The Dodgers remaining interested in Marcell Ozuna raises a number of questions.
The Los Angeles Dodgers‘ offseason picked up once again this week when it was reported they were monitoring Trevor Bauer’s market and would be willing to strike if the price was right. Knowing Bauer, the price will likely be wrong, so fans probably shouldn’t get too thrilled about that pairing happening.
But that update, coupled with their continued reported interest in Marcell Ozuna could indicate something bigger. Are the Dodgers planning for the future beyond 2021? If you look at LA’s current situation, Clayton Kershaw, Chris Taylor, Kenley Jansen, Corey Seager and (likely) Joe Kelly are slated to become free agents after this season.
As for after the 2022 season? Mookie Betts is the only player guaranteed a salary (everyone else is either arbitration eligible or has a contract option). So is Andrew Friedman trying to figure out a way to make the 2021 roster even more of a juggernaut while keeping in mind what’s to come in the near future?
It’s worth asking. Potentially losing Kershaw in the rotation will be a lot less of a burn if Bauer’s there alongside Walker Buehler. As for the outfield? Taylor leaving will hurt the depth and there’s really no way to predict what AJ Pollock will bring to the table on a year basis given his injury history and fairly inconsistent play. Who knows, maybe the Dodgers will add Ozuna, trade Taylor, and then go with a rotation four-man outfield rotation, which would make that unit very potent if the NL adds a DH in 2021.
Regardless of what they do, or whatever we’re formulating in our heads, right now we know the 2021 Dodgers don’t need to make any big-ticket additions with the exception of their situation at third base.
Perhaps they’re just waiting to see if the prices for Bauer and Ozuna become a bargain in their eyes, which could make one of those hypothetical additions a “steal” by the Dodgers’ standards.
Don’t get us wrong: the Dodgers are very much well prepared for the future. But they’ll be losing key guys and freeing up a lot of payroll over the next two years. Given that this front office has constantly prioritized keeping both short-term and long-term moves in mind every offseason, that’s why we’re even having this conversation.
And with the market slowly coming into focus, Friedman is well positioned to make a splash or two, especially if the Dodgers can make the financials work (which they usually do).