Connect with us

Dodger Baseball

Not So Hot Stove League

Well, we have come to New Years 2024, and it really has been somewhat of a frigid Hot Stove League.  Some will blame it on the Ohtani and Yamamoto effect, but that cannot be why there have been so few of the top free agents signed.

MLBTradeRumors publishes their Top 50 free agents list with possible contracts and destination.  Of the Top 50, only 21 have signed contracts for 2024 and beyond.  Broken down a bit more, 6 of the top 10 have not signed and 10 of the top 20.  Four of the top 10 unsigned free agents have Scott Boras as their agent: Cody Bellinger, Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, and Matt Chapman.  Boras loves to hold back his top clients until later in the offseason to sign.

Compared to last year, 46 of the top 50 had signed before New Years.  Only 1 of the top 32 had not signed, and that was Carlos Correa (January 10, 2023) who would have signed earlier if it were not concerns for his medicals.

10 of the current year Honorable Mention Top Free Agents (23 in total) have signed.  Last year it was 14 of 35 Honorable Mention Top Free Agents that had signed before New Years.

36 of this year’s crop of non-Top Free Agents have signed, compared to 35 last year.  Only one of these free agents has a contract more than 1 year (Isiah Kiner-Falefa – 2 years).

The Dodgers far and away have spent the most of any team ($1.043B) on five players.  The next closest is Philadelphia spending $172MM on 1 player (Aaron Nola).  Four other teams have commitments north of $100MM:

  • Arizona – 2 players for $122MM.
  • San Francisco – 2 players for $121.25MM
  • Cincinnati – 6 players for $106.2MM
  • Kansas City – 6 players for $105MM

Four teams have not yet signed a free agent:

  • New York Yankees
  • Chicago Cubs
  • Miami Marlins
  • Colorado Rockies

IMO, a lot of the reluctance for free agent spending is due to the number of teams that have significant concerns regarding the uncertainty of Regional Sports Network (RSN) revenues that will be available for their teams for 2024 and beyond (more on this later).  Diamond Sports Group (parent of Bally Sports) filing for bankruptcy have many organizations concerned.

Obviously the free agent signings are going to pick up, but I do not believe that the contract amounts will be.  Cody Bellinger does not have a lot of teams clamoring for him, and the $200MM++ asking price is not getting a lot of play.  The same is true for Blake Snell with reported asking price of $200MM.  Boras has to be p***** that the price for Ohtani and Yamamoto kept going up, but the team that came out on top is not bidding on his players.  And the result is the price for his players are not only not escalating, but are deescalating.

Where do you see the following players going?  How much? – Remaining top 25.

  • Cody Bellinger
  • Blake Snell
  • Jordan Montgomery
  • Matt Chapman
  • Josh Hader
  • Shōta Imanaga
  • Teoscar Hernández
  • Jorge Soler
  • Marcus Stroman
  • JD Martinez
  • Jordan Hicks

One continued report I keep reading is that the Dodgers are looking to upgrade SS.  That does not make sense to me.  There is not one reported available SS who is an upgrade over Gavin Lux, obvious or otherwise.

Leave Lux at SS, put Vargas (or Busch) in LF, trade for another SP, and go to ST.

One other non-Dodger situation that bears some continual review throughout the year.  SD Padres starting pitcher, Yu Darvish, was a little peeved that the Dodgers signed both Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto.  What irked Darvish was that he was advised by AJ Preller that his contract extension would not hinder SD from going after either player.  SD was never in play, and Darvish was upset.




Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I sure would like the Dodgers to complete the hat trick and sign Imanaga.


Report today said they were in the hunt for the lefty. D-Backs signed Tucker Barnhart to a minor league deal. He was with OKC for a short time last year. Padres close to signing Woo Suk Go.


I’m in the airport on crappy WiFi, can someone summarize the Dodgers looking for a SS conversations?


I have read that they are interested in Josh Hader, which doesn’t make any sense to me. I think that Taylor and someone else (Hayward, Vargas, Busch, ?) will share left field.

I would like some additional starting pitching depth and expect them to sign a project starter. Maybe a lefty. Maybe Sean Manaea?


Manaea. Sounds reasonable to me What’s his spin rate on pitches that drop?

This morning I agree that we trade Busch, put Vargas in left, sign the project starter and go to ST. That plan might change by this afternoon.

Last edited 5 months ago by Badger

I have not read any chatter concerning an upgrade at SS for quite a while. A lot of that stopped when they seemed to get off of the let’s trade for Burnes train, which would probably have meant they would have to take Adames and maybe Yelich too. Hader makes no sense because he has a QO and would cost LA two more draft picks. AF won’t do that. The Braves trading for Sale might have opened the door a little bit for a Cease trade or not. They could also go back to the past and sign Ryu, who is not going to cost a lot. Wonder if he would buy Joe Kelly a new Mariachi outfit for giving him back #99?

Sam Oyed

So in close games with a lead the Dodgers could put in Rojas for defense and potentially move Lux to second with Betts going to RF.

Fred Nichols

I think Lux has a better bat than Nico Hoerner and maybe a stronger arm but even though Hoerner’s best fit is second base, I would swap Lux for Hoerner. Hoerner is healthier and is a righty bat.
I want both Sheehan and Stone competing for a spot in the rotation and don’t want to use them in a trade, especially for a pitcher.

Taylor has leg issues but I would use him as the primary backup at shortstop and trade Rojas with the goal of finding a left fielder or improving the offense from the bench.


Fred Nichols? Ok, what did you do with Bum?

I keep Rojas. Gloves like his are rare. I think Lux can play adequate shortstop after a year of rehab. Running backs can do it, so can he.

What Friedman & crew might say and what they might do is anybody’s guess. Which is what we’re doing isn’t it.

Vargas in left. Another pitcher. Trade Busch. Play ball.


Yes to everything in your post (except the lost Bum comment). Brief, logical, and to the point.

With the Dodgers taking out the top two FA, baseball fails to provide fans with any other excitement in free agency. Allows Boras to control the narrative and slow play the entire process. Have free agency conclude by Dec 31 in order to create some urgency and excitement!

Last edited 5 months ago by tedraymond

First argument is $$$. Second is my preference for using the AA level prospects and Busch, Vargas, or Cartaya to make future trades.

The Dodgers need depth to support a 6 man rotation and acquiring Cease would maybe improve the starting 4 but weaken the starting 6.

Is Cease any more available than Webb?


You seem to be trying to say I said Stone was a better pitcher than Cease. I didn’t. All I said was “I want both Sheehan and Stone competing for a spot in the rotation and don’t want to use them in a trade, especially for a pitcher.”

I will update myself and agree with you to trade Busch/Stone/Bruns (40.8) for Dylan Cease (40.4). But why use a trade that is unlikely to throw salt on what I said about wanting to have Sheehan and Stone competing for a spot in the rotation?


I’m concerned about pitchers throwing so hard and spinning the ball so violently they need surgical repairs. THAT’S why I advocate a 6 man.Recovery time.

162 divided by 6 is 27. How many Dodgers pitchers had 27 starts last year? None.

And if Mookie and Freddie’s collective series hitting consists of 1 infield single it may not matter how good the pitching is.

The playoffs are a crap shoot. The Dodgers can try to load the dice, which it appears they are attempting to do, but sometimes you just crap out.

Last edited 5 months ago by Badger
Fred Vogel

Reminds me of my last contract at my last job.

From ESPN:
NEW YORK — Yoshinobu Yamamoto will have two opportunities to opt out of his record $325 million, 12-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, although the timing is tied to his pitching elbow’s health.
If Yamamoto has Tommy John surgery or is on the injured list for a right elbow injury for 134 consecutive service days from 2024-29, he would have the right to opt out after the 2031 and 2033 World Series, according to terms of the deal obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday.
If he avoids Tommy John surgery and doesn’t miss that much time with an elbow issue during that window, he can instead opt out after the 2029 and 2031 World Series.
In the first scenario, the Dodgers also would gain a $10 million conditional option for 2036 with no buyout.
Yamamoto does not have the right to block trades but could opt out of the contract after the end of any season in which he is traded.
Los Angeles announced the agreement two weeks after signing two-way star Shohei Ohtani to a record $700 million, 10-year contract.
Yamamoto has salaries of $5 million this year, $10 million in 2025 and $12 million in 2026, according to the deal announced Dec. 27. He gets $26 million each in 2027, 2028 and 2029, $29 million in each of the following two seasons and $28 million from 2032-35.
As part of the deal under the posting system between Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball, the Dodgers will pay a posting fee of $50,625,000 to the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Pacific League, raising the cost of Yamamoto to the team to just over $375 million. Yamamoto will get $20 million of his $50 million signing bonus by Feb. 1 and the remainder by July 1.

If he is traded after a World Series, he would have the right to opt out in the subsequent offseason.
His contract includes a full-time interpreter, personal trainer and physical therapist. Yamamoto gets a hotel suite on road trips and five roundtrip airline tickets each year.
He cannot be assigned to the minor leagues without his consent.
Yamamoto’s contract is for $1 million more than Gerrit Cole‘s $324 million, nine-year contract with the New York Yankees from 2020-28. It is the longest deal for a pitcher, topping Wayne Garland’s $2.3 million, 10-year agreement with Cleveland in November 1976 as part of the first free-agent class.
In the end, the Dodgers made the biggest splurge a team has ever made on a pitcher (at least one who isn’t also a 40-homer hitter, like Yamamoto’s new teammate, Shohei Ohtani). They did this for a 5-foot-10, 176-pound, 25-year-old righty who has never thrown an inning in the major leagues.
The Yankees proposed a $300 million, 10-year contract but would not go any longer, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the offers were not publicly announced.
Los Angeles has been baseball’s biggest spender this offseason, committing $1,212,187,500 to Ohtani, Yamamoto and pitcher Tyler Glasnow, who agreed to a $136,562,500, five-year contract as part of his trade from the Tampa Bay Rays.
Yamamoto was 16-6 with a 1.21 ERA last season, striking out 169 and walking 28 in 164 innings. He was 70-29 with a 1.82 ERA in seven seasons with the Buffaloes. Yamamoto struck out a Japan Series-record 14 in a Game 6 win over Hanshin on Nov. 5, throwing a 138-pitch complete game. Orix went on to lose Game 7.
Yamamoto pitched his second career no-hitter, the 100th in Japanese big league history, on Sept. 9 for the Buffaloes against the Lotte Marines. A two-time Pacific League MVP, Yamamoto also threw a no-hitter against the Seibu Lions on June 18 last year.
Under the MLB-NPB agreement, the posting fee will be 20% of the first $25 million of a major league contract, including earned bonuses and options. The percentage drops to 17.5% of the next $25 million and 15% of any amount over $50 million. There would be a supplemental fee of 15% of any earned bonuses, salary escalators and exercised options.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.


That’s a lot of cheddar and pampering for a guy who’s never pitched in the Major Leagues. Hope he is worth it. And I hope the rookie’s hotel suite doesn’t piss anyone off.

I read somewhere Vargas will be in left field. Wait… that was here and I said it. Never mind.

Off season sucks. Especially for someone who isn’t a sports fan.

That Washington Texas game was a thriller. Couldn’t sleep for a while after it. Finally the Pac 8-10-12-2 has a team in the Championship game. Not sure how I feel about it getting absorbed by the Big 20 and that other Midwest conference. Have to wait and see how it all works out.

Of all the individual hitting stats, and there are a lot of them, what is the most important one to you? I think I would go with barrel%. Or maybe hard hit%. I know they show up differently but to me they are kinda the same thing. I was taught early, get a good pitch and hit a line drive. I don’t know if it’s true, but I learned 7 out of 10 line drives are base hits.

Last edited 5 months ago by Badger

Dodgers just traded Bryan Hudson to the Brewers for Justin Chambers, an 18-year-old LHP who was drafted in the 20th round in 23. They are also receiving cash and a PTBNL. Chambers had TJ surgery in high school and has not pitched at any level professionally. Not a bad deal by AF. Chambers was considered the top LHP in high school in the state of Arizona.


Echoing Bear is Josh Thomas:

For those keeping score, the Dodgers took a minor league free agent from a year ago, DFA’d him, and flipped him for an 18 year old who signed for 4th round money. Ridiculous work in the margins.


A few things:

1. The Ohtani Effect?

2. On the International Front, Callis mentioned Dodgers SS Joendry Vargas as one of 6 International Debuts from 2023.

3. Also on the International Front is this look at Eduardo Quintero the DSL MVP and Catcher turned CFer.

Eduardo Quintero Dominican Summer League MVP?


Links don’t work!

Must See

More in Dodger Baseball

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x