Here’s where Dodgers stand ahead of 2022
LOS ANGELES -- Now that Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have agreed to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Dodgers are ready to take the field, looking to win back the NL West after falling one game short of the Giants in 2021.
But before the Dodgers take the field for Spring Training, let’s revisit what the club has done this offseason and what might be coming over the next few weeks.
What deals have already been made?
In what was expected to be a busy offseason, the Dodgers made a handful of moves before the stoppage.
• LHP Andrew Heaney signed a one-year, $8.5 million deal.
• Infielders Eddys Leonard, Jorbit Vivas and Jacob Amaya, outfielder James Outman, and right-hander Michael Grove were added to the 40-man roster.
• Outfielders Billy McKinney and Zach Reks were traded to the Rangers for cash.
• Infielder Sheldon Neuse was designated for assignment.
• Utility man Chris Taylor signed a four-year, $60 million deal to stay with the Dodgers.
• Right-handed reliever Daniel Hudson signed a one-year deal worth about $7 million.• Outfielder Cody Bellinger agreed to a one-year, $17 million deal. Bellinger, who is under club control through the 2023 season, had been a non-tender candidate before coming to terms on a deal.
Who signed elsewhere?
• Right-hander Max Scherzer signed a three-year, $130 million deal with the Mets.
• Shortstop Corey Seager signed a 10-year, $324 million deal with the Rangers.
• Right-hander Corey Knebel signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Phillies.
What about the Dodgers’ other free agents? Are any of them coming back?
The Dodgers were able to finalize an agreement with Taylor before the Dec. 1 lockout, so their attention now shifts to other core players, specifically Clayton Kershaw. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has said they expect to work out a deal with the future Hall of Famer, if that’s what Kershaw wants. He also has been linked to the Rangers, which would keep him close to his Dallas-area home.
Kenley Jansen is another longtime Dodger who might’ve played his last game with the organization. Jansen had a bounceback season, recording 38 saves, and should have plenty of suitors in free agency, likely ending his time in Los Angeles.
Albert Pujols, Cole Hamels, Danny Duffy, Jimmy Nelson, Joe Kelly and Scott Alexander are also in the Dodgers’ free-agent class. It remains to be seen how much interest Los Angeles will have in bringing back players from that group.
What are the Dodgers’ biggest remaining needs and who might they target?
Despite losing Seager and Scherzer in free agency, the Dodgers are still expected to be one of the deepest teams in the National League. Trea Turner, who started at second base after arriving in a midseason trade with the Nationals, will slot back into his natural shortstop position, replacing Seager. Gavin Lux and Taylor will help solidify second base.
If there’s one area that could use some improvement, however, it’s the starting pitching. The Dodgers rode their starters to a 106-win season in 2021, but they have needs to address over the next few weeks.
Bringing Kershaw back would certainly help, but with the left-hander’s health in question, and the uncertainty surrounding Trevor Bauer and his availability, the Dodgers would be interested in bringing in another arm. Their best chance at doing so would likely come via trade, with Cincinnati right-handers Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray two potential targets.
Outside of the rotation, the Dodgers could also benefit from adding another bat, particularly a left-handed one. That’s where Freddie Freeman could come into play. At one point it seemed inevitable that the star first baseman and the Braves would come to terms on a deal. But the longer that situation drags on, the more likely it becomes that Freeman will be playing elsewhere in 2022. The Dodgers would make a lot of sense, given that he grew up in Orange County.
How does the 40-man roster look?
The Dodgers don’t have any open spots on the 40-man roster, meaning that they will have to make a corresponding move in the event of a free-agent signing or trade.