Dodgers Turn Over the Team to a Young Core of Players in 2018
By Josh Burke
The Dodgers are relying on a younger ballclub this year thanks in part to roster upheaval caused by their year-end blockbuster trade of aging assets.
Once the Dodgers and Braves finalized their trade in the final weeks of 2017, we were able to collectively rub the disbelief out of eyes and accept reality: stalwart first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, veteran pitchers Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy, and journeyman Charlie Culberson were all gone from our team. They had been exorcised from the roster in return for a reunion with spry 33 year-old outfielder Matt Kemp. At that moment, it became clear that the Dodgers had been forever changed. Not just by the fact that they had traded away a Los Angeles fan favorite and noted butter and egg man, Adrian Gonzalez, but with A-Gon gone, along with the other three elder statesmen, the Dodgers’ roster got a little bit younger.
Pitcher Rich Hill represents the most mature end of the team’s age spectrum at 37 and injury-stunted phenomenon Julio Urias is the baby boy of the team at 21 years and 5 months. The median age between these two extremes is 29. I am going to discuss some of the best and brightest of those who fall below that median, but I have to mention one tricenarian.
Kenley Jansen holds down the bullpen duties for us whenever the Dodgers make the call. He’s just 30 years old and under contract for at least the next two seasons. After that, he can choose to opt out at age 32 and test the free agent market once more. The last opportunity he had to leave, Kenley followed his heart and came back to the Dodgers. Should Jansen choose to opt out in 2020, though, I believe he’ll sign with the highest bidder.
The cost for free agent players in their 30s continues to skyrocket with no end in sight. Let’s take a look at some of the Dodgers enjoying their roaring 20s in LA while we can still afford to.