Depending on the negotiating timeline, the Los Angeles Dodgers will have some time to figure out their roster moves for the 2022 season. Rumors suggest that the owners’ lockout will likely go into February and chew into the Spring Training schedule.
Andrew Friedman and the brain trust in the front office need to be prepared when things return to normalcy. If history is any indicator, the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) could change the landscape of roster construction in baseball. With that in mind, the Dodgers are one of the few clubs that can jump in with both feet.
Dodgers fans are likely unhappy that the team lost Max Scherzer and Corey Seager. The bright side of missing out on those players is the amount of money it will allow LA to spend elsewhere. The Dodgers front office could learn from baseball’s past and use their institutional prowess to beef up the team.
Back in 1995, the last time baseball went through a prolonged work stoppage, baseball franchises went through a radical alignment. Teams quickly separated themselves into haves and have nots, which led to a runoff of transactions.
The Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees were among the teams that quickly took advantage bringing in free agents Marquis Grissom and John Wetteland, respectively. Both players would help their new teams win the World Series titles in 1995 (Braves) and 1996 (Yankees).
In1995, the still O’Malley family-owned Dodgers didn’t have the stomach to enter the sweepstakes. With no outside income or deep pockets, the team tried to rely on homegrown talent and lesser free agents, but the team was left behind competitively and financially. The O’Malley’s never tried to keep up and three years after the strike ended the family sold the team instead of joining baseball’s arms race.
This time around the Dodgers are in a way better position for obvious reasons. They can go about post-lockout life it two different ways; they can use their organization depth to trade for players or they can use their funds to raid the free agent market. After losing the players they did, they simply cannot afford to let their rivals capitalize by stealing the remaining top talent.
We won’t know what will happen when the Players Association and owners finally come to an agreement, but with some changes already occurring, the Dodgers will have to use their muscle to keep the rest of the league at bay. And learning from the 1994-1995 MLB strike should be of paramount importance.