Carlos Correa, Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander, and of course Aaron Judge have all been linked to LAD at some point. IMO this is primarily because baseball journalists are always quick to point out that the Dodgers have an unlimited supply of cash for payroll. They often mention that the Dodgers have cleared about $100MM from the 2021 payroll, and that is true. But does anyone believe the Dodgers are going to generate another $290MM payroll for 2023? I am not in that camp.
I see no way, no how, the Dodgers sign Aaron Judge. But I will not say they 100% will not. Come on Aaron, just re-sign with NYY and let’s get on with the Hot Stove League in earnest.
So it will not be $100MM that the Dodgers will spend in free agency. I have been out front that I believe the Dodgers will in fact reset the CBT threshold, and have said so since before the season ended. I think they want no obstacles next year for Shohei Ohtani.
The CBT threshold is $233MM for 2023. I calculate the expected payroll to be just about $185MM, or $48MM under the threshold. That includes Clayton Kershaw at $20MM, but does not include Trevor Bauer.
The Dodgers can eat that up with Justin Verlander, which is why I do not believe they will. They were not willing to go 3 years with TA. I cannot see them going 3 years for a 40 year old pitcher, no matter how good he was last year.
Plus, they have an Ace in Julio Urías and three potentially solid if not spectacular #2 – #4 with Clayton Kershaw, Dustin May, and Tony Gonsolin. Do the Dodgers dare go with a rookie in the #5? I can see that, but what concerns me is that I do not see the Dodgers getting away with #2 – #4 pitching through the season without injury, and if any of them are injured come playoff time, they will be caught short handed for the third season in a row during the playoffs. I see the kids as the depth this year, and ready for prime time in 2024.
But if JV is willing to do 2 years, I think the Dodgers would go over the CBT threshold for him. JV has a home in LA. Last year the Dodgers lost their #5, and then signed Freddie Freeman who is a long time #5. This year the Dodgers lost #35. Could that be a clue that JV (also #35) is coming to LA? Just sayin’.
Will they sign a pitcher to a 3 or 4 year deal or go with a short term reclamation project as they did with TA and Andrew Heaney? I am going with short term reclamation project.
One wild card – Kodai Senga. I would say that the Dodgers are not going to go with a five year contract, but Kenta Maeda got an incentive laden 8 year deal. So who knows?
The other prominent high priced FA target mentioned for LAD is SS. I am convinced they cannot sign Carlos Correa or Xander Bogaerts. Until AF signs a Scott Boras client to a deal, I am going to continually believe they will not.
That leaves Trea Turner and Dansby Swanson. Turner is tailor made for Philadelphia. He is the perfect Dave Dombrowski free agent target. I cannot see Dombrowski passing on signing Trea Turner.
Swanson’s contract will not be that onerous for Atlanta. I think it is simply posturing by AA saying they can move Vaughn Grissom to SS. The Braves are setup for a lengthy window with their core signed up long term, and with getting Mike Soroka back in 2023. I cannot see AA letting a player like Dansby Swanson walk. The Braves caught a lot of flak by not signing Freddie Freeman. I cannot see them doing it a second year in a row.
The Dodgers have a lot of leeway to sign high priced free agents, but I do not think they will. And if they do not spend it on top tiered FA’s, who will they target? That brings me to the latest rumor…Mitch Haniger. Haniger has long been a target for Bums. But now that he is a FA, Haniger does not need to be traded to end up with LAD. But alas, I still do not see a fit. Haniger is a RH hitting OF. He is primarily a RF, but he can easily transition to LF. That is not the problem.
Haniger is an oft-injured RH hitter. The Dodgers already have 2 RH hitting OF (Trayce Thompson and CT3), and 3 if you include Miguel Vargas.
Haniger has spent a LOT of time on the IL:
- 04/26/17 – Strained right oblique
- 07/30/17 = Facial laceration
- 06/17/19 – Ruptured testicle
- 06/28/20 – Lumber microdiscectomy surgery
- 04/30/22 – Right high ankle sprain
IMO, the Dodgers will pass on Haniger.
Is Andy Pages an OF in waiting for LAD? Even more reason to pass on a RH hitting OF.
It makes more sense to me for AF/BG to sign a LH hitting OF. If they only want a short term LF, then Michael Brantley makes sense. But if Houston wants him back, I see him signing a one year deal with them. He is comfortable there, and he is liked. Why not play where you are liked and comfortable in the final year(s) of your professional career.
I still think that Andrew Benintendi is a consideration here. The consensus is that he will be a $14MM or $15MM AAV and either 3 or 4 years. I doubt the Dodgers will go 4 years, but then AJ Pollock was a FA signing that came out of the blue. Benny will be playing as a 28 year, so 4 years is not out of line. I just do not know how comfortable AF/BG is giving an OF a 4 year deal, when they just protected Pages and Jonny DeLuca, and still have José Ramos potentially in line.
Benny’s IL stints:
- 08/25/16 – Sprained left knee
- 08/12/20 – Rib cage strain
- 06/14/21 – Rib fracture
The Dodgers have a lot of holes, ample CBT threshold $$$ to make FA acquisitions, and ample MiLB prospect capital to make trades. What will they do?
I have used similar lines, but I am going to steal Houston Mitchell’s line here.
“I wish I could offer more clarity, but Andrew Friedman plays things close to the vest, and he has yet to use the direct hotline to tell me exactly what he plans to do.”
I totally agree, this seems like the year to go with the rookies and or make trades for what they want. This FA list does seem to be the best place for them to shop.
Good analysis, Jeff. I could see it all falling into place the way you’ve laid it out.
There would be some fans who would be upset with the lower spend/let the kids play scenarigo but the way to get around that is to let word get out that you’re saving all your ammo for an all out push to sign Ohtani next year no matter what the cost.
I liked your Masataka Yoshida suggestion yesterday. It came late and I responded, but I am not sure that many saw it.
Maybe he fits the Dodgers plan.
Have you heard any estimates as to what Yoshida might wind up signing for? Do you think something like 5/75 might get it done?
Age aside, how did Suzuki and Yoshida’s performance in NPB compare?
The only estimate that I have heard is that it should be south of Suzuki’s which was 5/$85MM.
Yoshida (28 last year) – 7 NPB Seasons – 3,189 PA – .327/.421/.539/.960, 135 HR, 421 BB vs 300 K, 21 SB vs 10 CS
Suzuki (26 last year in NPB) – 9 seasons – 3,539 PA, – .315/.414/.570/.985, 486 BB vs 569 K, 82 SB vs 52 CS
Both players have excellent plate discipline, but Yoshida has the better bat to ball skills. Suzuki has more power. Neither player is Ichiro or Ohtani. Neither player is going to win games stealing bases.
Yoshida is 13 months older.
If 5/$75MM – The fee is $13.125MM
If 5/$80MM – The fee is $13.875MM
If 5/$85MM – The fee is $14.625MM
If Yoshida wants to play MLB, he will get paid.
Dodgers should sign Senga and Yoshida and call it a day. A potential mid rotation pitcher and a LH hitting LF with considerable bat to ball skills. What’s not to like?
I think Swanson will either be a Cub or a Brave.
Ohtani would be the Dodger DH and historically the Dodgers use the DH to rest players and to keep non-regulars from rusting on the bench.
If the Dodgers were to trade Taylor and Muncy they would have more payroll flexibility to go after at least one free agent.
I think Hanigar will be an Angel if the Dodgers do not trade Taylor.
I think Pages could be a Dodger mid 2023.
The Dodgers are not getting much if other teams sign the players they offered a QO because of their CBT status. They need to reset their CBT status.
I think there is a 50 50 chance that Betts plays 2B in 2023. Depends on whether the Dodgers sign a SS free agent and that depends on whether Muncy and maybe Taylor are traded
I doubt that Muncy or Taylor are traded this winter, especially Muncy. There is no reason to trade Muncy and eat his contract. And it is just as unlikely that any team wants to pay $14MM for a sub-Mendoza DH. We know you would not trade for him, so why would any other team want to spend that kind of money on a question mark? Either Muncy plays great and the Dodgers exercise their 2024 option or he doesn’t and they let him go. The Dodgers have already committed the $$$, they might as well see if he can be that 35 HR guy again.
Second question. Where would you trade Muncy? To a contender so he could possibly beat you in the playoffs? Or to a rebuilding team that has no desire to pay $14MM for one year when they need multiple prospects.
IMHO, CT3 is not going anywhere this winter. Maybe next winter. The Dodgers love versatility, and nobody is more versatile than is CT3. He had a bad year last year, but he was also injured for most of it. Since 2017 thru 2021, his OPS+ numbers have been 123, 110, 107, 127, and 107, and he played 6 positions. For his three arbitration years, CT3 earned $16.3, and had an fWAR of 6.5 for a value of $51.6MM. Even last year, his fWAR was 1.9 with a value of $15.4. He more than earned his arbitration salary, and he was not overpaid in 2022. His production was down last year. I see it coming back up to an OPS+ of at least 110, 15-20 HRs, and a batting line commensurate of 2021 – .254/.344/.438/.782.
It’s not the average (Mendoza) it’s the OPS and the WAR. In a terrible year for him Max put up 2.7 WAR (I know you prefer fWAR and that was 2.4). Assuming he is healthy next year he should do considerably better than that. Maybe not the 4.8 he put up in ‘21 but closer to it than 2.7, making him a bargain at $14 million. He projects a .754 OPS for ‘23 and I think that’s a conservative estimate. His last 200 at bats were more like him (well over .800 OPS) than his first 200. I believe there would be plenty interest in him if made available. I don’t want him traded.
Muncy is not going to get traded. I am not in favor of trading him. I was responding to Bums who does want him traded. That being said, my point was that he was a below average MLB hitter per OPS+ (96) in 2022. That would be trading low. I disagree that he would bring anything of value in a trade. A 32 year old DH after a poor full season is not going to be in high demand. I do not care about a string of ABs. I can pick a string of ABs where Belli was outstanding. Muncy had a very good August, but regressed to a meh September. 69 RBIs from a player who hit primarily 4th and 5th in the order, for a team that scored the most runs in MLB, and the team that had Mookie, Trea, and Freddie batting in front of him. Not very impressive.
Justin Turner who would have cost $16MM had a superior year. fWAR also 2.4, OPS+ 116, 81 RBIs, and was a much more productive hitter from June 30 thru the end of the year.
JT – 246 PA, 215 AB, .349/.419/.549/.968 – 39 K (15.9%), 23 BB (9.3%)
Max – 323 PA, 267 AB, .221/.338/.449/.787 – 88 K (27.2%), 46 BB (14.2%).
Last year JT had a .787 OPS which was better than Max’s. It was the first time since 2013 that his OPS was below .800. While Max has had 2 of the last 3 years with an OPS at or below .720.
JT was a better hitter WRISP, and I mean significantly better.
JT – .339/.429/.579/1.007 – 154 PA, 121 AB, 69 RBI, 8 SF
Max – .235/.413/.461/.873 – 160 PA, 115 AB, 49 RBI, 6 SF
The Dodgers made the decision to extend Muncy, but not JT. The cost difference of $2.5MM. (JT – $16MM, Max – $13.5MM).
Well I obviously think more of Muncy than you do. I’m surprised you would look at only “a string of at bats” instead of his production over 5 years as a Dodger. Though we all prefer him as a DH, he’s more than just a DH, having put up positive dWAR numbers the last two years. He can hit and help give a few position players a rest. There are a lot of teams that could use what he offers. In the right situation he’s still a 3-4 WAR player. Won’t argue Justin had a better year but Justin has nothing to do with Muncy’s value. They both have brought value to the team the last 5 years, but I think Muncy has a bit more WAR.
I am not anti-Max Muncy in any way. I like him more than I am indifferent to him. But you are undoubtedly correct that you think more of him than I do. His fWAR the last three years combined is 7.4. His projected WAR for 2023 is as follows:
FanGraphs Depth Charts Leaderboard (FGDC) – Projected WAR 2.8 – .226/.344/.433/.777 – 26 HRs and 79 RBIs
Steamer – Projected WAR 2.5 – .226/.344/.433/.777 – 26 HRs and 79 RBIs
Baseball-Reference Projection – .219/.333/.421/.754, 23 HR and 69 RBI
I have no idea how those projection algorithms are calculated, but they do not support your WAR projection of 3-4. But they are just projections, and Muncy could go off.
I used “a string of at bats” because you picked up Muncy’s last 200 ABs vs his first 200 ABs. So you are probably correct that if I exclude July, Muncy’s number would be better. I am considering all of last year and not 5 years, because Muncy is not the same player he was 5 years ago. I am hoping that he is more of the 2021 Muncy than the 2020 and 2022 Muncy. My point to Bums when this started was that whatever Muncy does in 2023, he will do it as a Dodger.
What is $ per fWAR? I’ve heard between $8-9 million. If he’s, from the 5 hole, able to put up 2.8, he’s a bargain at $13.5m. I just hope he’s taking this off season seriously. I read somewhere the club has a $10 million with incentives option on him for ‘24. Is that true? If so, do you know how the incentives read?
I do appreciate having this conversation with you.
Are you expecting the Dodgers to basically just give away Muncy and CT3 to clear roster space, Fred? It seems to me that their trade value has never been lower.
I’m not in favor of trading them, but if I subscribed to that theory, I think it would be better to wait until the trade deadline in the hopes that they would have gotten off to better starts and increased their value.
Just out of curiosity, can you give me an example of what you think the return might be in a trade of either of those guys? You might be able to move Max without kicking in some of his salary, but no MLB team is going to take CT3 right now and be responsible for paying him $48MM over the next three years.
I feel the need to disassociate myself from this other Fred for fear of retribution and/or trade rumor slander (although my neighbor to the north does brings enjoyment with his easy-chair GM suggestions). 😀
Has anyone ever seen Vogel and Bums in the room at the same time?
We all know you’re one and the same guy. 😎
We do this because it’s fun, no?
Hey Fred, I’m surprised you aren’t a Cardinal or Blue Jay fan considering your last name.
Hence my Rudy Byrd moniker when I used to post at LADT.
So that is where you went. We were going to try to meet for lunch one of these days back when you were Rudy.
Exactly. I’m in Beaverton. Do you ever come into the Portland area?
Let’s try next week.
Papa Haydn on NW 23rd Ave could work for lunch.
Who Song and Larry’s would be more of a mid point between us. Who Song & Larry’s, 111 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver, WA 98661
Sounds good. Email me so we can work out a good day for both of us. firstname.lastname@example.org
I’d like to join you guys. I might be late as Vancouver is about a thousand miles from my house.
You can spend the night at my house
Thanks for the generous offer.
Here’s an idea that works for me. Since it would be a 2,000 mile trip, I’ll just have a big expensive lunch here and send you the invoice. In that way we will have shared a nice lunch.
And yet a team expected to win 100+ games again (Dodgers) will bat Muncy 5th and sometimes 4th. There are teams that need a first baseman and that is where Muncy has the most value. Playing 1st base instead of DH makes him more attractive.
The return for Muncy and Taylor will not be another team’s players/prospects. It will be somebody like Verlander or Correa due to payroll flexibility.
I’ll sub Amaya for Taylor and use Outman, Thompson, Vargas, Betts, and eventually Pages for the outfield.
Jeff made the case for Taylor being desirable for me. “He had a bad year last year, but he was also injured for most of it. Since 2017 thru 2021, his OPS+ numbers have been 123, 110, 107, 127, and 107, and he played 6 positions. For his three arbitration years, CT3 earned $16.3, and had an fWAR of 6.5 for a value of $51.6MM. Even last year, his fWAR was 1.9 with a value of $15.4. He more than earned his arbitration salary, and he was not overpaid in 2022. “
I just posted a response to Jeff above that says much the same thing Bum, but I’m looking at this fWAR right now and it says 2.4. I don’t trade him unless the return is 3+ WAR.
And that is why he is not getting traded. Nobody is going to give the Dodgers a 3 fWAR player for Max Muncy. Cleveland SS Amed Rosario is a 2.4 fWAR player with 1 year left on his contract, exactly like Muncy. Cleveland would hang up if Muncy was offered straight up for Rosario, even if LAD included the difference in the contract amounts (approx. $4.5MM).
I am not going to get boxed in to bad mouthing Muncy. I like Muncy, but IMO he is not as good as you seem to believe he is and he is not as bad as Bums thinks he is. He is an aging 32 year old middle of the order DH who seems to prefer to BB than drive in runs. The Dodgers will hold onto Max hoping that he will hit 35 HRs again. He is worth the risk to the Dodgers for 1 year, but at 32, he has a body that will break down as he gets older.
How are so sure about him “breaking down”? You may be right, but 32 doesn’t mean he’s done. There are a lot of great players still producing after the age of 31. Several All Stars were that age or older last year. The guy you compared him to here is going to be 38 soon. He’s only making $13 million. He should easily earn that.
Do they have bodies like Muncy? I believe you have stated that Muncy should lose more than a few lbs.
Yep. I have suggested that. I said the same thing about JT as he gained, then lost weight in his mid 30s. I remember years ago saying it about Tony Gwynn and he just kept hitting. Andrew Jones got real heavy and he…. never mind. Bad example.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Muncy could keep slugging another 3-5 years. I don’t care what his avg is, only the OPS numbers matter in his game. I don’t know how long he can be a + dWAR player, but if he gets heavier it will hurt him. I hope Max cares enough to be careful about that issue.
And I’ll take the over on those WAR projections.
The problem is that the Dodgers would be trading CT3 while his value is low. Jacob Amaya is nowhere close to the player CT3 is, and I am one of Amaya’s biggest advocates. That is an Oakland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati mentality.
You are yet to address my point. It’s not the return in players I’m after, it’s the payroll reduction that allows the Dodgers to replace Taylor and Muncy with a free agent(s).
Also, I’m thinking Amaya would get much less playing time than Taylor so he doesn’t need to hit as well.
Okay, directly, I do not believe you will get a team to pick up either player’s salary based on last year’s performance. They are both 32 and are more inclined to regress. If you are asking if I believe the Dodgers made a mistake in extending Muncy and offering CT3 a 4 year deal, I would probably concur. But that is not the case and no team is going to take the Dodgers payroll problems. I think both players are capable of putting up good numbers and probably better than any rookie. IMO, Muncy and CT3 give the Dodgers a better chance at winning this year than rookies and Trayce Thompson.
Evidently Aaron Judge is looking for at least an 8 year contract at 40 million a year.
And I hope he gets it. In Gnu Yourk.
Dodgers have four right-handed hitting outfielders if you count Vargas, you forgot Betts. I agree with your analysis here Jeff. I think they would really like to get out from under the fines that they are paying for being over the threshold. I could see them going for a lower tier free agent starter, someone like Walker or even Archer. I think they might even consider bringing Heaney back on a one-year deal. He does have electric stuff and could be a force out of the pen. If they get a veteran SS, I have to believe it will be through a trade. Adames has been mentioned several times. But this is the most excruciating part of the winter. The waiting for something to happen. Boras is looking for only a one-year deal for Bellinger. Makes sense. Have a good season and hike your price next year when you are 28,
Good take Bear. I don’t have a problem with doing what it takes to stay under the cap. This years over-cap group coughed up an October hairball and that could be done with a less expensive collection.
I don’t expect much early. But, I’m prepared for a surprise.
I pretty much read everything trying to glean some sort of idea what they might be thinking. Some of the suggestions by some outlets are downright head scratching. I think Judge stays in NY, or he will sign with the Giants and play at home. Even though Verlander has a home in So-Cal, I do not see AF giving that much money to a 40plus pitcher not named Nolan Ryan. I think we will see a lot of veteran arms signed as AAA fodder and insurance policies against injury, I think they will monitor CK’s innings this season and give him extra days off to limit injuries. They will fill their holes either by trade or putting a rookie in. It has been a while since they had a rookie break into the starting lineup.
Let me get this straight, Bear. Are you suggesting that Andrew offer Nolan Ryan $40MM to pitch for us next year?
Personally, I think he’s going to ask for a 3 year deal at the minimum. Wow, I just checked his age. I can’t believe he’s our age (his birthday is between mine and yours). Considering how old he is, I’d only offer him $35MM/year, tops.
Verly funny wise guy, I was suggesting Nolan in his prime. But Koufax looks like he could give you a couple of solid starts.
Per Bill Shaikin, LA Times, a decision on the Trevor Bauer arbitration is not due until next month at the earliest. Jeff Snider at Dodgers Nation seemed to imply that if the arbitrator decides to lift the suspension completely, the Dodgers would be on the hook for his 2022 salary of $32MM. That does not seem plausible to me. The Dodgers were precluded from pitching Bauer for the entire season due to MLB’s suspension (not LAD’s) MLB should be on the hook for the payroll, not LAD. That is why I believe that if the suspension is lifted, it will not include 2022.
Will the Dodgers back him if they are forced to pay him?
I am not sure what you mean by back him. If they are forced to pay him, that would be at the behest of the arbitrator. I would imagine that LAD would entertain a lawsuit against Manfred if they are required to pay Bauer. Bauer was suspended by the Commissioner, not LAD. I believe that it is patently unfair if the Dodgers are required to pay for the pitching services from a pitcher they could not utilize at all during the season because of the actions of Manfred. The Commissioner has the right to unilaterally suspend and set the punishment. Or he can turn it over to the team. Manfred chose the former.
I guess I mean would they put him back in the rotation. I’m assuming if he wins, he will have the right to pitch. Am I wrong about that?
You are correct. Once his suspension is lifted, Bauer can immediately pitch. I do not know whether they will accept him back on the roster, but that will be a different decision to be made. Pitch him or release him. If his suspension is upheld for 2022 but lifted for 2023, Bauer will have a decision…exercise his player option for the full $32MM or opt out for $15MM and look to sign elsewhere.
I have no real clue what would happen if the suspension is lifted. With what little information I have I think it should be lifted. Do the players even want him back? Does management? Do I want him in our rotation? It would help if when the time comes he made a public apology and maybe made some enormous donations to local domestic abuse agencies, but yeah, I would be ok with him pitching. If he hasn’t been charged and he’s being paid he should be going to work every day.
Milwaukee has traded Hunter Renfroe to LAA for three pitching prospects. With Renfroe no longer in the Brewers roster, this makes them far less likely to move Willy Adames, Corbin Burnes, or Brandon Woodruff. Renfroe is expected to get an $11.2MM arbitration salary.
Elvis Peguero (RHRP) (25 years old) – 19.2 MLB IP, 9.15 ERA, 1.932 WHIP – 258.0 MiLB IP, 4.47 ERA, 1.368 WHIP – #23 LAA Prospect in 2021.
Janson Junk (RHP) (26 years old) – 24.2 MLB IP, 4.74 ERA, 1.419 WHIP, – 355.1 MiLB IP, 4.03 ERA, 1.342 WHIP – LAA Top Prospect #16
Adam Seminaris (LHSP) (24 years old) – 185.0 MiLB IP, 4.14 ERA, 1.400 WHIP. Was a 5th round draft pick in 2020, and pitched at 3 levels in 2022. Total 101.2 IP, 3.54 ERA, 1.426 WHIP. Kind of a mirror of Gavin Stone, except the results. Stone was a 5th round draft pick in 2020 and moved thru 3 levels in 2022. Stone is 4 days older than Seminaris. Seminaris was not amongst the LAA top prospects.
MLB Trade Simulator had this as a very even match:
Hunter Renfroe – 1.9 Points
Janson Junk – 0.5 points
Elvis Peguero – 0.4 points
Adam Seminaris – 0.7 points
Total – 1.6 points
Brewers get out of the Renfroe salary and get three lottery ticket pitchers. The Halos get a good OF to replace Brandon Marsh in LF. He will join Mike Trout and Taylor Ward in the LAA OF.
I’m guessing this makes the Angels a little less likely to sign Haniger, or maybe a lot less likely.