Today marks the day that AF/BG can begin negotiations with Shohei Ohtani and the other FA. I would love to be in the room with the owners as they advise AF what he can spend when it comes to Ohtani. If there is a player who can increase the value of the organization, and their investment more than the projected cost, it is the unicorn Shohei Ohtani. But that has to be a singular component to free agency that does not have any impact on the search for elite talent otherwise. Whatever Ohtani costs, the organization will recoup it in value increase. Hopefully it will also translate into more wins, but make no mistake, Ohtani will be a business decision, not a baseball decision. For that reason, I do believe there is a chance that AF will finally win a FA bid (not named Bauer). Freddie does not count, because there were not many teams that were bidding for him after the CBA was signed.
To the best of my knowledge (and research), below is as close to as a cumulative listing of Free Agents signed by LAD during the AF era. It is possible that I have missed some, but nobody significant (I think). It also does not include players who signed MiLB contracts and reached MLB and impacted the Dodgers. Two off the top of my head are RHRP Brandon Morrow and OF Jason Heyward. I did not spend a lot of time (okay extremely little time) on researching free agents who signed MiLB contracts. If anyone thinks this is a worthwhile endeavor, be my guest.
If anyone has any names that I have missed, please let me know so I can include it into my database.
- 12-11-2014 – RHSP – Brandon McCarthy, 4 years $48MM
- 12-31-2014 – LHSP – Brett Anderson, 1 year $10MM
- 02-21-2015 – RHRP – Brandon Beachy – 1 year $2.75MM
- 11-13-2015 – LHSP – Brett Anderson accepted QO
- 12-09-2015 – 2B – Chase Utley, 1 year $7MM
- 12-30-2015 – LHSP – Scott Kazmir, 3 years $48MM
- 01-09-2016 – RHSP – Kenta Maeda, 8 years $25MM ++++Incentives
- 01-19-2016 – RHRP – Joe Blanton, 1 year $4MM
- 02-04-2016 – 2B – Howie Kendrick, 2 years $20MM
- 02-19-2016 – RHRP – Luis Coleman, 1 year $750K
- 02-21-2016 – RHRP – Yaisel Sierra, 6 years $30MM
- 12-05-2016 – LHSP – Rich Hill re-signed, 3 years $48MM
- 12-23-2016 – 3B – Justin Turner re-signed, 4 years $64MM
- 01-10-2017 – RHRP – Kenley Jansen re-signed, 5 years $80MM
- 02-11-2017 – 2B – Chase Utley re-signed, 1 year $2MM
- 02-15-2017 – RHRP – Sergio Romo, 1 year $3MM
- 12-20-2017 – RHRP – Tom Koehler, 1 year $2MM
- 02-13-2018 – 2B – Chase Utley re-signed, 2 years $2MM
- 11-02-2018 – LHSP – Clayton Kershaw re-signed, 3 years $93MM
- 11-12-2018 – LHSP – Hyun-jin Ryu accepted QO
- 12-21-2018 – RHRP – Joe Kelly, 3 years $25MM
- 01-26-2019 – OF – AJ Pollock, 5 years $60MM
- 12-15-2019 – RHRP – Blake Treinen, 1 year $10MM
- 01-15-2020 – LHSP – Alex Wood, 1 year $4MM
- 01-18-2020 – RHRP – Jimmy Nelson, 1 year $1.25MM
- 07-21-2020 – LHRP – Jake McGee, 1 year minimum (Balance paid by Colorado)
- 12-29-2020 – RHRP – Tommy Kahnle, 2 years $5.25MM
- 01-05-2021 – RHRP – Blake Treinen re-signed, 2 years $17.5MM
- 02-05-2021 – RHSP – Trevor Bauer, 3 years $102MM
- 02-13-2021 – 3B – Justin Turner re-signed, 2 years $34MM
- 11-10-2021 – LHSP – Andrew Heaney, 1 year $8.5MM
- 11-29-2021 – RHRP – Daniel Hudson, 1 year $7MM
- 03-13-2022 – LHSP – Clayton Kershaw re-signed, 1 year $17MM
- 03-17-2022 – RHRP – Jimmy Nelson re-signed, 1 year $700K
- 03-18-2022 – 1B – Freddie Freeman, 6 years $162MM
- 03-18-2022 – LHSP – Tyler Anderson, 1 year $8.0MM
- 03-22-2022 – RHRP – Blake Treinen club option exercised, 1 year $8MM
- 03-23-2022 – INF – Hanser Alberto, 1 year $1.6MM
- 09-22-2022 – RHRP – Daniel Hudson club option exercised, 1 year $6.5MM
- 11-29-2022 – RHRP – Shelby Miller, 1 year $1.5MM
- 12-05-2022 – LHSP – Clayton Kershaw re-signed, 1 year $20MM
- 12-14-2022 – RHSP – Noah Syndergaard, 1 year $13MM
- 12-30-2022 – DH – JD Martinez, 1 year $10MM
- 02-10-2023 – OF – David Peralta, 1 year $6.5MM
- 02-11-2023 – RHRP – Alex Reyes, 1 year $1.3MM
- 02-15-2023 – RHRP – Jimmy Nelson re-signed, 1 year $1.2MM
The largest contracts in terms of $$$ is:
- Freddie Freeman – 6 years $162MM
- Trevor Bauer – 3 years $102MM
- Clayton Kershaw – 3 years $93MM
- Kenley Jansen – 5 years $80MM
- Justin Turner – 4 years $64MM
- AJ Pollock – 5 years $60MM
Over the last three years AF has signed 20 players for a cumulative free agent cost of $431.55MM. 2020-2021 ($158.75MM), 2021-2022 ($212.80MM), 2022-2023 ($60MM).
The current payroll estimate is $155MM, with the CBT threshold at $237MM.
AF says that he is going to “aggressively” pursue starting pitching. Nowhere did he say he was going to sign elite pitching north of $100MM. He also did not intimate what aggressively pursue means. That does not mean he will not alter his MO. AF tries to minimize risk in every deal from a financial standpoint for starting pitching; with the one exception, Trevor Bauer.
Maybe AF believes that signing Andrew Heaney, Tyler Anderson, and Noah Syndergaard to one year deals totaling $29.5MM was aggressively pursuing SP.
While AF was lamenting the sorry state of his team’s starting pitching, he commented about pitchers able to go 6.0 to 7.0 IP in the playoffs.
“The question is, how many of them are there on planet Earth?”
“There aren’t too many guys going six or seven in postseason games, anecdotally, as I look around,” Friedman said.
Maybe he should have looked around a little more:
- Nathan Eovaldi – 6 starts, 5 starts 6.0 IP or more
- Jordan Montgomery – 6 starts, 3 starts 6.0 IP or more
- Zac Gallen – 6 starts, 3 starts 6.0 IP or more
- Zack Wheeler – 5 starts, 4 starts 6.0 IP or more
- Aaron Nola – 4 starts, 2 starts 6.0 IP or more
- Merrill Kelly – 4 starts, 2 starts 6.0 IP or more (all 4 5.0 IP or more)
- Justin Verlander – 3 starts, 2 starts 6.0 IP or more (other 5.2 IP)
- Spencer Strider – 2 starts, 1 start 6.0 IP or more (other 5.2 IP)
The Dodgers had 3 starting pitchers total 4.2 IP in total.
“I prefer that personally for a starting pitcher to take the ball and do that,” Friedman said.
“There’s just fewer and fewer of them every year, so therefore the supply is more limited. It’s just harder to access.”
Well there were three that AF could have had. Nathan Eovaldi was passed over for Noah Syndergaard. JV was too expensive. And I have no idea why AF could not acquire Jordan Montgomery either at the 2022 or 2023 deadline. He really was not that expensive for either trade.
AF has readily admitted “I didn’t do a good enough job.” I do not think he will be getting a lot of fans disagreeing with that comment. Now he has to do better. The first thing he can do is forget the notion that top of the rotation pitchers cannot go 6.0 IP or more in the playoffs. Maybe the Dodgers SP. But when your geeks tell you that your pitchers should not go through the lineup a 3rd time, you will be right…they will not go 6.0 IP.
Maybe you could begin with letting your MiLB pitchers get through the lineup 3 times and let them pitch more than 70 pitches. You are right that the SP will not go 6.0 or 7.0 in the postseason if you will not let them stretch out even in MiLB.
Admittedly, that was not the issue this year. The pitching was just awful. But it is the mindset that pitchers have to be limited in IP that has to be changed.
“We’ll certainly be focused on starting pitching for sure,” AF said. “And it’s how to balance the young guys … with Walker Buehler coming back, and then the market, whether it’s through trade or free agency.”
IMO, Bobby Miller is the only young gun that can be considered top of the rotation material. Walker Buehler was there, but he needs to prove he can get back there. The sample size is way to small for Ryan Pepiot and Emmet Sheehan, but they should probably be considered back of the rotation pitchers until they can be trusted.
AF needs 2 front line top of the rotation SP. 3 would be better. There are multiple FA pitchers that are available.
- Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Wasserman)
- Blake Snell (Boras)
- Jordan Montgomery (Boras)
- Aaron Nola (Paragon)
- Sonny Gray (Bo McKinnis)
Andrew, these guys are going to cost. A LOT. Looking at your history, none of these five will be signed by LAD. If you need to do better…start here.
But I fear, it is the next level that you will most be negotiating with:
- Shōta Imanaga(Octagon)
- Lucas Giolito (CAA)
- Seth Lugo (Ballengee)
- Jack Flaherty (CAA)
- James Paxton (Boras)
BTW, I left off Eduardo Rodriguez. He spurned LAD at the deadline. He does not deserve to be a Dodger.
Also, please don’t wait until the trade deadline to acquire top of the rotation pitchers via trade. You will need to spend some of that precious prospect capital, but if you can acquire 1 Ace for 2 mid to back end prospects, you have to make that deal. How many Ross Stripling’s and Mitch White’s do you need before you realize that prospects do not always make it to the top.
When asked what has to be done to stop the carousel of bad Divisional Series, he noted,
“We need to figure out what we can do differently and how to go about it.”
“There is an element that is October theater.”
“I do think that there’s good fortune that plays in … [but] we didn’t hold a lead in this division series,” he said.
“For a team this talented to play 27 innings where we do not hold a lead is beyond that … it’s something we have to figure out and do what we can to put ourselves in a position to not have that happen.”
Maybe AF does not agree that it is just a crapshoot. If he did, then he would not be lamenting the back to back NLDS disastrous dismissals as he seems to be.
Andrew, take a look at the top 5 FA pitchers and get two of them. That is a start. But if you settle for Lucas Giolito or Jack Flaherty then you are setting yourself up for more of the same.
We can and will get into prospective trades as we continue on into the Hot Stove League.
AF, you said you need to get better…we agree. Change your mindset and FA approach, and you just might get there.