Latest free agency update could drastically affect Dodgers’ plans

Thomas Carannante
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 21: Kenley Jansen #74 and Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after Jansen earns a save against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium on April 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 21: Kenley Jansen #74 and Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after Jansen earns a save against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium on April 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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With a lockout-ending deal seemingly imminent (though we’ve been told that numerous times before), the Los Angeles Dodgers stand to be in a precarious situation with free agency reportedly set to begin “immediately” after a new collective bargaining agreement is signed off on.

How so? Well, Dodgers legends Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen are among the top players up for grabs on the open market and one MLB insider believes the two will sign quickly after the lockout is lifted.

Throw in the narratives suggesting both have a good chance to land outside of Los Angeles, and it’s easy to see why the Dodgers might have to pivot in an extreme manner to fill the potential vacancies.

Jim Bowden of The Athletic tabbed Kershaw and Jansen among his top seven free agents to have their mind made up when transactions are once again permitted.

Will Clayton Kershaw and/or Kenley Jansen return to the Dodgers?

The door is always open for both of these players … but there are limitations from all angles. Dodgers fans are aware of Kershaw’s situation — there’s healthy speculation he could retire or move closer to home by signing with the Texas Rangers.

Then there’s the health risk with Kershaw, who dealt with a UCL injury in 2021 that derailed his season. The Dodgers very much need to improve their starting rotation, but what will an investment in a hobbled Kershaw look like? Tough situation.

As for Jansen, the two sides reportedly eye a reunion, but Bowden notes the right-hander will likely be seeking a three-year guaranteed deal as opposed to the two-year deal with an option he expects the Dodgers to offer. The parties talked before the lockout but obviously never reached an agreement, and that could be a reason why. The bad news? Bowden believes a number of other teams will come armed with three-year offers.

Money usually isn’t a “thing” for the Dodgers, but they have a bloated payroll and Trevor Bauer’s situation is still unresolved. How much are they going to be willing to commit to one or both of these guys, especially with other commitments on the horizon?

Andrew Friedman and Co. better be quick on their feet … that’s all we’re saying.

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