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5 non-tendered players Dodgers could pursue

December 4, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- Whether it’s because of salary, injury or declining performance, there is usually a pretty good reason when MLB clubs cut ties with non-tendered players. But the Dodgers need to look no further than third base to appreciate the potential value when a club gives up prematurely on

LOS ANGELES -- Whether it’s because of salary, injury or declining performance, there is usually a pretty good reason when MLB clubs cut ties with non-tendered players.

But the Dodgers need to look no further than third base to appreciate the potential value when a club gives up prematurely on a talent, as the Mets did with Justin Turner six years ago. The Dodgers gave him a second chance, and Turner turned that into a $70 million career.

Is there another Turner out there for the Dodgers? Here are five non-tendered free agents who the Dodgers might find intriguing:

Kevin Gausman, RHP
There’s already been rumored interest by the Dodgers for Gausman. In fact, the Dodgers drafted him in the sixth round in 2010, but he opted to attend LSU and was later the No. 4 overall pick by the Orioles in 2012. The Braves acquired him at the 2018 Trade Deadline, and he posted a 2.87 ERA in 10 starts down the stretch.

But in 2019, Gausman had a 6.19 ERA in 16 starts for Atlanta before being claimed off waivers by Cincinnati, where he pitched primarily out of the bullpen. He’s only 29 in January, and the Dodgers could use an innings eater with the subtraction of Rich Hill and (probably) Hyun-Jin Ryu from the rotation, or continue Gausman's conversion to reliever.

Blake Treinen, RHP
In 2018, Treinen posted a 0.78 ERA in 80 1/3 innings. But in '19, his ERA ballooned to 4.91 and he lost his closing job with the A's. Considering the mixed results received after splurging on Joe Kelly last winter, the Dodgers will probably back away if a bidding war ensues for Treinen.

In that scenario, the Dodgers might find Alex Claudio a better value. He appeared in a Major League-high 83 games in 2019, posting a 4.06 ERA in 62 innings.

Taijuan Walker, RHP
No Dodgers list is complete without a Tommy John reclamation project. Walker has pitched in only four games since 2017, undergoing elbow reconstruction surgery in '18, and then he sprained his shoulder capsule to sidetrack his comeback and returned to make a one-inning appearance at the end of this past season. He’s only 27.

Aaron Sanchez, RHP
Here’s another injury reclamation, as Sanchez underwent shoulder surgery two months ago and is expected to miss the start of the 2020 season. But he’s 27 and three years removed from an American League ERA title and All-Star selection, so teams like the Dodgers will be intrigued in the bounce-back candidate.

Kevin Plawecki, C
Plawecki ranked second on Statcast’s catcher framing leaderboard in 2019, which should put him on the Dodgers’ radar as a less expensive replacement for veteran backup Russell Martin (who ranked fourth; Austin Barnes was 11th, Will Smith 19th).