Dodgers: 20-20 Vision on the Star Studded 2018 Off-Season

Andrew Friedman, (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
Andrew Friedman, (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /

As Dodger fans erupted in a gleeful tantrum over the possibilities of acquiring a new toy, Andrew Friedman and CO grabbed ‘em by their collars, and they left the toy store. On the way out, the young LA faithful wiped away their tears, only to see smirking Yankee fans in line with their new Giancarlo Stanton action figure.

The Dodgers lost the World Series. Now numerous analysts will state that they lost the off-season as well. Even after placing him at “front of mind,” and “having numerous meetings about him for the passed three years,” as Andrew Friedman told Sportsnet LA, Shohei Ohtani declared that the Angels were too perfect of a fit to pass up. Soon after, LA deemed Stanton too costly (Certainly regarding money, probably also regarding prospects) and he found himself in pinstripes.

LA has lost numerous front office personnel to other teams, and they’ve even lost their trusty set-up man Brandon Morrow to the rival Chicago Cubs for a reasonable amount. Numerous other quality relievers have come off the board (with many headed to rival Colorado) and now Marcell Ozuna is a Cardinal. Fortunately for LA, winning or losing the off-season doesn’t amount to much. Padres GM AJ Preller will be the first to tell you that.

Flexibility and depth. That’s been Andrew Friedman’s battle cry since day one. Hard to blame him for declining to give up and an ungodly amount of resources for Stanton, especially when you see Albert Pujols putting up a -2 WAR and getting paid almost 30 million a year for the next four years. Breaking news, hulking sluggers typically break down in their mid 30’s. Even the best of the best. And If there is one thing that Andrew Friedman is sick of, it’s dead money.

From, Crawford, to McCarthy, to Kazmir, and now Adrian Gonzalez, Friedman has grown very tired of paying money to players who give minimal contributions. LA just wasn’t willing to potentially pay more than what they were comfortable with, especially with one of the greatest free agent classes baseball has ever seen is just around the corner. Lucky for Dodger fans, LA has spent fairly wisely over the last couple seasons. Expect their frugality to continue one more year.

Even with Yu Darvish seemingly departing, LA doesn’t expect to shell out big bucks or trade for a major starting pitcher this off-season.

"“At some point, we really want to create an opportunity to work in some of our really young, talented, high-upside guys and let them kind of have a little bit of a runway to get acclimated so they can start to establish themselves.”"

That fits right in line with what Dave Roberts just said about expecting Walker Buehler to be a starting pitcher in 2018. And let’s not forget about the young talented lefty, Julio Urias, who will be poised to make his comeback sometime next season. If both of the Dodger’s top two prospects prove too young and ineffective, they could always acquire a starting pitcher at the trade deadline. Just as long as it doesn’t affect their plans for 2018. Instead, expect Friedman to use his cash and or trade assets to acquire a quality reliever this off-season.

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Next year you have your titans of the free agent market such as Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, whose deals could go beyond 350 million each. For the next year or so, Dodger fans will be drawing up scenarios in which the entire infield is realigned to accommodate a Machado signing. No need. If Stanton was too expensive at about 270 million, then Harper and Machado will prove far too expensive for Friedman’s liking. Especially with Clayton Kershaw figuring to test the Free Agent waters in the same off-season.

Luckily, (or rather unluckily) Clayton Kershaw has lost himself a decent chunk of money because of injury concerns about his back, and continued disappointing playoff results. It’s hard to put an exact number on it, but I’d say his visions of a possible 300 million dollar deal are fading, baring a completely healthy, Cy Young 2018. In either case, with numerous deals coming off the books, LA will have a ton of cash to spend in the 2018 off-season.

Aside from Kershaw, the top tier names seem unrealistic. However, there could be an old rumor that could come back from the dead, in Brian Dozier. Not many talks about Dozier when referencing that star-studded free agent class, but his right-handed power bat would be the perfect addition to this Dodger lineup.

After dealing Willie Calhoun, LA doesn’t have much in terms of depth at second base in their system. With Logan Forsythe a free agent after this year and Chris Taylor seemingly a centerfielder, LA again look to try to fill their second base hole with Dozier. He would be turning 32 in 2019, but a young 32 as he didn’t play regularly in the majors until age 25. LA would probably regret the last couple seasons of that contract, but that comes with most top-tier free agents. 

Next: Outfield options for Farhan Zaidi to consider

His combination of power, speed, and defense will be highly sought, but LA may just have enough money to go after him or other major free agents. Not interested in him, how about Andrew Miller or Zach Britton? (unless LA trades for him first) Or perhaps  Andrew McCutchen? Whatever the case, LA said no to Stanton, and now they have a scary amount of financial might and flexibility for the epic 2018 Free Agent Class to be.