The Dodgers should sign DJ LeMahieu and trade Gavin Lux.
This is expected to be one of the slowest offseasons baseball fans have ever seen, both on the free agent and trade markets. The global pandemic has resulted in financial losses for every MLB organization and we can expect teams to limit their spending since there’s no way we’re going to know anytime soon if fans will be allowed in the stands come 2021.
But the Los Angeles Dodgers, fresh off their first World Series victory in 32 years, could be in a prime position to take advantage of other teams’ reluctance to spend. The championship revenue should help LA, as should the fact they have guys like Justin Turner, Blake Treinen, Pedro Baez, Enrique Hernandez, Jake McGee, Joc Pederson and others coming off the books. That’s over $50 million right there.
LA certainly has some bullpen needs, but Andrew Friedman always makes those tertiary moves in a cost-effective fashion, and we can rely on him to do so again. So why not splurge on one luxury addition, make one blockbuster trade, and call it an offseason?
We’re talking about signing DJ LeMahieu and trading for Brewers closer Josh Hader.
Look, we know LeMahieu will cost a good amount, but it won’t be on a long-term deal. LA could swing a three-year contract here and pay him in the $18-22 million range depending on the Yankees’ aggressiveness on that front. Slotting in DJLM at second base as a more permanent option instead of going with the current platoon would really make the Dodgers unstoppable. And pairing him with Mookie Betts atop the lineup? Forget about it.
Now, you’re probably asking, what about Gavin Lux? He was supposed to get a more permanent role in 2021 with some free agents leaving, but if the Dodgers can get LeMahieu, they can use Lux as trade bait to acquire … Brewers closer Josh Hader.
LA tried to trade for him last offseason, but Milwaukee ended up keeping him.
In this scenario, the Dodgers wouldn’t have much of a need for Lux, assuming they sign Corey Seager to a contract extension, and could use the young middle infielder to address an area of significant need in the back end of the bullpen. Hader is under club control for another three seasons but will have rising arbitration costs that the Brewers might not be keen on paying if they’re not contending, since their flaws were very evident in 2020.
Lux could be enough for a straight up swap, since Orlando Arcia isn’t exactly a long-term answer at shortstop, but the Brewers have a smart front office and will make sure they get exactly what they want for Hader, who is among the best relievers in the game.
So if push comes to shove, would Lux and Tony Gonsolin get the job done here? Milwaukee desperately needs starting pitching, and the Baseball America Rookie of the Year could provide the necessary help.
We’re just spitballin’ here, but this scenario really doesn’t feel all that outlandish when you sit back and break it down.