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Free agency notes: Aaron Nola, Shohei Ohtani, James Paxton

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Championship Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Six Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

If there is one thing the Dodgers need to gather in free agency, it is clear that starting pitching is the biggest need.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic believes that the Dodgers are the current favorites to land Shohei Ohtani, who is by far the most highly sought after free agent in baseball this offseason. Among other free agent starting pitcher include 2023 Cy Young candidate Blake Snell, recent World Series champion Jordan Montgomery, and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who struck out 15 hitters in his final start of the Japan Series.

If the Dodgers fail to strike a deal with any of the names listed, there is another option for adding a an ace-caliber pitcher that can easily be slated at the top of the Dodgers’ rotation. That pitcher is now-former Phillies starter Aaron Nola.

Nola reverted back to his 2021 form this season after finishing fourth in Cy Young voting for the 2022 season, finishing with a 12-9 record with a 4.46 ERA with 202 strikeouts in 193 23 innings and an ERA+ of just 96. In the postseason, Nola pitched comparable to his 2022 form, posting a 2.35 ERA in 4 starts, striking out 23 hitters and walking just four.

Jim Bowden of The Athletic predicts the events that will occur this offseason, which includes the Dodgers signing Nola after failing to win the Ohtani sweepstakes:

“Aaron Nola signs a five-year, $125 million deal with the Dodgers about 24 hours after they learn that they’ve lost out on Ohtani.”


Ben Verlander and Alex Curry of Fox Sports name the three most likely teams to sign Shohei Ohtani this offseason, with the Dodgers leaning as the heavy favorites in the latest episode of Flippin’ Bats:

Per Verlander: “I still think the frontrunner in all of this is the Dodgers. I just think it makes the most sense. It’s a place he’s comfortable with. It’s a team that is competitive and good enough to win.”

In his top-40 free agent list, Jim Bowden of The Athletic has the Dodgers as contenders to sign either Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, or even Blake Snell. There are some under-the-radar starters that Bowden sees as a possible fit for the Dodgers, which includes starters James Paxton, Lucas Giolito, and Jack Flaherty.

Moving out of free agency buzz, Joel Reuter of Bleacher Report released his list of the top 25 first baseman in baseball. After breaking the Dodgers’ single season doubles record and becoming the only first baseman in baseball history to hit 25 home runs, 55 doubles, and steal 20 bases in a single season, Freddie Freeman was named as the best first baseman in all of baseball.