There are your Los Angeles Dodgers … always taking advantage when the situation calls for it. On Monday, it was announced they had extended Max Muncy through the 2023 season with a club option for 2024.
Originally, Muncy’s contract featured a $13.5 million team option, and some fans were wondering if LA would decline it with the slugger in the middle of a career-worst season. The Dodgers have a ton of big financial decisions to make when November arrives, and letting Muncy go was starting to look like a logical one.
That is, until he started to catch fire in August. His season stats may still look bad, but he’s been playing much like his usual self after the calendar turned. As a result, it seems Andrew Friedman pounced on the opportunity as he envisions what might be on the horizon.
- April – .136 AVG, .586 OPS, 2 HR, 9 RBI
- May – .164 AVG, .595 OPS, 1 HR, 5 RBI
- June – .197 AVG, .675 OPS, 3 HR, 7 RBI
- July – .147 AVG, .597 OPS, 3 HR, 11 RBI
- August – .328 AVG, 1.185 OPS, 7 HR, 15 RBI
The Dodgers have bought themselves a year with Muncy on their terms as he rebounds from a partially-torn UCL suffered in Game 162 of last year.
Dodgers extend Max Muncy out of nowhere, and it’s a smart move
Perhaps some folks forgot Muncy was the team MVP in 2021 (and got MVP votes in 2019, too), with the disappointing shortened 2020 season sandwiched in between. He’s also a postseason force, slashing .233/.400/.481 with 26 runs scored, 9 home runs and 27 RBI in 39 career games.
His defensive versatility has been incredibly valuable, and will continue to be even if he’s not exactly meeting expectations on offense. When his bat is delivering, though, he’s a one-of-a-kind asset, which is something Friedman and the Dodgers have clearly recognized.
Despite his power disappearing for most of this year, Muncy has still been a walks machine, with his OBP currently 136 points higher than his average. And now that he’s catching fire with extra-base hits, he’s returning to the MVP-esque threat he was for LA in 2018, 2019 and 2021.
And the Dodgers shrewdly gambled by guaranteeing Muncy his option for 2023 and tacking on a $10 million team option for 2024, which they can either discard without harm or pick up and get unbelievable value if the slugger manages to stay on track and rediscover his form on a more consistent basis.
These are the types of worthwhile risks big market clubs need to take, and the Dodgers continue to set the example while the rest of MLB lags behind.