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The Dodgers 2024 IFA Signings. Some Unfinished Business?

Monday was the beginning date, teams could sign their international free agents.  Many LAD fans are bemoaning the fact that the Dodgers did not get any of the top IFA prospects earlier this week.  Bluto put out a couple of names who were not highly ranked:  Ronald Acuña Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., and Julio Rodriguez.  Add to that, Elly De La Cruz.

These kids are “chosen” at 13-14 and placed in their respective club’s academy.  They are pretty much identified as that teams pick when they turn 16.  They are not obligated to sign with that team, but they ALMOST ALWAYS do.  Try going out and looking at the Pony League players (pre high school), and deciding which players to wrap up at that time.

The Dodgers have selected 19 IFA.

 

The prize is 17 year old SS Emil Morales (DR).  They also believe they have a potential MLB OF in 17 year old Rafy Peguero (DR).  I have already written on Morales.  Some are already giving him favorable comps to Fernando Tatis Jr. at a similar age.  Same physical build and power skill.  I will follow up with more on Morales and Peguero as we get closer to the DSL.

There may not be a Ronald Acuña Jr., in that group, but they did sign Venezuelan teenage SS, Yojackson Loya, who is the cousin of Ronald Acuña Jr.

Not much is written on most of the others, but Josh Thomas shared this on 18 year old RHP Alexis Dominguez (DR).

The Dodgers scaled back their selection for 2024.  Intentionally?  I do not believe it was, but they may reap benefits from that.  Their bonus pool was already diminished.  But their focus seems to be clearly on the young (22) Japanese RHP, Rōki Sasaki. Under the collective bargaining agreement, international free agents under the age of 25 are subject to international bonus pool money restrictions.

It is being reported that Sasaki will follow the path of Shohei Ohtani, allowing him to enter into the MLB IFA “draft” for 2024.  This could be a significant loss of a potential signing contract similar to what Yoshinobu Yamamoto signed for, but the idea of pitching in MLB is what is driving Sasaki.

What makes this interesting, is that Sasaki can only sign for what the team has remaining in their IFA bonus.

The Dodgers could very well have more in their pool remaining that will give them a leg up on their competition.  Plus, MLB teams can trade for IFA dollars, and often do.  Bonus pool dollars can be traded in $250K increments, up until the point that a team has less than that amount remaining, when all of whatever pool space is left would have to be included in the deal.

Last year, the Dodgers traded a pair of young RHP prospects to CWS for IFA money: 19 year old Maximo Martinez and 20 year old Aldrin Batista.  The IFA bonus money supplemented what they retained from their 2023 pool and allowed them to sign 19 year old top Korean High School pitcher, RHP Hyun-Seok Jang for $900K.

How much will the Dodgers retain?  How much can they accumulate with trades for IFA money?  My guess is that everything this year will be geared to sign Sasaki. He will have to sign before December 15, which is the final day that a 2024 IFA can sign.  Shohei Ohtani originally signed for $2.315MM with the Angels.

MLB wants to make the IFA “draft” into an actual draft, whereby the player is drafted and signed as are the players in US amateur draft.  MLBPA says No Bloody Way.  Albeit they are getting closer to finding a compromise position to allow for MLB to change the format into a formal draft.

In the summer of 2022, the final significant piece of business from collective bargaining negotiations was finally decided.  The MLBPA declined a deadline to agree to an international draft or have veteran free agents remain subject to a qualifying offer.

The MLBPA viewed an international draft as too important to trade in exchange for eliminating draft-pick compensation, particularly since the number of veterans affected in a given year is five or fewer. MLB’s final offer — increased from $181 to $191 million in guaranteed bonuses for a 20-round draft, plus $6 million more for undrafted free agents. The MLBPA considered that offer insufficient to upend a system in which corruption is rampant but the free market still reigns countered.  They countered with $260MM which was rejected by MLB, and the system stays as was negotiated.

Both issues are significant obstacles for the MLBPA, but at some point I can see the MLBPA give in on the issue, thus eliminating loss of draft picks for those MLB players.  It may only impact a few, but the players impacted are actually in the Union.  Contrarily, there are a lot of IFA who have signed lucrative contracts and they are fighting to keep this issue from going to an actual draft, which would hamper (in their opinion) the signing bonuses.

How many 16 year olds are worth $5.6MM as was Ethan Salas (San Diego Padres Catcher) in 2023?

As long as LAD is able to compile enough IFA $$$ to sign Rōki Sasaki, that would top off a great 2024 IFA for the Dodgers.

I came across a MLB.com article that published a list of teams that are poised to increase their wins total by at least 10 games over 2023.  The first six are:

  • NYY – 82-80
  • Cincinnati – 82-80
  • KC – 56-106
  • St. Louis – 71-91
  • NYM – 75-87
  • Philadelphia – 90-72

That does not seem out of line, especially for the first five teams.  Those are almost no-brainers.  Philly has a great chance to reach 100, but that is a little more difficult.  They need for everything to go right.  Their depth is not special.  But with Wheeler, Nola, Suarez, Harper, Turner, Realmuto…they have a good shot at it.

The 7th?

Dodgers
2023 record: 100-62

Why they’ll be better: Here are three reasons, and we’re really digging deep for these. Reason No. 1: Shohei Ohtani. Reason No. 2: Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Reason No. 3: Tyler Glasnow.

The Dodgers win 100 games in their sleep, and now, they’re building a superteam. An improvement of 10 wins in 2024 would mean a 110-win season, which is a lot of wins, but when you add Ohtani, Yamamoto and Glasnow to a team that already has Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman … 110 wins doesn’t seem impossible at all. Remember, Los Angeles won 111 games in 2022, and that roster wasn’t as star-studded as this one. And we haven’t even gotten to the return of Walker Buehler, the always-under-the-radar star Will Smith, the throw-in signing of Teoscar Hernández and the rest of the 2024 Dodgers yet. We’re looking at one of the most loaded teams in recent memory.

Biggest obstacle: Sky-high expectations. It’s hard to win 100-plus games year after year, and now, the Dodgers somehow have to deal with even more pressure to win the World Series than they do in a “normal” season. If this team is anything less than historically great, it’s a disappointment, and these guys will have to live up to that wild amount of hype every day. If Ohtani or Yamamoto or Glasnow or even Betts or Freeman falter a little … or if any of the superstars get hurt … or if the Dodgers don’t erupt out of the gate, or they go through any surprise slumps … the weight of those expectations on this L.A. team will get even heavier, and fast. — David Adler, MLB.com

 

110 wins in 2024?  That is certainly reachable, but the only win total I care about is 13 in the playoffs.

 

 

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Duke Not Snider

It does seem that Roki is the primary objective.
Makes a lot of sense. Roki is so much more proven than the typical IFA prospect. The Padres are investing huge money in teenagers–but the Dodgers got Thayron Liranzo for $30,000 and now he’s a Top 100 prospect.
Talk about a crapshoot.

Cassidy

Also reported that May has started a throwing program. If those two can be ready for next October, then look out!
Just rewatched Sadaki pitching in 23 World tournament against Mexico. He has just electric stuff. 100+ fastball and devastating splitter. He would be a game changer to our 25 rotation. Maybe best ever in MLB if everyone healthy.

Oldbear48

Buehler will be pitching in spring training with a limit on his innings. But he should be fully ready by at least June.

Dionysus

11

Oldbear48

Correct if you do not have to play in the Wild Card round. Which means you need to be one of the two teams in your league with a bye. Texas became the second team along with the Dodgers, 2020, who had to win 13 to earn the Championship.

Zeke

Found it interesting that Amazon takes minority stake in Bally Sports networks, will stream games on Amazon Prime. I have MLB Extra Innings on DirecTV and I also used to get the Sports Pack so I could see some of the other teams that they deemed to be in my local area (Milwaukee Brewers, St Cardinals & both Cubs and White Sox). I wonder how this will impact that coming up in 2024. Will I have to buy the Sports Pack and then I will get access to those games on Prime?
I wish YouTube TV would take over MLB Extra Innings so I could drop DirecTV all together. I know other people have MLB.TV but that doesn’t work for me as I like to have multiple games on the various TV’s so I can bounce around and do other things instead of being glued to a computer.

Matt

MLB.TV has an app and you can watch on TV. 100 times better than DTV.

Oldbear48

I use MLB.TV for my Dodger games. I never use the automatic renewal. Because if I do that, then I would be charged the full yearly price. I wait a few days after that passes and then I order it again, this allows me to use the discount they give Veterans. But this season with the Rockies no longer on Altitude Sports, I will miss the 13 games the two teams play with no local TV, unless as some rumors have said, there will be no more blackouts.

Zeke

I will have to look into that download for my TV’s since I like to put multiple games on multiple TV’s. One of these days I can foresee my TV usage being 100% streaming. Just not there yet. Thanks for the info appreciate it.

Zeke

Thanks for the information. I will need to see if I can download that to my tv’s.

Jayne Cobb

most smart TVs have access to the app. If not Amazon sells Rokus (low end ones) for $25. MLB TV is available on Roku. One per TV and you’re set to watch as many games as you like. I’m 100% streaming. And I cancel my streaming service with Spectrum after the WS. Only pay the $60/month during the baseball season so I can get the Dodger channel. Spectrum has an app on Roku, as does direct TV streaming. So that one little devise covers all my watching needs for the MLB season. We’re getting closer to only paying for what you watch. Which cant come soon enough, IMHO.

Roku Express HD Streaming Device with High-Speed HDMI Cable and Simple Remote, Guided Setup, and Fast Wi-Fi (2022) (Renewed) https://a.co/d/65qRDqd

Oldbear48

I have a TV with the ROKU built in and I also have a ROKU Ultra. I stream everything.

Zeke

Thanks for the information, very useful and appreciated.

Duke Not Snider

In my quest to perfect the Dodgers lineup, I’ve come to the conclusion that Chris Taylor, not Margot, should be Heyward’s primary platoon partner.
Delving into the 2023 stats I was surprised to learn how well Taylor hit lefties. His OPS was .795, and he hit 10 HRs in just 138 ABs. A homer every 14 ABs is hard to ignore.
I had been suggesting that Taylor do a partial platoon with Max if Max continues to struggle against lefties. But even when he’s slumping Max still brings power.
Proposed lineup vs lefties:

Mookie (crushed a 1.097 OPS, with a .424 OBP in ’23 vs lefties)
Freddie (1.009 OPS, .399 OBP)
Shohei (.897, with 1 HR for every 13 ABs)
Teoscar (.817 in ’23–but could bounce back to hia career OPS of .887.)
Smith (.800, with a good OBP of .355)
Taylor (.795 with that Ohtani-esque HR rate)
Max (.641, with a terrible OBP of .263–but he did hit 11 bombs against lefties)
Outman (meh OPS of .665, but he still gets on base:.357)
Lux (in ’22, his OPS against lefties was .684, with a .330 OBP)

This lineup goes against Robert’s prefered L/R rhythm, but I like it.

As mentioned previously, Rojas was a surprisingly decent hitter against lefties in ’23 with .737 OPS and a. 331 OBP. He could give both Lux and Max occasional breaks. The gap between Taylor’s splits and Margot’s was pretty wide, though Margot reportedly hit much better on the road than at Tropicana.
At any rate, RF could produce 30 HRs with a tandem of Heyward and Taylor.

Last edited 5 months ago by Duke Not Snider
RC Dodger

Excellent research Duke.
Your proposed lineup looks solid, and the Dodgers have good options against LHP. I would emphasize defense a little more, and also look at career splits in addition to 2023 platoon splits.
With the current roster I would definitely play both Margot and Rojas against LHP as they are very good defenders who hit LHP well. Margot only had a 665 OPS in 2023 against LHP, but career he has a 760 OPS against LHP. And as you pointed out, Rojas had 737 OPS in 2023 and 722 career against LHP.

I would propose the following standard lineup against LHP:

Betts
Ohtani
Freeman
Smith
Hernandez
Muncy
Taylor
Margot
Rojas

Muncy only had a 642 OPS against LHP in 2023 but for his career he has a 808 OPS vs LHP including an epic HR against Bumgarner! I expect Max will be able to revert more to his career results against LHP. If not, then Taylor can move from OF to 3B to replace Muncy, and put Outman in the lineup vs LHP which will probably also improve the defense.
There are other options as well, like inserting Miguel Vargas at 2B and moving Betts to RF where he belongs.
But LHPs start only about 25% of games, so the predominant lineup will still include Outman, Heyward, Muncy and Lux.

Badger

Sound takes. Both of you.

I look for Outman to improve all his numbers. He’s a hard worker, entering his prime now. He just needs more day to day experience.

I have a hard time believing Margot is even needed.

Duke Not Snider

I agree, Badger. I stick with Outman because of his upside. He won’t learn to hit lefties hard if he doesn’t play against lefties.
There’s no real reason to think he can’t improve against southpaws. Even if he posts the same numbers in ’24, his OBP over .350 would be fine with Mookie and Freddie coming up.
Margot will certainly be needed if there’s an injury.

Oldbear48

White Sox are in talks for a new stadium in a different area of Chicago.

Oldbear48

Notes on a couple of exe Dodgers. Hiroki Kuroda was elected to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame this week. Former Dodger infielder, Charlie Culberson is with the Braves and trying to make it back to the majors as a pitcher. Former Dodger outfielder, DJ Peters, 28 years old and a free agent, is also trying to make it back as a pitcher. He has displayed a mid 90’s fastball.

Kickstart

If they get another first round bye they would need 11 wins. Ways things have been going might be better to have to win 13. That really needs a fix

Last edited 5 months ago by Kickstart
Oldbear48

That is what I said.

Kickstart

Yeah Bear what you said wasn’t yet posted or I missed it somehow when I wrote that

Oldbear48

No biggie, there is a delay in the posts sometimes.

Duke Not Snider

Didn’t DJ go to Korea for a couple of seasons? Hope he finds success as pitcher or a hitter.

Phil Jones

Jeff, thanks for the information on the International signings and especially information on how this all works without a draft. I remember back when Sandy Alderson was charged with trying to get an International Draft implimented; and got nowhere. Between MLBPA and the countries protecting the Biscones, they want no part of that. The Dominican’s #1 export isn’t sugar or rum or tourism. It’s baseball players.
As an ole player and high school coach, I get it and don’t like grooming 12 year olds and designating signees at 14. That would be absolutely unacceptable in the US and I believe creates a hugh advantage for young latin prospects. Many are 5 year veterans in pro ball by age 21. An age where a US kid just signed out of college.
Some Biscones are dirty and there is little oversight on steroid use and separation from families. It’s like plucking young girls and packing them off to gymnastic facilities.
I like kids being kids and I know the pressure to hit your way off the island. But I played with young latin kids who got released at 19 or 20 and they disgracefully returned home with no skills and no future. We hear about the Acuna’s and Tatis’ but plenty don’t cut it. I think it’s a dirty, scandal ridden system and I’d like to see it changed.

Bluto

I’ve always been flummoxed on how International Soccer gets away with a much worse system.

Unless I’m wrong and the system isn’t worse!

tedraymond

If indeed Sasaki is the Dodgers main target next Fall why didn’t they reduce the amount of IFA money spent and saved it for Sasaki? What if AF fails in a trade(s) to obtain more IFA money? Almost all of the players just signed are never going to play for the Dodgers. I’m sure it will work out for the Dodgers, but there could be some risk. I’m sure I’m missing some understanding here.

Bluto

What you are missing is that everything has risk.

There’s risk, as you fret about, in depleting the coffers.

There’s risk in being too precious with the IFA money. What if the Dodgers did as you imply and don’t end up getting Sasaki?

tedraymond

I’m hardly worried about any of this Bluto. But, I appreciate your concern.

The “risk” aspect wasn’t what I was missing. It was the strategy of using so much IFA allotment to sign players that will never play for the Dodgers or MLB if in fact they might want to later sign Sasaki. If they can’t or don’t want to sign Sasaki then it’s a mute point. The question was asked because many baseball believe that the Dodgers will sign him given the opportunity. I guess all this will be clearer in the Fall.

Last edited 5 months ago by tedraymond
Bumsrap

Maybe Sasaki won’t be free to sign in December. It’s not a given.

I’m glad I asked the question yesterday about the Dodgers plan with the international signings because I learned a lot reading about it before I posted and even more today.

Jeff said above: These kids are “chosen” at 13-14 and placed in their respective club’s academy. They are pretty much identified as that teams pick when they turn 16.  

I wonder what would happen to those academies if there were a draft.

With the Dodgers picking late where there are drafts, it is the International signing opportunities where they get a shot at the highest ranked players except for the academies that mostly prevent that. Based on what Phil said below, the academies, while developing baseball players, might not be in their best interest.

RC Dodger

Brandon Gomes appeared on a podcast with Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman the other day.

It was a long interview and gave insights into the offseason acquisitions and thought process. He sounds a lot like Friedman and is pretty guarded with his answers, but Joel Sherman asked some good questions.
It is World Series or bust in the view of Gomes and Dodger staff. He was also very confident that Ohtani will return fully healthy as a pitcher next year.

Scott Andes

dang, I go away for a couple of months, and tons of changes. Ohtani a Dodger. Mark shuts down his site again, for the 20th time. Dodgers predicted to win 130 games.

What a time. Maybe I should stop by here every once in a while.

Dionysus

Nah, you’re good.

Scott Andes

I didn’t ask your opinion Dinosaur

dodgerpatch

Hey Scott! I missed you. Did you tire of the lively discussion on your site.

I personally found it so captivating I saved some for posterity.

Scott Andes

Hey Patch,

You’ve decided to stink up this site with your obnoxiousness since Mark shut down his site?

Your post was unnecessary like most of your comments.

Just wait until Jeff joins Mark in the old folks home and you end up having no choice but to go back to my site. Unless you want to comment over at Dodgers digest, and good luck with that.

Now get lost unless you have something nice to say. Wouldn’t that be a change?

Last edited 5 months ago by Scott Andes
porpoiseboy

What a douchebag. Yeah, you.

Scott Andes

Who are you? A Timmons butt kisser?

Maybe you should find your purpose

porpoiseboy

You sound very angry. Are you still pissed about the fact that you used to get your ass kicked everyday when you got off the short bus after school? Punk

Scott Andes

Oh another internet tough guy. What are you going to do, reach through the computer and choke me?

I have no idea who you are, I wasn’t speaking or addressing you and you come over here and call me a douchebag for no reason.

You are the one who sounds angry, There is a big difference here between me defending myself against an idiot, and sounding angry. Get the difference? Or did you have a learning disability in school?

dodgerpatch

You kind of got me there. If I had to choose between the bottom feeding SJW types over on Nosler’s site and watching paint dry in yours, I’d opt for the paint.

No comment on a Dodger discussion site is necessary, but I got a laugh out of mine. I’m listening to the crickets right now, actually. LOL.

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