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Some More FA and Trade Ramblings

I agree 100% that there are not a lot of pitchers who can go 6-7 innings in a playoff game.  But to be contrarian, IMO AF looks for the best deal, and that may not always get the best player available at that time.  The Dodgers could have signed Nathan Eovaldi last year.  Texas paid $34MM for two years. Certainly not outlandish, and affordable.  His fWAR value was almost $20MM ($19.9MM).  If his 2024 fWAR is 2.0, he exceeds his contract.

When was the last time the Dodgers have signed a FA starting pitcher to a term longer than 1 year?  Early on, but not lately.  Instead the Dodgers did sign a reclamation project pitcher for 1 year…Noah Syndergaard ($13MM).  I would have bet plenty that Eovaldi would have had a better year than Syndergaard.

Admittedly, there have not been many Aces that have been FA in the last few years, but there have been some.  And I think for the majority of them, the decision not to pursue them were good choices.  But there were others that worked out.

The top 3 last year, deGrom, Verlander, and Rodón were not good choices.  Two were hurt most of the year, and JV earned a little more than ½ of his $43MM salary.

Chris Bassitt may not have been an Ace, but he is a top of the rotation pitcher, and he signed for 3 years $63MM.  He had 200 IP last year with Toronto (averaged a tad over 6.0 IP).  He had 181.2 IP the year before with NYM. There have been a few of us who wanted to see the Dodgers acquire Bassitt when he was with Oakland.

Last year I advocated for Zach Eflin who signed with Tampa Bay for 3 years and $40MM.  Tyler Anderson was horrible last year, but aren’t all LAA pitchers?  Would he have been better had he stayed with LAD.  He will be 34 and 35 his last two years of his contract.

The year before, Kevin Gausman signed for 5 years $110MM ($22MM AAV) with Toronto, and has been outstanding.  Marcus Stroman 3 years $71MM.  Robbie Ray 5 years $115MM. Eduardo Rodriguez 5 years $77MM.  Ray won the CY in his platform year while with Toronto, and pitched well (not great) his first year in Seattle.  He had TJ and flexor tendon surgery last year.  You cannot predict most injuries, and I was one who was hoping that the Dodgers would sign Ray.  They didn’t, and as it turns out, good for them.

What I want to see is a change in the mindset.  Get away from the 1 year reclamation projects. If there are no Aces, get the best #2, then the best #3.  If it costs more and/or requires more years, so be it.  AF has to look at the FA market (and trade market) differently this year.  Whereas he could justify the reclamation projects in the past with his envious pitching staff, this year he needs proven top of the rotation pitchers, and then let the kids be the back of the rotation until they prove themselves.

The Dodgers have lost out on multiple pitchers via trade.  The Dodgers very much wanted Luis Castillo and Pablo Lopez.  They would not pay the asking price (which I have no idea what that was), and they went elsewhere. How much has the trade value of Diego Cartaya, Michael Busch, Gavin Stone, and others decreased.  If the Dodgers had offered Cartaya, Busch, and Stone could they have acquired either Castillo or Lopez?  They wouldn’t now because of the prospect capital tumble.

Jordan Montgomery (for 2023, 188.2 IP for 32 starts, and year before 178.1IP for 32 starts) ?  Dylan Cease (for 2023, 177 IP in 33 starts, and year before 184 IP in 32 starts)?  Mitch Keller (32 starts, 194 IP, average 6.0+ IP).  They are out there.  AF just has to be willing to spend $$$ or prospect capital, or both.  Change the mindset.

Why didn’t Eduardo Rodriguez accept the trade with the Dodgers? I continue to believe that it was because AF would not give him extra dollars to waive the no trade deal.  We will see how much he likes Detroit this year as he has opted out of his contract.

Negotiate in good faith with Scott Boras clients.  Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell would fit in nicely at the front of the LAD rotation.

I still believe the most likely top of the rotation FA pitcher in MLB that AF will target is Sonny Gray.  Jim Bowden’s projection is 3 years $64MM. That is $21.33MM per year AAV.  Not out of line.  Is it out of the comfort zone for AF?

I do not pretend to know if the Dodgers value draft picks more than FA pitchers/players. I am more than positive that AF will not let the loss of draft picks stop them from signing Ohtani.  But what does it do with signing Sonny Gray, Blake Snell, Aaron Nola, or Matt Chapman.  Would signing Ohtani render the other FA with a QO out of bounds?  More opportunities for Yamamoto, Imanaga, and Montgomery. And of course the reclamation projects.

Five pitchers that I would absolutely target for trades:

  • Corbin Burnes (RHSP), Milwaukee (193.2 IP, 32 starts)
  • Dylan Cease RHSP), CWS (177.0 IP, 32 starts)
  • Logan Gilbert (RHSP), Seattle (190.2 IP, 32 starts)
  • George Kirby (RHSP), Seattle (190.2 IP, 32 starts)
  • Jesús Luzardo (LHSP), Miami (178.2, 32 starts)

A little more cautionary based on medicals, Shane Bieber (Cleveland) and Triston McKenzie (Cleveland), and Max Fried (Atlanta).


  • Braxton Garrett (LHSP), Miami
  • Cole Ragans (LHSP), KC
  • Brady Singer (RHSP), KC
  • Tarik Skubal (LHSP), Detroit
  • Matt Manning (RHSP), Detroit

I am sure that there are at least a dozen more that I would never think of.  But don’t try to make the perfect deal.  It isn’t out there.  Make a fair deal that will help the Dodgers in 2024 and not hurt them in 2025.  Outside of pitching, the Dodgers do not have elite MiLB talent at the upper levels, and the pitching is a surplus that AF can pick and choose.  They can certainly put a package together for pitching or position players.

One player that I mentioned last year, and one I hope that AF/BG pursues this winter.  The Dodgers have been looking for a RH hitting OF who hits LH pitching.  Washington Nationals OF, Lane Thomas.  Against LHP in 2023, in 192 PA, .332/.375/.573/.948, 14 doubles, 1 triple, and 9 HRs.  He will cost, as he has two years of control.

Back to my premise…Change the mindset.  Don’t try to be perfect, just fair and good.

BTW, MLBTR has just published their annual Top 50 free agents and predictions.  I will be reviewing it and commenting.



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Great write up Jeff. I agree with you that AF needs a change of mindset and the way he has gone about constructing the roster the last few years. I am sick and tired of all the bargain bin and dumpster diving for reclamation projects shopping. Dammit, we have the money if we use it wisely.

Reading thru the MLBTR free agent predictions, I found myself wondering how accurate their predictions were from last year. I would be surprised if it was higher than 20%. I think they are guessing just as much as we are.

Last edited 6 months ago by OhioDodger

Not sure how we get those Seattle guys unless we unload some prospect capital. Vargas, Busch, Cartaya?


First step is to collect utility players and step two is to collect DHs. San Diego collected shortstops and that worked so well.


”There is also an understanding that Japanese stars often prefer not to play on Major League teams with other Japanese stars. Would the signing of Ohtani or Yamamoto prevent the pursuit of Sasaki (and other Japanese stars)? The answer is unclear.” Dylan Hernandez.

Sasaki is a 22 year old pitcher that the Dodgers are scouting, but won’t be available this winter.

And the prediction for Ohtani this morning was Dodgers, 12 years $528 million. I just can’t see it. Not without some safeguard clauses to protect the team if he doesn’t pitch again. I just read he’s worth over $200 million as a pitcher, and around $300 million as a hitter. Coming off surgery next year, at least early next year, his ability to hit like he has may be an unknown. That said, I can sure picture a lineup with Betts, Freeman, Ohtani in October.

The MLBTR FA predictions. Interesting read. We’re going to be seeing these predictions for weeks. I’ll make this prediction: Below Mendoza line accuracy on all of them.


Please no Sonny Gray. He’s a fine pitcher for a crap team that has no postseason goals. Let him go to Anaheim or one of those type franchises.


He didn’t do well for the Yankees as I remember so you might be right about him not being good in the brightest lights.


I will buy that but hopefully the Dodgers won’t need Gray in a WS in Yankee Stadium.

Singing the Blue

Not to worry. The Yankees never make it to the WS.


Jeff Weaver was lousy in New York. But he came to the Dodgers and pitched much better.


….”The top 3 last year, deGrom, Verlander, and Rodón were not good choices. Two were hurt most of the year, and JV earned a little more than ½ of his $43MM salary.” —— Need to give Friedman credit for what he didn’t do too!

I also like Gray. I will accept the honor for wanting Gray like STB did with Lynn last year.

I also like Lane Thomas. I would have to get a hell no from KC first though before I used trade chips for Thomas. His line against righties is .242.292.427.719 which makes him prone to platooning. His month by month stats were up and down as well so he is streaky.

Might Betts be the righty bat that plays decent defense at third?


I prefer some speed at 3rd base along with quickness. Betts can catch ground balls and has played some shortstop. Third base has been a second position for a few catchers and right fielders. If Lux isn’t physically ready to play short then he would move to second for at least a half year and that puts Betts back in RF. I like Betts in the infield–he seems more energized when playing infield.

DeLuca is an athlete and is a very good defensive player plus he is cheap. He is fast and quick and agile. Granted, he might not hit well enough to be a regular third baseman. He has been stereotyped for lack of a better word into playing the outfield where he excels. If Russell can move from the outfield to shortstop where he learned the new position in the major leagues and not the minors, then a fair question can be asked about why not DeLuca? Different times? Too simple of an explanation.

Royce Lewis would be great to have as a Dodger. I like Arenado but would rather spend the payroll elsewhere. Muncy’s best value is as a first baseman.

BTW, just because I reaffirmed that Friedman didn’t sign bad contracts wasn’t an attempt to say you didn’t recognize that. You have clearly and consistently said you didn’t want those type pitchers– deGrom, Verlander, Scherzer,  Rodón, Robbie Ray.

Ohtani at $46MM annually for 12 years is 15% of a $300MM payroll. Trade Muncy and that cost basically drops to $34MM annually for the next 2 years. Then add lower cost free agent starting pitchers and believe in Buehler, Miller, Pepiot, Sheehan and add Gonsolin and May back in 2025. Works for me.

Last edited 6 months ago by Bumsrap

Muncy’s best value is at 1st?!?!?!??!

Value to who?

I think his biggest value to the team is at 3rd given Ohtani or JDM.

I’m with Jeff, I don’t understand the concept that there’s an opening to fill at 3B.

Last edited 6 months ago by Bluto

Muncy’s best defensive position is 1st base and therefore his best value is as a first baseman. That is the last thing I thought I would get second guessed on.


So 1st base is also Freeman’s best position, and Freeman is a more valuable player.

I don’t think it’s arguable that dynamic makes Muncy the Dodgers’ 3B with occasional stints at 1B and DH.


Actually Fred, his best defensive metrics come at second.


That doesn’t mean he would best serve a team at 2nd instead of 1st.


That’s true, but I don’t think he would do as well without the shift

Last edited 6 months ago by nonicnamebumfan

I’m with Fred on this. The position Muncy is least likely to hurt the team is first base.


‘But if I were a betting man, I think we all know who is going to be playing 3B for the Dodgers next year. Max Muncy.’

This is not an example of changing the mindset. This is a cheap charlie move in the sense of getting Max to play DH plus a full time position. Max is slow, doesn’t throw with power and commits too many errors. Get a bloody 3B!


I think the biggest factor that is sometimes overlooked when looking at past actions is that the Dodgers had a core at the top of the rotation with Kershaw and Urias (at least).

Thus the idea that this off-season may be an outlier makes more sense.

At least to me


“Thus the idea that this off-season may be an outlier makes more sense.”

Could you please clarify this a bit for me? Thanks.

I believe the most obvious outlier this off season is Ohtani. It’s like Babe Ruth is a free agent and a lot of the leading professional guessers have him going to the Dodgers. With as much offense as that lineup would provide, do we need the top available ace, or will 2 or 3 middle rotation equivalent guys do the trick.

If we land Ohtani I can see maybe a middle/ top free agent pitcher coming our way. Maybe someone like Gray or Imanaga who are down the list a bit. If we don’t land Ohtani, we’re there bidding high on Snell, Nola, Montgomery, Yamamoto.

One of Busch/Vargas is likely going to be given opportunity at third, unless Muncy is still with the team. It does kinda feel like those two are in limbo. Do we trade both?

The guessing continues. Isn’t this fun?

Last edited 6 months ago by Badger

An outlier in the sense Jeff outlines (outliers outlined!)

An off-season in which the Dodgers sign a top-tier pitcher and maybe even trade for one before the season starts.

EDITED: Er, I just remembered about Bauer. Fucking Bauer. Forget my point.

Last edited 6 months ago by Bluto

I’ve been trying to tell you this for days.

For all the reasons just mentioned I agree he will be worth it but, for the reasons I stated, I’m just not sure AF will do it. Ohtani belongs in LA.

I wasn’t kidding when I said this was fun. The Dodgers are players every winter. But this one does feel different.

RC Dodger

Excellent articles the last two days Jeff!
it will be tough to replenish the pitching staff and sign Ohtani as most experts predict they will. I am not in favor of paying Ohtani $528 million, when he will only be a DH in 2024 and possibly in 2025. After his last TJ surgery, Ohtani only pitched two innings in the next two seasons. And even his hitting was impacted after his last TJ surgery.
It was amazing to see yesterday how little Friedman has paid for starting pitching in the last 10 years. His top external signings have been Bauer, McCarthy, Kazmir, Brett Anderson, Rich Hill, Maeda, and Syndergard. Most have been failures, except moderate successes with Maeda and Hill.
it is important to understand what a roster Friedman inherited when he became GM in 2014. On that roster were Kershaw, Greinke, Urias, Ryu, Haren, Beckett, Stripling, Jansen. Plus young stars like Seager, Bellinger, Pederson, Turner, Puig, and Kemp.
Friedman has managed to build a pitching staff around Kershaw, Urias, Ryu, and Buehler combined with castoffs and low budget signings. But the inheritance is now running dry, and either the Dodgers must develop their young pitchers or pay in the open market for pitching. At a minimum I would like to see the Dodgers sign Gray or Snell and Imanaga plus the normal pitching rehab project.


Who bunts.

Singing the Blue

If we get rid of Barnes we won’t have any bunts next year.


I note that amongst the bottom 7 teams are:
Texas, Atlanta, Tampa and the Dodgers

Singing the Blue

But not Arizona.





From Bruce Kuntz on Twitter:
The Dodgers had 27 players in their minor league system elect free agency today. Some notables who are no longer in the org:
-RHP Tyler Cyr
-IF Yonny Hernández
-C Tucker Barnhart
-RHP Ricky Vanasco
-IF Luis Yanel Diaz
-1B/DH Imanol Vargas
-OF Yusniel Díaz
-1B Justin Yurchak


I am! And, to a lesser extent, Vanasco.

Oh well, can’t keep everyone.


Only a couple of those guys played for the Dodgers in the major’s last season. All are replaceable. None will be missed.

Singing the Blue

Jeff, you referred to Sasaki as a “lock down closer” above.
I don’t doubt that he’d make a great closer, but isn’t he viewed by most experts as a potential #1 starter?

Singing the Blue

If he markets himself as a starter, it’s 200 mil easy.

As a reliever, even a great closer, it would be substantially less.

Let’s sign him, have him spend his first 10 years in the majors as our Ace starter and the last 5 as our lock down closer. Win, win!

This GM stuff is just so easy.


You’re giving a pitcher a 15 year contract? That’s nuts. Make it 8 and 4. That’s considerably safer.

Singing the Blue

I’m just signing him for the first 8 or 10. If that works out, we extend him and convert him to relief when necessary.


Oh ok. Sound logic. If he doesn’t work out after 8 or 10 it will be a relief when he’s gone.

Singing the Blue



From Morosi (ostensibly good for Vargas/Busch/DeLuca/Cartaya/etc.)

At the MLB GM Meetings, a trend to watch:

Team execs tell me trade conversations for position players are more serious now than at this time last year.

One reason: “Buying” clubs have more interest in players under club control than those available in free agency.

Singing the Blue

I was watching Brian Kenny’s show on MLB this morning and as he was looking at the list of free agents, he was commenting that with the exception of Ohtani, Yamamoto and maybe a couple of others, he wouldn’t spend his money on any of the major free agents, considering what they’ll be going for.

His reasoning was that they have all had such up and down performances over the past few years that you really don’t know what you’ll be getting. Mentioned Belli, Nola, Snell, Giolito among others.


I skimmed it and am over it.


Jerry DiPoto said that the Mariners are looking to add contact hitters this year. That was one of the reasons they cut Hernandez loose. Teams are beginning to look for those kinds of bats. LA has enough guys that strike out too much, Muncy and Taylor. That is why I think signing Chapman is a bad move. He strikes out more than Muncy. Another reason why the Dodgers drafted Kendall George.


A few interesting names mentioned as underrated Free Agents in the Athletic. Among them:

Luis Severino, Gary Sanchez, Reynaldo Lopez, Frankie Montas. None linked to the Dodgers, but… if there’s room on the 40?

Singing the Blue

New White Sox GM, Chris Getz say “there are no untouchables”.
That tells me Dylan Cease will be traded.
And Louis Robert Jr. might be traded if someone presents him with a deal he can’t resist.
Are we interested in either of these guys?
Neither would come cheap.

Just for fun, I went to the Trade Simulator:
Dodgers get Robert Jr.
White Sox get Busch, Pages, Sheehan, Cartaya, Vivas.

Like I said, he wouldn’t come cheap.

Last edited 6 months ago by Singing the Blue

I’d rather have Ohtani for $$$

Singing the Blue

Why not both?

Mookie – 2B
Freddie – 1B
Robert Jr – CF
Ohtani – DH
Smith – C
Max – 3B
Outman – LF
DeLuca/Heyward – RF
Lux – SS

Last edited 6 months ago by Singing the Blue

Why not both!

Singing the Blue

OK, we’re in agreement. I don’t have Andrew’s phone number so I’m going to let you call him with this winter’s strategy.

Of course, neither of those moves fixes our pitching problem for next season and actually subtracts one (Sheehan).

Last edited 6 months ago by Singing the Blue

We need pitching too. We just traded everyone of interest for Robert Jr, so while you have him on the phone, get Friedman to sign Yamamoto and Montgomery, then ask him to pick up one of those underrated fixer uppers I mentioned earlier. His choice, they all have potential.

Last edited 6 months ago by Badger
Singing the Blue

Not sure we can afford Yamamoto and Montgomery after the other stuff.

How about Yamamoto and Ryu?

Singing the Blue

And then we send Vargas, Stone and Ramos to the Brewers for Burnes (Trade Simulator approved).

I can see I’m taking on a Frank Lane/Bumsrap kind of vibe here with all these maneuverings.


We already used at least half those guys for Robert Jr. That would be Vargas and Sto

Money doesn’t matter anymore. Get who you want to get Andrew. I want Ohtani, Yamamoto, Burnes, Severino and Giolito. I’ll settle for Ohtani, Yamamoto, Imagoner, Burnes, Montas, Arenado and Lee.

Singing the Blue

Robert Jr was Busch, Pages, Sheehan, Cartaya, Vivas. No duplication. I’m just weeding out the entire farm system.

I’ve studied your list above and I’m particularly intrigued by Imagoner. Is he that lefty pitcher you’ve been wanting?


Yep. That’s him.


Because his name showed up money The Athletic as a possible reclamation project, they gsve reasons why, and I bought it.


Not quite. My trades are liked by me and yours are not. Keep practicing.

We have a center fielder–Outman
We have a cleanup hitter/DH–Muncy
We don’t have a third baseman.
We don’t have a left fielder or right fielder.
We might not have a shortstop.

3B Betts
1B Freeman
SS Witt
DH Ohtani
C Smith
CF Outman
LF Taylor
2B Lux
RF DeLuca

Buehler, Pepiot, Sheehan, FA, FA
Traded: Muncy, Miller, Busch, Cartaya

Last edited 6 months ago by Bumsrap
Singing the Blue

Robert Jr is very athletic. We could convert him into a 3rd baseman or have a competition between him and DeLuca.

Imagine liking your own trades better than mine. And by the way, I’d MUCH rather have Witt than Robert, but he would cost a lot more in prospects, I believe. Maybe still worth it. The other beautiful advantage in getting Witt would be that he would be really cheap, salary-wise, for the next few years.

Love your lineup with the possible exception of CT3 as the every day left fielder. Let’s at least get someone to platoon with him. Lets sign Lee from Korea, who hits left handed. If he hits well enough, Taylor becomes a utility guy, otherwise they share left field.

Oops, just saw you have Mookie at 3B. Not something I want to do. Move Mookie to second and include Lux in the Witt trade. Now we just need to find a third baseman. How about Candelario?

Singing the Blue

I only trade Max in my conversations with Bums. I completely subscribe to your theory about a conversation having been had prior to his signing.

I can’t imagine that they would trade him before next season even started. Although I also wouldn’t have imagined that the Cubs would hire Counsell while they still had a manager and then kick Ross to the curb. It’s a business, as they say.


Muncy was extended so he would be more attractive to would be trade partners. I told you that already. Muncy would be even more comfortable in NY or Tampa, both of which have short porches. We’re getting Ohtani. We don’t need Max.

It was Chicago who said there were no untouchables not KC. Witt is untouchable, at least until they can’t afford him anymore.

I bet Smith could play 3rd. Put him there and let Cartaya and Rushing alternate behind the plate. Ok, maybe that’s in ‘25. Vargas or Busch next year. Trade one or the other.


I kept things short. KC would flip Max or it would be a 3 team trade. Max probability was told he might be traded if, only if, the Dodgers signed Ohtani.

Betts is having a ball playing 3rd in my mind and I am having fun putting him there.

I’m willing to give KC additional players. I just didn’t want to list suspects.

Singing the Blue

How about Lee and Imanaga. Has either of them been officially posted yet?

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