Dodgers: 2 burdensome contracts that will affect 2022 season

HOUSTON, TEXAS - MAY 26: Trevor Bauer #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers prepares to pitch during the second inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on May 26, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - MAY 26: Trevor Bauer #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers prepares to pitch during the second inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on May 26, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /
David Price #33 of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images) /

You might be thinking the Los Angeles Dodgers won’t have any problem spending money this offseason. And you’d probably be right! The organization has a number of contracts coming off the books and possessed, by far, the league’s highest payroll in 2021.

But Andrew Friedman and Co. actually have two very unique problems with a couple of contracts that will affect the 2022 team regardless of how you look at the situation.

Not to mention, they either have to re-sign or replace the likes of Kenley Jansen, Corey Seager, Chris Taylor, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, and others. It’s not going to be a stress-free offseason by any means, and it’s really doubtful LA blows by the luxury tax threshold in the spectacular fashion they did in 2021. It’s not like they’re trying to run anything back this time around, because they won’t be able to afford every single departing player.

To make matters worse, these two players’ contracts — both of whom will hardly contribute in 2022 — will be a problem that will affect the offseason spending and the performance of the team next year.

2. David Price

The Boston Red Sox will thankfully be paying half of David Price’s $32 million salary for the 2022 season, but the Dodgers will have to cough up $16 million for a veteran arm who hasn’t done much of anything for this team.

Price opted out of 2020 due to concerns regarding the pandemic. Understandable. However, many were hoping to see a lot more out of the left-hander in 2021, especially when May/June arrived and the Dodgers’ injuries and other problems began to mount.

He pitched in only 39 games and made 11 starts, totaling 73.2 innings of work, which marked a new career low. He averaged fewer than four innings per start. Cumulatively, he missed more than a month of action and wasn’t on the NLCS roster until an injury to Joe Kelly forced him on. He was on the NLDS roster, but didn’t sniff any action against the Giants, either.

Now, unless the Dodgers just cut him loose, they’ll have someone taking up a valuable spot on the roster who doesn’t entirely have a role. Is he a starter or a multi-inning reliever? Is he going to provide any sort of consistency on either of those fronts? Hell, will he even be available as much as the team needs him to be?

With guys like Scherzer, Kershaw, Jansen, and Knebel hitting free agency, Dustin May not being able to pitch until at least the All-Star break, and Kelly likely getting his option declined, the Dodgers wasting a roster spot on Price while paying him $16 million is something that will no doubt hold the team back in some manner.

David Price’s and Trevor Bauer’s contracts will hold the Dodgers back in 2022.

Trevor Bauer #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

1. Trevor Bauer

Even a financial hegemon such as the Dodgers can’t say an MLB-record salary won’t adversely affect them in 2022. Trevor Bauer is set to earn $45 million next year and you probably won’t see him anywhere near another MLB team ever again.

Even though the league has yet to make a decision on Bauer as the legal process in regard to his sexual assault allegations continues to unfold, the pitcher’s future looks extremely grim. The league no longer sells his gear. He was placed on administrative leave in late June and never returned.

Even if the district attorney’s office pursues charges and Bauer is found not guilty, it’d be a massive PR risk for the Dodgers to bring him back into the fold. And that’s exactly the problem.

Historically, in MLB, it’s incredibly difficult to void/terminate contracts. In fact, earlier in the year, ESPN’s Jeff Passan noted the last successful effort came in 2008 when Astros pitcher Shawn Chacon assaulted the team’s general manager. As of now, we can assume the Dodgers will be on the hook for Bauer’s salary even though he won’t be playing for them ever again.

It’s obvious why this is a colossal issue. We mentioned the previous impending free agents that need to be taken care of this offseason. Bauer’s salary could pay two high-end starters and fix this broken rotation. It could pay four contributing position players! Someone remind us why they thought this was a good idea again? 

If you don’t think a combined wasted $61 million is going to affect the Dodgers’ 2022 season, think again.