Baseball season ending signals the start of free agency and furious sessions of thinking about the best case scenario that involves the Dodgers tossing the most money at the best players and getting rid of the worst players. The month of November is one big mess of ridiculous trades leading up to the Winter meetings. Year 2 of Andrew Friedman will be glorious in this regard. But first, lets take a look at who on the 40 man roster is set to become a free agent when the world series comes to a close:
Brett Anderson: Anderson had a very durable season, at least relative to expectations. The left hander was good for 180 innings and 31 starts posting a 3.69 ERA and a 3.46 SIERA, a very nice year for a pitcher that I never expected to make it past 120 innings. He tired significantly at the end of the season and was a bit of a tire fire at the end of the year, but innings are very valuable considering how shambled the starting rotation was during the summer months. He is set to become a free agent after making 10 million dollars this season.
Zack Greinke: Greinke gave the Dodgers one of the best seasons in run prevention history and still might not be back with the team. 1.66 Earned Runs Allowed per 9 innings is pretty good
It’s been reported that he will use his opt out, as he should, because he is going to make a boatload of dollars this offseason. Him opting out doesn’t necessarily preclude him from coming back, but the Dodgers will have to woo him a second time.
Howie Kendrick: The Dodgers traded Andrew Heaney for a year of Kendrick and probably expected more than just 117 games and 2.1 fWAR from him. His defense tanked this season, and he was really only a league average hitter. This profile might sound a bit pessimistic, but he did add positive value in a way that a lot of starting second baseman don’t, so he was worthwhile to have, but perhaps not at the cost of Andrew Heaney. The team will have to decide whether to bring the soon to be 32 year old back or pursue other options on the open market.
Chase Utley: Remember when Utley broke Ruben Tejada‘s fibula? Boy that feels so distant. I imagine Utley is thinking more and more about retirement these days rather than deal with the scorn of an entire city when he travels to New York as a player. That and the fact that he OBP’d .286 and had a tiny 73 OPS+ as a member of the Phillies and Dodgers. Nothing wrong with that season and he should get a major league contract should he come back, but the Dodgers have way better depth options rather than an ancient Chase Utley.
Jimmy Rollins: Sabermetrically, the Rollins era was a total failure in Los Angeles. He had a .285 OBP and a 78 OPS+ yet still batted first or second for much of the season. He played okay defense but didn’t have the range to make him a non-replacement level player, he had a terrible start in the postseason, and blocked Corey Seager for the first 5 months of the year. Oh and when he was good, he used up all of his soul crushing doubles solely to kill the Dodgers in the postseason. I can’t imagine him being brought back considering they have a rookie shortstop who’s isolated power mark of .224 equaled Rollins’ .224 batting average.
J.P. Howell: This is something you never see from the Dodgers, only one free agent in the bullpen. Perhaps it was Ned Colletti’s affinity for veteran relief pitchers but Howell, who has a player option that vested with 65 appearances will certainly opt out of his contract for next season. Improbably, impossibly J.P. Howell had a 1.97 ERA in 155 innings as a Dodger. That number is inflated because he was used as a LOOGY for much of the season and also because he allowed 9 inherited runners to cross home plate, but 4.1 RA-9 WAR is significant value. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s wooed back considering that all the internal options either faltered down the stretch (Adam Liberatore) or aren’t real LOOGY’s (Luis Avilan). Anyways, he’s going to eclipse a 1 year 6.25 million dollar deal and that’s why he’ll opt out of his contract.