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. In two starts, Rodriguez posted a 2.45 ERA in 7 1⁄3 innings, striking out ten and walking six.