Last week, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants did battle for the first time in 2022, with LA sweeping the two-game set. One of those contests featured a win over San Fran’s “ace” in Carlos Rodón, who was their marquee signing this offseason.
Not many fans realized at the time, but Rodón and Dodgers star shortstop Trea Turner were college teammates at North Carolina State! What do you know!
After that bit of news made some fuss, it was later revealed that Turner actually tried to recruit Rodón to the Dodgers this past offseason. And before we thought deeper into it, the story made total sense! Former college teammates, Rodón was a free agent, the Dodgers needed starting pitching. It all checks out.
But was Rodón actually even under consideration by the Dodgers? There weren’t really even any rumors circulating that linked the two and it was evident the front office was going to stop somewhere in regard to the escalating payroll.
When the offseason began, LA immediately re-signed Chris Taylor. As the lockout dragged on, it was clear they were prioritizing Clayton Kershaw (assuming he wanted to return), cheaper depth rotation options, bullpen pieces, and, of course, Freddie Freeman.
With Rodón’s price tag always expected to be in the $20+ million range, was he ever really in the Dodgers plans? Or was Turner “recruiting” out of turn and taking a shot in the dark?
Trea Turner tried recruiting Carlos Rodón to the Dodgers this offseason
"“Turner’s wife Kristen and Rodón’s wife Ashley remain close. And the former roommates attended a wedding together this winter as Rodón hit free agency. Turner tried selling him on the fit with a franchise that would go on to add not one, but two perennial All-Stars in Freddie Freeman and Craig Kimbrel after Rodón signed elsewhere.”"
Perhaps if Freeman wasn’t on the table, then maybe this would’ve been a potential fit, but the offseason rumors far from suggested that was the case. The Dodgers were connected to Freeman before, during and after the lockout. Rodón’s name hardly (if ever) even popped up in rumors. And the front office knew they had to spend on a closer with Kenley Jansen quickly departing for the Atlanta Braves, which left their hands tied financially as they approached the “Cohen Tax” of $290 million.
The Dodgers’ post-lockout moves consisted of signing Freeman, Tyler Anderson, Danny Duffy and Hanser Alberto, among others, and trading for Craig Kimbrel, in what was an effort to address vacancies and deepen other areas of the roster without spending big money. With Trevor Bauer’s financial situation hanging in the balance at the time (his salary was still counting against the payroll), there was no way Rodón could’ve been added at this price even before the Kimbrel trade, because it would’ve put LA well over the final luxury tax threshold. In fact, they had to get rid of AJ Pollock’s salary in order to make the Kimbrel trade work.
In the end, Turner might’ve been doing some rogue recruiting here, because signing another $15+ million per year player just wasn’t in the cards for what the front office was trying to accomplish.