Though the Los Angeles Dodgers still have two spots open on their 40-man roster, that won't stop them from trying to clear more space as the offseason progresses. At this rate, they need the contender's version of a roster overhaul to provide a more peachy outlook for 2024.
And it really all starts and ends with the pitching staff. The Dodgers definitely need some more clutch hitting and better depth, but there's no telling what they would've been able to do had the starting rotation not put them in massive holes during their first three games against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS.
The bullpen ended up hanging on, but it was the worst in the National League during the first half of the season. There are clearly some shaky elements with its construction, so Andrew Friedman will need to invest the proper time in addressing that area of the roster too.
The 2023 non-tender deadline is set for 6 p.m. this Friday and it represents a potential opportunity for the Dodgers to save money and open up valuable roster spots to import better players. With the amount of starting pitchers and role players they need, every vacancy will count.
The list of arbitration-eligible Dodgers isn't expansive, and is headlined by Walker Buehler, Will Smith and Brusdar Graterol, all of whom will be given contracts for the 2024 season. The rest, though? A lot of question marks, and we think a couple of pitchers might be in danger of getting the ax.
2 surprise non-tenders Dodgers could make before Friday's deadline
When the Dodgers traded for Ryan Yarbrough at the deadline, many saw it as a shrewd acquisition because of his ability to start games and provide multi-inning relief appearances. LA loves using swingmen, and the soft-throwing lefty felt like a perfect fit to support the ailing pitching staff.
But Yarbrough unfortunately didn't excel with the Dodgers. His first month of action was good, but then September featured 17 earned runs on 29 hits and 4 walks in 19.1 innings. It was a bit inflated by his final appearance against the Rockies that saw him surrender nine earned runs on 11 hits and a walk, but we'd only call one of his other four outings "good."
In the end, he was left off the postseason roster even with how badly the Dodgers needed guys to eat innings. Do you think that bodes well for his 2024 status, especially since he's projected to earn nearly $4 million? We'd probably vote to keep him just because of what the ceiling is, but there's some speculation he'll be non-tendered (or traded).
We heard you gasp! We don't mean to stir the pot, but this should probably be a legitimate consideration for the Dodgers. Dustin May is electric when he's healthy, but across four full years of service time, the right-hander has only appeared in 46 games. He's never pitched more than 56 innings in a single season.
There's a solid chance he doesn't see action until 2025, either. May underwent surgery to repair his right flexor tendon and also required a Tommy John revision, which was the procedure he was working his way back from after suffering a season-ending elbow injury in May of 2021. Gingergaard made only nine starts before having to be shelved again.
Initially, it was believed May could return in the middle of 2024, but MLB.com's Juan Toribio says any return seems "unlikely." The former third-round pick isn't going to break the payroll with his projected $2.4 million salary, but what's the point of spending that money and ever relying on May to be healthy for a full season? The Dodgers have committed far harsher acts than cutting bait on someone who's pitched in 20 games over the last three full seasons.
If multiple pitching free agents are coming to LA by was of long-term financial commitments, expect May to have a new home when he's back and ready to go.