I am not altogether sure how MLB calculated Trevor Bauer’s 2022 AAV, but they have completed their review of the payroll and have reported that the Dodgers’ 2022 AAV payroll was $293.3MM, or $63.3MM in excess of the CBT threshold. Because they were a second time violator of the cap (sorry, threshold), they incurred a larger tax than did NYM. The Dodgers tax was $32.4MM. Total payroll and tax combined for 2022 was $325.7MM.
In addition to the tax, because they exceeded the threshold by more than $40MM, their first round pick has been dropped ten spots from 26 to 36. Ahh, Trevor Bauer, the gift that keeps on giving.
We continue to read that LAD is looking to get under the CBT threshold for 2023. Depending on who generates the AAV calculation for the Dodgers, LAD is anywhere from $2.7MM (Cot’s) to $4.9MM (Roster Resource and Spotrac) in excess of the threshold. That is before the Tony Gonsolin contract is agreed to and any incentive bonuses that will be earned.
In order to slip under the threshold, the team has VERY FEW options. After removing all of the silly options, we are left with perhaps three:
- Chris Taylor – $45MM remaining commitment (3 years). $41MM salary and $4MM club option buyout (2026). $12MM option
- Max Muncy – $13.5MM remaining commitment (1 year). $10MM to $14MM club option for 2024, with no buyout.
- Blake Treinen – $8MM remaining commitment (1 year). $8MM club option in 2024 with no buyout.
IMO, this is likelihood of the order of the options , IF (BIG IF), the Dodgers want to stay under the threshold for 2023. I am not convinced one way or the other. The Dodgers have nine potential free agents after 2023 that have in excess of $109MM in 2023 salaries. Of course there are some high level free agents including, Julio Urías and Clayton Kershaw. Almost every other one is replaceable. Some may even be re-signed. And Kershaw may retire.
The question comes down to, is the farm system as good as they are hyped? Or will they have to go get more high priced free agents. Is Shohei Ohtani on their radar?
But next year is next year. For 2023 the pitchers and catchers are due to report to Camelback four weeks from yesterday, with the full squad due four weeks from Monday.
While the team proudly boasts versatility in their lineups, I am simple minded so I will pick one player at each position, knowing that any player can start any game and can play multiple positions.
C – Will Smith (R)
1B – Freddie Freeman (L)
2B – Gavin Lux (L)
3B – Max Muncy (L)
SS – Miguel Rojas (R)
LF – Miguel Vargas (R)
CF – Trayce Thompson (R)
RF – Mookie Betts (R)
DH – JD Martinez (R)
Bench – Austin Barnes (R), James Outman (L), Chris Taylor (R), Michael Busch (L)
Jason Heyward can push either Outman or Busch back to OKC. But he is not yet on the 40 man, so I need to exclude him here. But yes, I do think he makes the 26-man roster out of ST.
I know Badger and others have mentioned it, but I too prefer set positions. I was more than fine when the Dodgers trotted out Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey every game. Unless they were injured, Reggie Smith was in RF, Rick Monday in CF, and Dusty Baker in LF. There was no discussion of moving them around the field.
I recognize that the strategy in roster construction has changed and versatility is now the keystone of said construction, at least for the Dodgers. I recognize it, but I do not have to like it (and I do not). It seems to work in the regular season, but something doesn’t quite work in the post season.
The pitching will be fluid throughout the year in both the starting pitchers and the bullpen. As it stands now, here is the starting rotation for OKC:
- Ryan Pepiot
- Gavin Stone
- Bobby Miller
- Michael Grove
- Andre Jackson
- Landon Knack
- Nick Frasso
- Nick Nastrini
- River Ryan
- Emmet Sheehan
- John Rooney
- Lael Lockhart
- Kyle Hurt
- Kendall Williams
That is a lot of pitching at AA or above. And that does not count the bullpen.
No SS, CF, 3B in the pipeline, unless you count Bradley Zimmer and Steven Duggar. But are they really better than James Outman and Trayce Thompson? But IMO there is more than enough pitching to get something done for the other positions if they want to. That is question, isn’t it? Do they want to make any changes?
Until then, let’s start the countdown.
T minus 27 days until pitchers and catchers report to ST (February 16).
T minus 31 days until remaining squad reports to ST (February 20).
T minus 36 days until first spring training game against Milwaukee (February 25).
T minus 69 days until first game of the 2023 season (March 30).
Will River Ryan be starting?
Who knows. He was in 15 games last year and started 13. Because of the number of pitchers, he will probably start at Great Lakes and then see how he does. But let’s be realistic. Not all of the named starting pitchers are going to start, and almost all of them will not start at MLB. Some will. Most will not.
I have always voiced my opinions and in many cases I am hope I am wrong. In the case of Gavin Lux, I have always been a huge fan. I have also maintained that I saw him as an All Star 2B and not an All Star SS. I hope he proves me wrong. A twitter video has been released with a “new” Gavin Lux. It starts out with CT3, but it also includes Trayce Thompson and Gavin Lux.
Thompson looks so much like his brother now that he has his hair back. He was ripping the ball. Lux just looks ripped. Taylor was hitting some line drives and looks like he feels a lot better.
And Jason Heyward if I’m not mistaken.
Like your lineup, but I would switch out Trayce for Outman, whom I think has a higher ceiling. Other than that, I totally concur.
I probably would as well. I am just not sure what AF/BG will do. AF did not give him a ringing endorsement this winter. I may be all wrong (I usually am), but I think the player personnel guys are going to give Trayce a good run.
“Don’t know what AF/BG will do.”
Yep. We know he’s up to something.
Remember Archie Campbell and Roy Clark’s Good News Bad News skit on Hee Haw? Initially I thought Rojas was signed to take CT3’s spot and save $10 million, getting us under the cap and that’s good news. No that’s bad. Rojas is only here for one year, what happens after that? Well, be here now is a sound policy and that’s good news. No that’s bad. Why’s that? The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected. (Bobby Frost said that).
I heard Lux was working hard at short. He’s got the tools. If he hadn’t been asked to play 5 different positions in 4 seasons – who knows? Rojas is here, he’s better at short, so it would appear Opening Day will have him at 6.
Vargas in left? Well that’s good news. No it’s bad. Why’s that? Because he’s a 23 year old rookie third baseman being asked to learn a new position. Here we go again.
Muncy at third huh. That’s good news. No, it’s bad. Why’s that? Because he’s got minimal range and a career .937 fielding percentage down there. Hopefully the errors and lack of range won’t hurt us.
I still smell a trade. Maybe more than one.
I do not believe they make a deal until the deadline. Just seems spring training trades are a real rarity. Even the Pollock to Chicago deal for Kimbrel was a total surprise.
True. But Spring Training is still weeks away. It’s winter man. Step outside in your skivvies if you need a reminder. Wait til tonight. You’re getting snow at 7.
Not here we aren’t. Up north and to the south of us. We do not get much snowfall here in Canon. I still do not think they make a deal before spring training.
Couldn’t they lower their aav payroll by picking up the options for Muncy and Taylor?
Nope, they have to move salary to lower the AAV.
I would have guessed that if his contract was ripped up in exchange for a 3 year $30MM contract, his AAV would go from $13.5MM to $10MM.
That still does not get them under the threshold (per Spotrac and Roster Resource), and further commits them to another $16.5MM. We still do not know what Gonsolin is going to sign for. We do not know what incentives will be reached. We do not know what players the team will need at the deadline. Admittedly I do not have all of the information, and I am not nearly as smart as AF, but it sure looks to me as if the Dodgers are stuck at a crossroads and do not know which road to take.
Muncy’s option has a potential of $4MM in bonus incentives based on the number of PA’s this year, that could take his option to $14MM. I do not think the club has the ability to exercise the option without the bonus incentives.
Per Spotrac, below is the CT3 option escalators:
Most options have escalators and are not straight dollar options. MLBPA would not allow for a team to just exercise an option without the escalators.
Muncy is a one year $13.5MM deal with a club option but with no buyout. His contract would be easier to move, but I believe the Dodgers want to hold onto him as they see an .800 OPS 30+ HR season. That is worth $13.5MM.
CT3’s contract is for a guaranteed $60MM over 4 years. This already includes the 2026 option buyout.
Trienen and a couple of Tulsa pitchers for some Low-A raw talent to develop seems really likely.
Do you think Taylor will be moved? He had an off year, but he’s been working hard this off season. He probably won’t repeat his age 26-27 4 WAR years, but he was an All Star in ‘21 and I think he has a few 2.6 WAR years left in him, making him worth his contract. That move puts us below the tax bar.
Probably have to include a couple of good prospects to get a team to take Taylor and his contract.
Muncy is more likely to garner interest from some other team.
I have no clue about reality Badger, but if I had any say I’d move Treinen over both.
As you allude to Taylor’s value is very low, and it’s unlike Friedman to trade an asset when value is low.
Muncy offers too much upside and his injury (to me) is too relevant in last year’s performance.
Treinen? Isn’t his value even lower than Taylor’s? He’s 35 coming off labrum surgery.
The payroll issue may not be addressed until the deadline. But that could be risky. What if we are right in the middle of dog fight and the guy we have to move is actually helping to keep us in it?
I agree with you. If Muncy and or CT3 perform like many think, the Dodgers are not going to trade them at the deadline. If they do not perform, nobody is going to want them. They have boxed themselves in a corner with some silly contracts. If they want to get back below the CBT threshold, they will probably need to do it before the season.
That is why I question whether the Dodgers really are looking to get under the threshold this year. They can easily do it next year. If nothing changes this year, the Dodgers’ tax would be less than $2.5MM. If they can throw that kind of money around for Danny Duffy, Cole Hamels, Jimmy Nelson, Blake Treinen, they can afford the tax.
That makes sense. Seems to me this would be a far more competitive, and thereby interesting, year if payroll wasn’t an issue. How does the team prepare for October if they don’t need to get under the cap? I think maybe a couple of those 6 Top 100 guys could be on the move. And soon.
Great point! Shows how shallow my thinking is!
Treinen’s value is near zero, hence the adding prospects to make him palatable. But Treinen’s being moved won’t affect the Dodgers one bit, because he’s injured and his contribution won’t grow. This is different than Taylor and Muncy whose values are low, but one can presume/hope/pray/beg they rise.
I figure the Dodgers have prospects to throw in with him at least in Tulsa according to the OP.
Boston needs a shortstop.
There is probably no chance that Treinen pitches any meaningful innings this season after November shoulder surgery. I am not saying you are wrong, but what two AA pitchers do you believe are worth $8MM to the trading team. Because that is what they would be doing…buying two AA pitchers for $8MM. It could happen, but I just cannot see it.
I can easily see it.
The average team payroll is what? 140mm? 8mm of that is what? 5%?
8mm per year, even to the low-middle income teams is bupkus. You take on Treinen for a year, it barely affects your finances and you improve your system.
Would you be willing to give up Nick Frasso and Nick Nastrini just to get under the CBT threshold?
Not in a million years.
How about Grove and Knack? I’d probably do that. Wouldn’t the trading team also have an option on Treinen for next year?
I just don’t see paying someone to take Treinen as a deal that AF would be likely to do.
We’re the Los Angeles Dodgers. We got Up Yours money. I say screw the cap! But not on wine choices. Get those with corks.
For me it is all about losing draft picks or drafting later because of the penalty. My question would be about the players that could have been drafted if it were not for penalty. Would they be better or not than Frasspo or Nastrini?
If either Frasso or Nastrini fulfill their potential, we’re all going to be very happy in a couple of years.
Let’s not fixate on those two names?
Makes the hypothetical too constrained.
Maybe not. Specific names are going to be tough for me.
Based on your list above? Maybe one of them and some lesser?
Again, on your list. I’d definitely trade Lael Lockhart and/or Kyle Hurt.
Going off the just downloaded Baseball America podcast, maybe a Heubeck or Knack? That type of prospect, TO ME, is worth 8mm. Maybe I’m overvaluing!
This is the job for the Trade Simulator. Those guys are much smarter.
Be right back…
Ferguson and Knack and Treinen for Gonzalez their Minor League SS.
It’s the good thing about prospect depth, there’s a depth of them
The Twins and Marlins have just completed a Luis Arraez for RHSP Pablo Lopez, infielder Jose Salas, and OF prospect Byron Chourio trade. This actually does give a little potential credibility to Bums potential trade of Muncy. The Twins can use a LHH 1B now. The Dodgers could use Royce Lewis. Of course the Dodgers would have to offer more.
The Twins is looking better. That’s a good move for them.
Most teams have a few untouchables. I am sure KC’s Bobby Witt is untouchable. That’s never stopped me from amusing myself with untouchable trade scenarios. That said, I still expect Bear to tell me KC would never trade Witt.
KC is expected to again finish last in their Division. Therefore they need several good players more than they need one great player and Witt has yet to prove he is a great player. Granted he is only 22 and still had a line of .254.294.722 over 591 ABs in 2022 so it is fairly safe to say he is on the path to great.
KC has a shortstop prospect that is expected to arrive in KC this year in Maikel
Garcia. His scouting grades are Hit 55, Power 35, Run 55, Arm 55, Field 60, Overall 50. Clearly a drop from Witt but respectable.
Cartaya, Vargas, and Busch for Witt.
The Simulator says: Minor overpay. Although one side of this trade (the Dodgers) is giving up a little too much, there is still a high probability it would be accepted if each team’s needs are met.
Busch 2B 23.9
Cartaya C 54.5
Vargas 1B 29.7
Witt Jr. 3B 88
KC needs pitching as much or more than position players so other players could be involved from both sides.
Boston needs a shortstop, still. Maybe they might be interested in the new rebuilt version of Taylor.
Bear asked me to tell you that the Royals would never trade Witt.
Why don’t we just trade for Garcia and save a bunch of our better prospects? We might need them in July.
By the way, I’d like to say I’d be happy to get Machado back when he opts out this winter. I’ll bet not too many people here will agree with me on that one. I still want Vargas to be our left fielder so I need a third baseman and Machado is as good as they come. He seems to be the team leader in SD so I’m thinking he’s matured since he was here.
Bear told me to tell you that machado is persona non grata. However, I would also welcome him back if word was that he has matured and no longer desires to do harmful shenanigans. I felt like he hustled when it was needed and not so much when the outcome was going to be the same whether he hustled or not. It looked bad more than it was bad.
I don’t like him. I think he’s a sourpuss.
But, people change. I know I sure did.
Just read Woodward is back. I like him.
I didn’t know that. I don’t like sourpusses. I guess getting Witt would be bittersweet.
You’re a sourpuss Badger and we (most of us) like you.
Fair point. But I don’t deliberately spike anyone.
Baseball Prospectus just released their top 101 prospects, and the Dodgers dominated.
#19 Diego Cartaya (Last year #55)
#27 Bobby Miller (Last year #63)
#39 Miguel Vargas (Last year #36)
#50 Gavin Stone (Last year NR)
#54 Nick Nastrini (Last year NR)
#56 Dalton Rushing (Last year NR)
#59 Michael Busch (Last year NR)
#79 Nick Frasso (Last year NR)
#90 Andy Pages (Last year #68)
I will try to add some more commentary after I do more of a deep dive into the prospects list. But 9 in the top 101 is impressive. Admittedly Nastrini, Rushing, and Frasso made the list a year earlier than I anticipated.
That’s actually absurdly impressive. I know we’ve been ranked quite high for several years now, but the most I recall in the Top 100 is 7?
To have 9 in the top 90 is rather mind blowing, especially considering none of these guys were drafted in the top 20-25.
I still smell a trade.
I prefer Baseball America. Kyle Glazer, JJ Cooper, and Carlos Callazo are exceptional talent evaluators. They actually watch and scout many of the top prospects. They do a lot of film work. Baseball Prospectus is also an excellent tool, but they focus a lot on fantasy baseball which gives more credence to metrics. I accept metrics (and use them), but I grew up with and sat in the stands with scouts who taught me what to look for.
I think Chris Woodward is a fantastic addition to the staff. I was sorry when he left, but was happy for him. My son spent the 2005 ST with Chris with NYM.
Let me preface this by saying I’m basically neutral when it comes to my opinion of Doc.
Now, having said that, how many years does he have left on his contract?
And then, let me say, I find it very interesting that Chris Woodward is back with us again.
1 + 1 = ?
BA is the gold standard.
Before I fade into tomorrow I have a question to which I think I know the answer – does cash given to a. team in a trade transaction count toward the salary cap?
Guessing that if the Dodgers were to give cash with Taylor in a trade, that cash would be the same as keeping that cash amount on the Dodger payroll and reduce Taylor’s AAV by the same amount to the team that traded for Taylor.
Another guess: Woodward will be tasked to improve the infield defense this spring training and then throughout the minors during the season.
I think that is exactly what Woodward will be working on in the field. Dino does that as well, but Woodward is an excellent infield coach.
That’s what I figured. Everything I read said yes but a lot of it was before the new CBA.