For each division, we will be doing an in-depth look at each team’s situations for the offseason and offer some insights to what would make sense.
On to the NL West, where the Dodgers will try to continue their tradition of losing in the playoffs, the Rockies start the farewell tour for Arenado, the Diamondbacks say goodbye to relevancy, the Giants start strapping dynamite to the walls to begin a rebuild, and the Padres ironically look to be competitive in 2019.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- ~$10M (already over last year’s total but assuming they toe the luxury tax line in 2019)
Top FA Targets:
- Bryce Harper, RF
The Dodgers ducked below the luxury tax line in 2018, have some big money coming off the books after the 2019 season (~$59M between Rich Hill, Matt Kemp, and Hyun-Jin Ryu), and their starting RF Yasiel Puig is in the last year of his contract… if they want to spend this offseason and think this would get them over the hump, then the Dodgers will do it.
- Wilson Ramos, C
With Grandal a free agent, the Dodgers could replace him at a lower cost AND collect a draft pick from his departure. Ramos is a good fit offensively, but obviously concerns with his knees will limit his earning potential.
- Marwin Gonzalez, UTIL
Marwin is an ideal fit for the Dodgers. Can play SS if Seager is hurt, can play 2B regularly, or can form a platoon at 1B against LHP.
- Kelvin Herrera, RP
As I chose in my 2018-2019 Presidente’s MLB Offseason Free Agent Predictions, I think Herrera is a fit in LA. With the uncertainty surrounding Jansen’s heart, I think the Dodgers look for some insurance.
- Daniel Murphy, 2B
Chase Utley is retired and the Dodgers need another geriatric 2B option that can play off the bench and spot start… Daniel Murphy would be a great fit but he may want more playing time than the Dodgers can offer.
Top 3 Trade Possibilities:
- Dodgers trade prospect OF Alex Verdugo (#1) to the Indians for C Yan Gomes
The Dodgers need a catcher and Yan Gomes would be quite the acquisition for them. Gomes is great defensively and under team control for three more years at a reasonable price. The Indians can shave that salary off their books and fill an OF vacancy left by Brantley and Chisenhall’s free agency.
- Dodgers trade OF Matt Kemp to the Astros for RP Joe Smith
Matt Kemp is making $21.75M in the last year of his monster extension and although useful, doesn’t have much use in LA. Kemp was worth about 1.5 WAR in 2018 in lieu of his atrocious defense… so imagine him DHing for the Astros with the Crawford boxes playing to his strengths. On the flip side, the Astros pen is stocked with talent and the reliable Joe Smith is making $8M in his own walk year. The Dodgers can save ~$8.5M in the deal (they already paid SD some money in their original trade, so LAD is essentially paying SD to pay part of his LAD salary… very confusing). The Astros get a power hitting DH that could conceivably play LF somewhat effectively for them at home.
- Dodgers trade SP Rich Hill and 1B Max Muncy to the Red Sox for CF Jackie Bradley Jr. & C Sandy Leon
Rich Hill can return to his hometown (and where his career got back on track) to be the #4/5 starter and Max Muncy, coming off an impressive 2018, can be a good bench bat/rotational piece for Boston. Boston needs another SP to slide behind Sale/Price/Porcello and would probably like to get some more defensive versatility in the OF. JBJ isn’t in their long term plans and JD Martinez actually hit far better when he wasn’t DHing. Similarly, the Dodgers have Muncy as a 1B with no platoon partner for him and Bellinger deserves some looks vs LHP to try and figure it out. Sandy Leon would serve as the tandem and provide some mentoring for Austin Barnes.
- Dodgers re-sign Manny Machado, shift Corey Seager to 3B, and move Justin Turner to 2B
This one has a lot of moving parts, but Seager should be able to pick up 3B quickly with the help of his brother Kyle. Turner was originally a 2B and the Dodgers’ use of analytics should help position him in ways to be serviceable. As for Manny, he has that swag that Dodgers fans love and the Dodgers can easily afford it since they have ~$90M coming off the books next offseason from players free agency.