Dodgers: 3 questions to ask after Craig Kimbrel-AJ Pollock trade

Thomas Carannante
CLEVELAND - SEPTEMBER 23: Craig Kimbrel #46 of the Chicago White Sox looks on during the first game of a doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians on September 23, 2021 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND - SEPTEMBER 23: Craig Kimbrel #46 of the Chicago White Sox looks on during the first game of a doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians on September 23, 2021 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /
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Kenley Jansen #74 of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images) /

1. Why Didn’t the Dodgers Just Re-Sign Kenley Jansen Instead?

Well, we kind of know the answer to this. The Dodgers reportedly dragged their feet with Jansen, who ended up signing a one-year, $16 million contract with the Braves, because they were looking to clear space to avoid the “Cohen Tax” threshold, which was named after New York Mets owner Steve Cohen after he jacked his team’s payroll up near $300 million this offseason.

The next and final tax threshold is the $290 million mark, which the Dodgers were about $3 million short of hitting … but the caveat here is that they’re waiting for MLB to settle Trevor Bauer’s case to determine if they’ll have to pay him at all or for a portion of this season.

Either way, it’s uncharacteristic for the Dodgers to leave a franchise legend in limbo while they try to sort out their finances, which have famously not been a concern for nearly a decade now. And if they truly were that big of a worry, then why did this team sign Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, Daniel Hudson and Danny Duffy for a combined $26.5 million? That’d mediocre to bad production for over $10 million more than what it would’ve cost to keep the franchise’s all-time saves leader.

Of course, the Dodgers simply needed more bodies to cover a certain amount of innings/production, but Heaney is famously bad/ineffective, Hudson is coming off a very bad 2020 and second half of 2021, and Duffy probably won’t be available until the second half of the season.

All we’re trying to say? The Dodgers could’ve maybe not signed one of Anderson, Heaney or Hudson (probably Heaney) and had been able to keep Jansen and Pollock without eclipsing the $290 million tax mark.

This is Andrew Friedman, though. He usually has all the answers. But it’s worth questioning this sequence, because it seems there were a few more obvious paths to fill the necessary voids without subtracting above-average output from another area of the roster.

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