As I wrote earlier, IMO the Dodgers have 5 questions that need to be answered in some way: SS, CF, LF, 3B, Starting Pitching. The most obvious and perhaps the more difficult question to navigate an answer for is the SS.
The Dodgers have Trea Turner who is entering free agency. He has stated that he likes playing in the LAD organization. He is comfortable with Mookie and Freddie. But he has also been rumored to want to go back east where he and his wife are from. To some, location is more important than it is to others. How many $$$ will it take for Trea to feel that Los Angeles is where he wants to spend the remainder of his baseball career? We are going to soon find out.
Internal – Gavin Lux and Jacob Amaya
Lux and Amaya are realistically the only two internal candidates that will be considered. Yes, CT3 can play there, but he is not a true everyday candidate.
Gavin Lux grew up in the organization as a SS, and played well enough to be considered Baseball America’s 2019 MiLB Player of the Year.
However, IMO, Gavin Lux has shown us that he can be an All Star 2B. Defensively, Lux had +3 DRS and +3 OAA as a 2B. His one negative play is going back on a ball. But he excels at coming in on a ball. For show in a small sample size, Gavin had +1 DRS and +1 OAA at SS in 2022.
In 471 PA, Lux hit .276/.346/.399/.745. He had three seasons. He was average April thru May, one of the best hitters in MLB in June and July, and fell back to earth in August before a neck injury hampered his September. In the 2nd third, Lux was aggressive and hit successfully line drives into left center. He more emulated Freddie Freeman. In his final third, there was more chase and whiff, and he more emulated Cody Bellinger.
Put Lux and 2B and leave him there.
Jacob Amaya is considered a glove first SS. He is a 60 fielder and 55 arm. Can he hit enough to stick in ML. Most baseball prognosticators believe he is an infield utility player rather than an everyday SS.
He played about 60% of the season at AAA and hit (for the year) .261/.369/.427/.795. He had 17 HRs, 20 doubles, and 71 RBIs with a 19.7% K rate. He does not have the power that CT3 has, but he also does not strike out as much. Amaya is probably a better defensive infielder, but no OF play to consider him a Swiss Army knife for 2023.
I have always been a Jake Amaya fan, and while he was added to the 40 man roster last winter, he is not ready to play regular SS for a title contending team. I would love to be wrong.
Elite Free Agents – Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, and Dansby Swanson
Carlos Correa – 09-22-94 – 28 years old
In an interesting twist, in January 2022, Carlos Correa changed agents and Scott Boras now represents him. Boras also represents Xander Bogaerts. Last year, Boras represented Corey Seager and Marcus Semien. He has two more elite SS under his control again this winter.
I have maintained that AF has never signed a Boras FA, even though he has negotiated on multiple players. Boras loves to use LAD to build up the cost.
Last year Correa signed a 3 year $105.3 MM contract with 2 opt out years after 2022 and 2023. He has chosen to opt out leaving his $70.2 MM remaining salary on the table.
Offensively, in 590 PA, he batted .291/.366/.467/.834. 20.5% K Rate. 5.4 bWAR, 4.4 fWAR, and 140 OPS+.
Last year was Correa’s worst defensively. He was -3 OAA and +3 DRS.
The biggest concern for Correa is his health. He has had multiple years where Correa has spent considerable time on the IL. Relatively healthy in 2022, he still spent time on the IL twice. In 2017-2019, he played in only 109 games, 110 games, and 75 games respectively. Does his injury history warrant an 8-10 year deal?
Second negative is his involvement in the 2017 Astros cheating scandal. While some fans may have decided to move on, will the larger contingent of LAD fans? The Dodgers have been rumored to be interested in pursuing Correa. Nothing makes Scott Boras happier than the Dodgers involved in negotiations for one of his clients.
Xander Bogaerts – 10-01-92 – 30 years old
Another Scott Boras client. In 631 PA for 2022, Bogaerts batted .307/.377/.456/.833. 5.7 bWAR, 6.1 fWAR, 131 OPS+. He struck out 18.7% of his PA.
Defensively, overwhelmingly Bogaerts had his best season. He had +5 OAA and +4 DRS. Can he duplicate that.
For the first time since 2017, Bogaerts failed to hit 20 HRs. He used to destroy fastballs, but per Keith Law, has drifted downward since 2019 and now is merely above-average against them, while against all pitches this year he swung and missed more and barreled the ball less, even in-zone.
Per Keith Law, “He might be a $30-35 million player in the first year or two of a long-term deal, but without a return to his hard-hitting ways of 2018-19, he’s likely to underperform that over a 5-6 year deal.”
Dansby Swanson – 02-11-94 – Will be 29 years old
In 696 PA, Swanson batted .277/.329/.447/.776. He had a 5.7 bWAR and 6.4 fWAR with a 115 OPS+.
Defensively Swanson had +9 DRS and +21 OAA. He was the 2022 Gold Glove winner at SS.
Dansby was born and raised around Atlanta. He was born in Kennesaw, GA (27 miles north of Atlanta) and he went to Marietta High School which is about 20 miles north of Atlanta. He has been a Braves fan his entire life, and he has been able to play his entire 7 year ML career with his hometown team. Will he give Atlanta a home team discount? He has decent power but also a high strike out rate, 26.1%. He is an elite defender with plus offensive production.
Multiple prognosticators have Swanson in the Trevor Story and Javier Baez contract range, 6 years $140MM. The Dodgers will be all over this if Swanson does not re-sign with Atlanta.
Trea Turner – 06-30-93 – will be playing as a 30 year old.
Trea batted .298/.343/.466/.809 – 4.9 bWAR, 6.3 fWAR, 121 OPS+. Had 2nd most RBI for SS (100) trailing only Francisco Lindor (107).
Defensively Turner turned in a ho-hum 0 OAA and -1 DRS. He has elite speed which he uses on the base paths and in legging out infield singles. He chased more in 2022.
- Open questions, will Carlos Correa and/or Trea Turner get $300MM deals?
- I cannot see Atlanta passing on Dansby Swanson and pursuing Trea Turner. Trea is better offensively, but is not in the Swanson class defensively. Turner will probably cost more in years and $$$. With Olson, Albies, Riley, Harris, and Acuña Jr. all tied up long term, Atlanta will now decide to add another long term deal for the position players. Turner or Swanson?
- Turner? If not Atlanta, then who on the east coast?
- Philadelphia – This is a real possibility. Bryson Stott is a quality SS for Philly, but he can move to 2B. Dombrowski loves bats, and Turner probably represents the best SS bat on the market.
- NYM – Nope – Francisco Lindor
- NYY – Another possibility, but NYY has been steadfast in their desire to wait for Anthony Volpe.
- Miami or Tampa Bay – Don’t be ridiculous.
- Boston – If they will not sign Xander Bogaerts, why would they sign Trea Turner?
- Cubs – have Nico Hoerner at SS, but he could also be moved to 2B. But they are not a contender for 2023 and probably not 2024 or 2025. They need other pieces than SS. SS is not a position of need. If they spend, it should be on pitching.
- SFG – Brandon Crawford still has one year remaining on his contract. Turner is not going to move to 2B for Crawford. Giants are going to go all in on Aaron Judge. They will also need pitching and OF help.
Of the four elite FA SS, Trea Turner is the most probable to sign with the Dodgers. They have a need. They are contenders, They have the $$$. Turner likes playing for LAD. How fast will Turner want to make a decision? Will he wait for the two Boras clients to sign to set the contract bar?
Wild Card – I like Seattle to pick up one of the four elite SS FA, and move JP Crawford to 2B. They are one to two bats and 1 plus SP away from being a top echelon team.
Non Elite Free Agents – José Iglesias, Non realistic non-elite FA SS – Elvis Andrus, Didi Gregorius, Andrelton Simmons
The only possible non elite SS the Dodgers may consider will be José Iglesias. Iglesias will be 33 in January. His just completed 1 year $5MM deal.
Offensively in 467 PA, he batted .292/.328/.380/.708. 1.2 bWAR, 1.0 fWAR, 90 OPS+. His plus is that he is a 12% strikeout hitter, but also does not walk a lot. He is in the 1 percentile on average exit velocity and barrels. He is in the 4 percentile for hard hit %.
The only reason I bring up Andrus, Gregorius, and Simmons is because these are CT3, JT, and Max Muncy head-scratchers. Don’t want them, don’t expect them. But, you just never know.
Trade Options – This is an area where the Dodgers could pursue a trade. Names they could consider:
- Willy Adames – AF will check in because of his arbitration projection ($9.2MM). The Brewers have 18 arbitration eligible players with a projected payroll of $79.9MM. Obviously some of those will be non-tendered, but how many?
- Nick Ahmed – Arizona has the final year of a 4 year $32.5MM deal, but Arizona looks to be giving the position to Gerardo Perdomo. They could look to get out of this contract. Cost to LAD would be minimal.
- Amed Rosario – Like Milwaukee, Cleveland may look to unload some high dollar projected arbitration players. Cleveland has 9 players with a projected salary of $37.8MM. Rosario’s projected arbitration salary is $9MM and will be a FA after 2023. The other high dollar arbitration player is Shane Bieber ($10.7MM) with 2 years of control. After giving José Ramírez a 7 year $141MM extension, is there more for either Rosario and/or Bieber? AF is going to kick the tires here. Nobody truly believed that Mookie Betts or Juan Soto were trade candidates, and yet they were. Why not Rosario?
- Danny Mendick (ChiSox) – Another ACL injury late June. Same time frame as Daniel Hudson and Royce Lewis.
- Royce Lewis (Twins) – 2 ACL tears. This one late June. I like Lewis long term, but short term, I would have to see his medicals to know if he is a future SS or another SS moving to CF.
Prediction – Dodgers will re-sign Trea Turner.
I think they should start the season with Amaya, and with CT3 as a backup in case it doesn’t work out. And maybe sign some veteran as a free agent. With the DH, a bench of 5 players is no longer “urgent and necessary” (in this case there are only 4). Better to invest that money in pitching and improve the bench. Same with Vargas, let him play and show what he can do, although I don’t know how willing the Dodgers are to have 2 rookies in the same lineup.
Jorge, welcome. Your post was put on for moderator approval. It was approved, and your comments will no longer be on approval mode. I hope you continue to post here.
I wouldn’t mind seeing Amaya at short IF Turner isn’t signed. Lux could stay at 2nd and Amaya could bat in the nine hole.
Hey Jorge. Haven’t seen/heard from you since…………………….well, you know.
I’m surprised at how many Dodger fans seem OK with playing 2 or 3 rookies next year. I just don’t see Andrew going that route, but if he did, I’d be OK with it.
Maybe we should see what the Pads want for Tatis. They may just be ready to cut ties with him and I know he’s your favorite player. 😂
Tatis, a Dodger, hilarias. I’m in. Let’s start the trade conversation with Bauer.
Hope you’re right. I think Turner is the best fit here.
I hope Swanson stays in Atlanta.
Correa would be a good fit in SF though Crawford has one year left on his contract. Correa says his wife loves it in Minnesota. Yeah, sure. How would she like Seattle?
Is Bogaerts worth losing a pick? Of course he is.
Amaya. I doubt it, but what do I know.
Busch. Will he ever play here?
Outman. Along with Busch in trade could maybe bring a first rate MLB player.
Stone, Miller, Pepiot. All are ready. Who stays and who goes? Ok, Miller might could use some more time at AAA. Pepiot: with Busch and Outman in a trade?
Carlos Duran grades: fastball 60, slider 70, control 50, overall 45. Makes no sense.
I’ll stop here. Fruit and yogurt bowl just arrived.
I would accept Lux at SS. That could mean Betts moves to 2B.
The Dodgers can go one more year with Muncy and Justin at 3B.
The outfield could be Vargas, Outman, and Thompson.
A rotation of Urias, May, Kershaw, Anderson, Gonsolin, and Stone/Miller/Pepiot could work.
If Bellinger and Bauer are off the payroll the Dodgers could get under the CBT line for 2023 and then decide what to do payroll wise for 2024. They might be able to start the season under the CBT and then trade for higher payroll players at the trade deadline and still stay under the CBT.
I’m ready to move on from Bellinger and Taylor.
1. Relievers rarely grade out high. 45 is a low setup Future Value.
2. Duran is really only a 2-pitch pitcher. Both pitches are excellent, but they are only two.
3. He still has problem with his command. If one of his pitches is off with command, the offense just needs to sit on the one pitch.
4. He is still a baby. He is 21 and was in High A.
Patience with young Carlos. He has closer written all over him. He is one of my favorite prospects. Harold and I were talking about Carlos for the last 2 years.
Have you read MLBTR’s organizational report on the Dodgers? Interesting stuff. I think Turner is the player I would love to see them target, but I have a sneaky feeling he is going back east. I also think they are going to need to target some RH power because I also think JT is not going to have his option picked up. At least not for that price unless they want to reward his leadership in the clubhouse because he is not a 14-million-dollar player anymore. He is going to be 38 this month. His defense and his offense both declined. He gets dinged up easily and he surely does not have enough power to merit being a full time DH. I am also of the belief that they are going to try and get under the threshold. That way they can reset and not pay penalties both in cash and in draft choices if they sign premium free agents. If they sign someone like Judge, they lose their 2nd and 5th draft choices.
This is the earliest that I can remember that MLBTR has done their LAD organizational Off Season Outlook. I think it was MLBTR earlier in the year where I first read that Belli was a real non-tender candidate. I scoffed at the time (not anymore). I do not think there is one MLBTR writer that believes he will not be non-tendered. It is almost universally believed now throughout the baseball internet.
They also need to address the rotation, as it sits right now, I am not impressed.
I totally dislike the Astros, but that does not take away from what they did last night. I find it comical that some readers (this time MLBTradeRumors) do not consider what Houston did last night as a no-hitter because it was with 4 pitchers. Nonsense. Okay it does not equate to Don Larsen’s 1956 perfecto in the WS. Or even any of Nolan Ryan’s 7 no-hitters or Sandy Koufax’s four. But the Phillies did not get a hit, so it was a no-hitter. Get over it.
If it is so easy to throw a multi pitcher no-no, then why hasn’t it been done more. This was only the 3rd no hitter in playoff history. Doc Halladay threw a no hitter in 2010 NLDS against Cincinnati.
If it is so easy to throw multi-pitcher no hitters then why were there only two in 2022 before last night. This year there were three no hitters thrown in the regular season.
06/25 – Houston 3 pitchers against NYY
05/16 – Reid Detmers (LAA complete game no hitter) over Tampa Bay
04/29 – NYM 5 pitchers against Philadelphia
Unfortunately for me, last night featured a pitcher I was writing about at the deadline as someone who the Dodgers should consider to acquire during the winter, Cristian Javier. He was really considered at best their #5 starter and sometimes #6 for Jake Odorizzi. But this was his 2nd no hitter for 2022. He went 7 hitless innings against NYY on 06/25. He is not invisible any longer. But is he another Framber Valdez or another Dinelson Lamet?
Clearly the Phillies were no-hit. I would agree that the Astros threw a team no-hitter. My semantics say there is a difference between a no-hitter and a team no-hitter.
Hate to give the Stros credit for anything, but what their pitchers accomplished last night was truly amazing. Only the second no-no in series history. We know who threw the other.
So I am not the only one who thinks that Amed Rosario could be traded. Per MLBTradeRumors…
I am not excited with Amed Rosario. “The Guardians have certainly shown they’re willing to put their trust into younger players”– that bodes well for the Dodgers trading younger players for Shane Bieber.
Why is it a no for Rosario. The Guardians clearly recognize the value of pitching and Bieber has two years remaining. He could be available, but it will take a significant overpay. That should not negate the possibility of Rosario. Is Rosario a better option at SS for $9MM than Jake Amaya at ML minimum? For me he is a better option than Gavin Lux at SS. Lux is a 2B.
Nico Hoerner? He is as likely to become a Dodger as have been your other choices…Byron Buxton, Mitch Haniger, Chris Archer. I can’t remember them all. Although Mitch Haniger can be a possibility in the twilight of his career coming to LA. If not Nico Hoerner, are you going with Jake Amaya?
1st Choice: Trea Turner – he just plain fits
2nd Choice: Lux or Amaya – Let the kids play – I believe they can do it
3rd Choice: Correa – Let bygones be bygones (no, not really)
4th Choice: Rosario – Sounds intriguing
5th Choice: AF/BG Surprise – let them pull a Freddie Freeman or Mookie Betts out of their hats
It just makes too much sense for Trea to return, for him and the Dodgers.
Other, lower rung, shortstops to add to the list of possibilities, not that I am necessarily endorsing any of them:
Isiah Kiner-Falefa (NYY)
Gio Urshela (Mn)
Paul DeJong (StL)
David Fletcher (LAA)
Joey Wendle (Mia)
Miguel Rojas (Mia)
Kyle Farmer (Cin)
Actually, if Trea doesn’t return, I would jump on the Bums bandwagon and say we need to try to get Nico Hoerner from the Cubs. They aren’t going to compete for a few years, so might be tempted with 3 or 4 of our good to very good prospects to fill in a number of holes.
Busch, Pepiot, Ferguson, Leonard/Vivas for Hoener.
I thought of David Fletcher, and even had him in my notes, but just forgot to add him. He is a good candidate if Moreno will trade with LAD. With the others? No on DeJong. He has just gone Dan Uggla on the Cardinals. Gio Urshela is more of a 3B than SS. He will be in the 3B discussion, but as you say, not one of my favorite choices. Wendle, Rojas, and Farmer? Meh. I would rather give Amaya a shot.
I went the Bluto route on Nico Hoerner. Not going to happen. But then again, why not? I think it is more likely the Dodgers can get Ian Happ out of Chicago, but if they are willing to accept that deal for Hoerner, make it so. I just do not believe the Cubs will trade Hoerner.
I thought Rosario was a stretch, but more likely than Hoerner.
I’ve always been a Fletcher fan but I have a feeling the Angels would put a pretty high value on him, higher than Andrew would pay in any case.
Agreed that the Cubs are highly unlikely to trade Hoerner, even more so now that he’s become a fan favorite. I’d be just fine with Happ. Make it Happen.
He will be in my LF discussion.
Hoerner had by far his best year last year. If he progresses as much next year as he did in 2022 he will be a force. He isn’t one yet.
Gelof, Hoerner, Lux would challenge the longevity of Cey, Russel, and Lopes.
…”Busch, Pepiot, Ferguson, Leonard/Vivas for Hoener.”
Next: Vargas for Gelof.
According to the Simulator, those 4 for Hoerner is too much. Busch and Pepiot is enough and by point value even that’s a little high, but acceptable.
Sorry, can’t go along with Vargas for Gelof but feel free to present your case to Andrew. Maybe you can convince him.