Dodgers: After Losing Out on Harper, LA Set to Rely on Their Young Core
The Dodgers made a valiant effort to sign Bryce Harper but ultimately came up short. With Harper no longer an option, the Dodgers are going to have to rely on their young core.
The Dodgers entered the Bryce Harper sweepstakes late and made a valiant effort to get a deal done but ultimately came up short as Bryce agreed to a thirteen-year contract with the Phillies. Surprisingly the deal includes no opt-outs as Harper wanted the longer deal rather than a shorter contract with the Dodgers at a higher annual salary.
With Harper no longer an option and Nolan Arenado now in Colorado for the long haul, the Dodgers are going to rely on their young core for the foreseeable future. Next year’s free agent class features Anthony Rendon and Nick Castellanos but Rendon is a third baseman and the Dodgers have Justin Turner under contract still and Castellanos is better off as a designated hitter.
The next superstar free agents will be Mike Trout and Mookie Betts after the 2020 season but there is no guarantee that either reach free agency. Like Nolan Arenado, Trout and Betts may choose to sign a massive extension prior to becoming free agents. Outside of those two, most of the big free agents in the coming years will primarily be starting pitchers, something the Dodgers should not need with their surplus of starting pitching and prospects.
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The next big free agent that the Dodgers sign may end up being their own, in Corey Seager who is slated to become a free agent after the 2021 season. The shortstop class of 2021 will be a talented one if no extensions are signed as I detailed here. After 2021, the Dodgers will have Cody Bellinger and Walker Buehler become free agents after the 2023 season. Chris Taylor will be a free agent after 2021 and Max Muncy after 2022.
With Alex Verdugo set to break into the majors in 2019, and Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith likely to follow suit in 2020, the Dodgers are going to be reliant on their homegrown players for a while now that they missed out on Bryce Harper and will no longer be able to pursue Arenado after this season. It’s not a bad position for the Dodgers to be in given their current crop of talented young players in the big leagues and the prospects that are still coming.
The Dodgers have one of the best young cores in baseball with Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler, and Julio Urias all set to play big roles in 2019. With talented youngsters on the way such as Ruiz, May, Peters, and others, to go with a big financial backing, the Dodgers are still in a strong position to be a big contender for years to come.