Most Dodgers fans seem to want Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg, but Anthony Rendon makes the most sense for the Dodgers.
Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg seem to be the most popular targets for Dodger fans with Cole likely landing the biggest contract this winter. Anthony Rendon could land the second-biggest contract of the off-season and he should be the Dodgers’ primary target this winter. For starters, starting pitchers usually become paid more than they are worth in the last few years of their contracts.
Anthony Rendon is said to be willing to take a shorter contract in return for a higher annual salary. This could align perfectly with the Dodgers who reportedly offered Bryce Harper a four-year contract last winter that would’ve shattered the highest annual salary record for Major League Baseball. Rendon will turn thirty years old next June, so a six-year deal would take him until Justin Turner’s current age, thirty-five.
Speaking of Justin Turner, the clutch third baseman is in the final year of his contract and he is beginning to become a liability at third base. In 2019, Turner had the worst year of his Dodger tenure defensively as he had a UZR/150 rating of -12.9. JT missed plays that he routinely made over the past few seasons and he continued to deal with injuries. A move to first base should keep Turner healthy and able to play more games.
Once Turner’s contract expires it remains to be seen who will play third base. Max Muncy struggled with his throws at third base and Corey Seager may not hit enough to be a third baseman if his 2019 season is who he will be going forward. Kody Hoese has yet to play above rookie ball and is likely two seasons away from the big leagues, at least. Signing Anthony Rendon would give the Dodgers their answer at third base for a handful of seasons.
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Anthony Rendon could also replace the clutch playoff bat of Justin Turner who is likely entering his final season with the Dodgers. Rendon slashed .328/.413/.590 during the Nationals’ World Series run and he drove in 15 runs along with three home runs. He helped end the Dodgers’ season as he clubbed one of the two home runs that Clayton Kershaw gave up in the eighth inning of the deciding game five of the NLDS.
The Dodgers do need another starting pitcher to eat up innings but the rotation has plenty of talent with Julio Urias, Dustin May, and Tony Gonsolin all ready to step in and take on more significant roles. Walker Buehler is also the ace of the present and future. Long term the Dodgers don’t have a clear answer at third base once Justin Turner’s contract is up especially with Corey Seager’s future with the team in question. Seager will become a free agent after the 2021 season.
While the Dodgers would certainly benefit from signing Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg, they are more of a luxury than a necessity for the 2020 season. The Dodgers do need to find their future third baseman and they also need another bat with Corey Seager and A.J. Pollock entering the 2020 season with questions. Add in Justin Turner possibly entering his final season with the Dodgers and Anthony Rendon is the star free agent that the Dodgers should sign.