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Forecasting 2023 LAD Payroll

Okay, we are into the League Championship Series, and the Dodgers are not in them.  It is time to move on.  I have ranted enough on things that were not done, and strategies that did not work.  It is time for us to look forward to 2023.

What do we know about the roster for sure?  The below contract amounts are AAV.



The below arbitration projected salaries were forecast by Matt Swartz of MLBTradeRumors.



For a long time, I did not think there was a chance that Cody Bellinger would be non-tendered.  But at $18.10MM projected salary, it really seems unlikely that the Dodgers would agree to that.  He is one year away from free agency.  His agent is Scott Boras.  He was upset that he was not in the lineup against RHSP Joe Musgrove.  And he has not been productive since 2019.

  • 2020 fWAR – 1.6 – Value =  $13.2MM
  • 2021 fWAR – (1.0) – Value =  ($7.9) MM
  • 2022 fWAR – 1.7 – Value =  $13.4MM

That is three years of 2.3 fWAR – Value = $18.7MM, or an average of $6.23MM per year.

Would he accept a 3 year $36MM deal?  Less than doubtful.  IMO it is time to move on from waiting on Belli to produce again.

Belli is an excellent defensive CF and has excellent speed.  But his bat just cannot carry him.  The Dodgers can use that $18.1MM elsewhere, and find another CF.  Outside of Aaron Judge and Brandon Nimmo, there are not any worthwhile FA CF.  So the potential Belli replacement will either be internal or via trade.  Sorry Bums, it is not going to be Byron Buxton.

The Dodgers have four remaining players with 2023 club options:  Justin Turner, Danny Duffy, Hanser Alberto, and Jimmie Nelson.  The chart below does not include Danny Duffy as his club option is for $7MM with $0 buyout.  One can never say never, but it is truly unlikely that the club option will be exercised at $7.0MM.  AF/BG may want to consider Duffy for 2023, but not at $7.0MM.  He could be a consideration for the David Price multi inning role.  I considered him a free agent.



Jimmie Nelson is another possibility for the David Price role.  After missing the last two months of 2021 and all of 2022 recovering from TJ surgery and flexor tendon repair, maybe 2023 will be the year. As productive as he was through July 2021, I can see AF/BG gambling on Nelson.

As much as I enjoyed Hanser Alberto in the dugout, I think it is time for the farm system to produce.  Jake Amaya?  Michael Busch?

Is it time for the Dodgers to bid adieu to JT?  He turns 38 next month.  He started out slowly in 2022, caught fire from June to the end of the regular season, and was extinguished in the playoffs.  From June thru Game 162, JT hit .309/.384/.468/.853 with 9 HRs, 35 BB, and 55 K (15.9%).  Can LAD expect a repeat of June – October 5, or a repeat of the beginning of the season and the playoffs. That will be what AF/BG will have to determine before exercising or buying out their option.  JT loves the Dodgers, maybe they can work out a 2 year deal for less AAV, similar to what Chase Utley signed.

I have no idea what to predict here.  JT is invaluable for this team as a leader, both in the clubhouse and in the community.  Is he worth an additional $14.0MM?

The Dodgers have 10 free agents (including Danny Duffy).




Of the above, Trea Turner is guaranteed to receive a QO.  There are two other potentials.  Clayton Kershaw did not get the QO last year due to an agreement between Clayton and LAD.  Will they stay the course?  Or will they place a QO on Kershaw this year?  Kershaw says that he is leaning to playing next year, but he may change his mind once he gets home.  I am sure that this subject was broached in any season end interview.  He is almost certainly going to decide between LAD and Texas.  Texas is not going to care if there is a QO attached.  If Kershaw wants to go to Texas, they will sign him.  The Dodgers need Kershaw.  Will they re-sign him?

One person not included in the above is Chris Martin.  Some sites say he is still arbitration eligible…Cots, Baseball Reference, and Spotrac individual page.  Some sites say he is a free agent…Spotrac 2023 Dodgers Free Agent list, and MLBTradeRumors free agent list.  He has 4.133 ML service, so he really is not eligible to be a free agent.  I am going with 3rd year arbitration.  What he will get was not speculated by MLBTradeRumors as they believe he is a free agent.  He made $2.5MM in 2022, so I am going with $4.0MM.


In Summary:


The remaining 26 man roster can be altered by substituting any of the below players.

  • Ryan Pepiot
  • Michael Grove
  • Andre Jackson
  • James Outman
  • Jake Amaya
  • Eddys Leonard
  • Jorbit Vivas

I have ignored Beau Burrows for this exercise as I do not believe he will be retained.

The elephant in the room is Trevor Bauer.  His AAV is $34MM.  That will take the contract amount up to $203.18MM, and will move one from the remaining 26 man.  The arbitration hearing results should be reported shortly after the WS.  Bauer can opt out of his $32MM remaining with a $15MM buyout.  Doubtful, but maybe he will want a clean break and try to get as close to $17MM from another team.  Perhaps wishful thinking?

The CBT threshold is $232MM.  Without Trevor Bauer consideration, the available amount for options and free agents will be $62.82MM.  With Bauer it will be $28.82MM.



Next we will start to look at the positions, and who may be on the move, and who are potential replacements.



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Friedman defending Roberts in the Times this morning. Figured he he would. He said something to the effect that a different voice wouldn’t help with runners in scoring position. Have to agree with that. In conversation with a friend, and long time baseball coach, he wondered if finding a few hungrier players might be what this team needs. Obviously there are a number we can’t unload, but there are a couple, JT and Bellinger come to mind, that could be replaced by younger Major League players who haven’t yet had opportunity to fail in post season. Vargas and Outman are who we have. Busch and Pages might be trade bait for a proven bat. I hear Reynolds name being mentioned.

The starting rotation, which I never had complete confidence in, needs to be bolstered. Kershaw, if he decides to stay, should only be counted on for about 130 innings. Same with Gonsolin. Urias, the only reliable starter still standing, should go 175. May should be ready to go, but Buehler won’t. He may never be the same. Would like to see TA back, but he will have options after the year he had. Heaney? Doubt it. Pepiot, Miller, Stone. Hope so.

A lot of disappointment out there. It’s going to be a long off season.


Reynolds 2022 .262.345.461.806
27 HR, 62 RBI
27 years old, 2023 salary $6,750,000
Free agent 2026

The Pirates will have suitors. Dodgers may be one of them.


Good morning Bum. You’re up early.

Not sure why Pittsburgh would want to move him, but if they can get two Major League ready players and a third lower prospect they might listen. Who do you overwhelm them with?


Not Miller. The rest of those guys, sure.

Singing the Blue

If it’s a matter of Almora or Kiermaier, I’d rather give the job to Outman.

Fred Vogel


Singing the Blue

I’d do that deal and would be happy to include Miller.
I don’t think the Pirates would, though.
I definitely think they could get more for those two players, and would be better off trading them in separate deals.

JMO, but I think relief pitchers who aren’t proven closers or guys who have some proven experience in high leverage situations (read Treinen/Phillips), don’t have the kind of trade value that the Trade Simulator has assigned to them.

Jackson hasn’t proven much of anything and Knack certainly hasn’t. So, in my estimation, the only pieces of real value in that deal are Miller and Pages and that isn’t enough to get the deal done.


Guess I’m higher on Miller than you are Jefe. I don’t trade top starting pitching prospects. We are going to need them very soon. Pages, Busch and maybe Pepiot, but not Miller.

Singing the Blue

I’m concerned about Miller’s command issues. If he conquers that he’s an All Star because his stuff is spectacular. I’m just not sure he’s ever going to be a long-term major league starter. He may be a great closer some day, but that lessens his future value.

Stone is the guy I want to keep.


Why complicate the trade by adding Bednar?


Good question. It would be good to have both, but which one would add more wins?

Last edited 1 year ago by Badger

Mondays and Wednesdays are my golf days. Too much smoke to enjoy it today.

Outman, Busch, Pages, and some pitching prospects would be in the pool of players I would let the Pirates choose from. How many of them is above my pay grade.


Great stuff Jeff. Thank you so much for the detail. Glad you are done with this year and moving on. I have been a Dodger fan for over 65 years and have learned to just enjoy the ride and look forward to what is coming. My thoughts: no more Belli, no more JT, do what you can to find a taker for Taylor (very hard to do), no Thompson/Gallo/Alberto/Bauer. Trade for an outfielder, sign Anderson/Heaney (as a reliever), sign CK if possible and please don’t pay a fortune for Judge (injury risk too high for the money). Thanks Jeff.

Michael Norris

Great stuff Jefe. AF said yesterday that they would give Kershaw the same consideration they did last season and give him time to decide what he wants to do. Hopefully the Bauer circus is over soon and we can forget he ever existed. But they need some players with different hitting approaches because what they have is not consistent. I thought one of the more interesting things AF said was that if there was a player out there who was a consistent RBI guy, they would have traded for him. Huh? What in the blue blazes is Soto? Or even at that point in time, Drury? Makes little sense to me.

Michael Norris

I understand that. But he said he would have paid the price, but didn’t. Seems to me he BS’d everyone.

Singing the Blue

From what I recall, we were a close second in the Soto sweepstakes so it’s not like he didn’t even try to get him.

Drury tailed off quite a bit after coming to SD and Trayce (who didn’t cost any prospects) actually our performed him by quite a bit.

Fred Vogel

I, for one, am glad AF didn’t drain the pool for Soto. The more I see of him the less I am impressed. Cocky attitude at the plate, mediocre defense and speed. The Nats look to have made a great trade. Time will tell.


We couldn’t, or more accurately wouldn’t match that haul. Soto has the talent to carry a team in these short series. If he does it again, he’s going to break the bank. If he doesn’t? He’s projected to make $21.5 in arbitration. Hopefully he hits .236 for them again.


Nimmo maybe. No on the rest of those guys

Singing the Blue

I’m a big Nimmo fan, but he’s 30 and going to be pretty expensive. That wouldn’t even be so much of a problem except for his injury history, although he stayed healthy this year.

If Andrew decided to go after him, I’d be very pleased.

Fred Vogel

Agree. He was impressive.

Singing the Blue

Count me in.
He made 2.5 mil this year but 7 mil each of the two prior years with the Braves.
Might take something like 2 years/10-12 mil but could be worth it.


Martin is worth pursuing. I wonder what he’s thinking. I wonder what all free agents are thinking. Probably just money. Do the Dodgers look like serious contenders for next year? Doesn’t matter if they’re only thinking about the money.

Singing the Blue

Yes, the Dodgers look like serious contenders. Although Dodger fans are going crazy about the loss to SD, I doubt it affects a single free agent decision. Money, yes, playoff collapse, no.

Singing the Blue

I don’t see any way that Arenado leave the Cards so I think we can forget about that.

With regard to Kim-Tatis, I think at this point they’d be more likely to trade Tatis. 🙂

They love Kim in SD. So much so that the word is when Tatis returns it’s as a center fielder.

Last edited 1 year ago by Singing the Blue

Trade Tatis? Assuming you’re joking. Kim had a great year and will stay there, arb eligible for a while, and be the Padres often used utility guy. Tatis is a super star and signed to a very friendly contract through about ‘28 I believe. I think he’s been humbled by what happened.

Singing the Blue

Yes, I was kidding about their trading Tatis, but no I wasn’t kidding about the decent chance that they make him their center fielder. I’ve heard that in a few different places.

Either way, they’ll be stronger next year and I still consider them a bigger rival than the Giants.


Yeah, that could happen. Tatis could probably play anywhere, shortstop is where he would put up more WAR, but that may not matter to him. He’s already got his career contract.

I got a feeling the giants won’t be a .500 team again next year. They’ve got money. They’ll be active.

Last edited 1 year ago by Badger
Singing the Blue

I would expect that Farhan will be in on Judge, in on one of the 4 free agent shortstops, in on 1 or 2 pitchers.

They don’t have to necessarily win 100 games next year to make their fans happy, but they need to commit to spending some major money.

2023 should be very competitive in our division:
Padres will be better
Giants will be better
D’backs should be better
Rockies – it’s not easy to be a Rox fan these days

I think Andrew realizes the above and although he may be making sounds like he doesn’t need to do much, I’m expecting a few changes that should make us stronger.

Last edited 1 year ago by Singing the Blue

It’s my opinion Judge wouldn’t change anything for the Dodgers. I can see him in SF where he might make a difference.

How can the Dodgers get stronger? This was the best team in baseball. The guys who make the most money had decent years, but flatlined in the most important series of the year. How does Friedman tweak the roster to prevent that from happening? Personally I don’t think he can. He can replace both Turner’s and hope it works in October. Maybe a few players here and there that haven’t been to the playoffs every year for the last decade or so will excite those who have.


Could Kyle Lewis be had from Seattle? Would the Dodgers be interested? He has been hurt and seems to have fallen out of favor with The M’s. Could be more to the story.

Michael Norris

If he has been hurt, he is Freidman’s kind of player.

Singing the Blue

I would imagine he would be available but he’s 27 now and has really never fulfilled the potential everyone thought he had. Even his minor league numbers are nothing overly special.

If Andrew and friends thought they could do something with him I doubt it would take all that much to get him.

Singing the Blue

I’m going with Outman because he wouldn’t cost any prospects, but of the three M’s players you mentioned, I’m definitely going with Kelenic. I expect him to have a decent MLB career, but I have idea where.


I say give Outman the opportunity. He’s earned it.

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