After a strange 2021 offseason where the 2022 season was in jeopardy because of an owner lockout, ’22 has regressed to the norm and baseball deals are being made left and right as the Winter Meetings are conducted in San Diego.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are right in the middle of it, either losing players or being connected to seemingly every rumored signing.
The Dodgers’ roster moves — or lack of them — have pulled the team in a cost-cutting direction (potentially for a big fish in 2023-24). Here is what we know so far.
The Good: He’s Baaaaaaaackkkkk
Almost immediately as the meetings opened, the Dodgers made official what had been unofficial for weeks. Clayton Kershaw will indeed pitch his 16th season with the Dodgers. The Dodgers and Kershaw confirmed via social media that he would return on a one-year deal worth about $20 million.
Kershaw could have gone home to Texas either by retiring or by signing with the Texas Rangers. With the Dodgers, look for Kershaw to attempt to reach a few milestones in 2023, needing three wins to reach 200 and 193 strikeouts to hit 3,000.
The Bad: Pitchers Going Somewhere Else
The Dodgers were outbid by the Rangers and New York Mets for the services of both Jacob deGrom and Justin Verlander. With lots of question marks in their starting rotation, one or both front-line starters could have made the Dodgers starting staff the most dangerous in baseball.
Losing both comes with a large caveat: deGrom has a tendency to spend most of his season on the IL and Verlander will be 40 years old next season. Could the Dodgers have signed them? Yes. Should they have? Probably not.
If the Dodgers aren’t going to splash the cash for starters, then they probably need to splash the cash somewhere.
The Ugly: They Gave Trea Turner How Much?!
The shock move of the meetings so far was Trea Turner to the Philadelphia Phillies for 11 years and a reported $300 million. The shock is the price tag, not the move. When Turner decided he didn’t want to sign a contract during the 2022 season, that spelled the end of his Dodgers tenure.
A popular player with the fans (gonna miss those slides) and an average shortstop with a nice bat may have deserved a nice contract, but not at $27 million until he’s 41 years old. That being said, there is now a huge hole in the Dodgers lineup and defense up the middle. There are still options to fill the role, but will the Dodgers pay the price?
It’s becoming obvious the Dodgers need to fill roles in their starting rotation, bullpen, and lineup throughout the remainder of the offseason. Whether they do it with their wealth or internal resources is the big question as things progress this winter.