The Dodgers have never really been mentioned in the same breath as J.D. Martinez, and with what his agent, Scott Boras, is likely seeking (somewhere around 7 years/$210 million), that’s not going to happen.
Lorenzo Cain is a more likely free agent candidate, but still a long shot considering the Dodgers are only about $14 million below next year’s $197 million tax threshold, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, and you gotta leave some wiggle room for mid-season acquisitions.
But what if the Dodgers did sign an expensive outfielder? First of all, they’d sail well past the tax threshold and would be required to not only pay a 50 percent tax on every dollar they go over, but they would also have their first-round draft pick moved back 10 spots in the following summer’s amateur draft.
The front office surely has one eye on next winter’s free agent crop and the other eye on the tax threshold as they try to maneuver their way safely to the 2018 feeding frenzy.
A trade for Yelich would likely cost the Dodgers at least two of their top 10 prospects. With two catchers in their top eight, parting with either Keibert Ruiz or Will Smith would be a likely starting point.
Adding a pitcher like Mitchell White or Jordan Sheffield or Dennis Santana, plus Brock Stewart or Ross Stripling could probably get a deal done,
Sounds like a lot, yes, but consider that the Dodgers would have control over a proven All-Star caliber player for five more years, and that nothing is guaranteed with prospects, especially pitching prospects.
(Raise your hand if you’ve heard of more than two of these Dodgers pitching prospects: Dan Opperman, the 8th overall pick in the 1987 draft, Bill Bene, 5th overall in 1988, Ronnie Walden, 9th overall in 1990, Ben Diggins, 17th overall in 2000, Scott Elbert, 17th overall in 2004, or Ethan Martin, 15th overall in 2008.)
Adding a bona fide All-Star outfielder would take the Dodgers to the next level offensively.
Sliding a Martinez or Cain or Yelich into the third or fourth spot in the order would lengthen the lineup to a championship level, all but securing a sixth straight division title and making L.A. an overwhelming World Series favorite.
But what if the Dodgers …