The Dodgers have been the highest-spending team of the offseason by a long stretch, even when you remove Shohei Ohtani's mammoth $700 million commitment. It's been a veritable feast for fans, and there seems to be no end in sight. LA still has work to do in the rotation and the outfield to round out the team, so they can't rest on their Ohtani- or Yoshinobu Yamamoto-related laurels.
Thanks, in large part, to those two signings, the rest of the free agent market has finally begun to pick up some steam. In a light year for offense on the market, competition for those that are still available will be tight. The Dodgers clearly have no qualms about running up their payroll, so they remain the ones to beat for the best names out there.
Former Mariner Teoscar Hernández has seen his stock skyrocket thanks to the slim pickings, and he's arguably the most desirable outfielder still available behind Cody Bellinger. A Bellinger/Dodgers reunion is vastly unlikely, so LA has turned its attention to Hernández. They're not the only ones, of course, but their most likely competition in the Boston Red Sox have made their intentions about free agent spending clear, as in the don't intend to do much of it at all ... unless they can free up more money.
Dodgers have clear window to out-bid top competitor for Teoscar Hernández
Despite a vow to go "full throttle" this offseason, the Red Sox have limited themselves to one-year deals with Cooper Criswell and Lucas Giolito for an underwhelming $20 million in spending. They reportedly need to shed payroll before making any big moves, and they did make a start of it by basically shoving Chris Sale out the door to the Braves, but they're clearly treading water while the Dodgers are gliding along.
Hernández played right field almost exclusively for the Mariners for the majority of the 2023 season, but has a history of appearing across the outfield. The Dodgers have Jason Heyward for one more year, presumably starting in right against right-handed pitching, but their best bet in left at the moment is Chris Taylor, who only played in left in 57 games last year and put up average-at-best offensive and defensive numbers. Hernández is by far the better all-around outfielder and would give the Dodgers a true starter in left.
If the Dodgers are invested in getting Hernández, they clearly shouldn't be too worried about their limping competition in Boston. At this point, with the market wearing so thin and the Dodgers being so aggressive, going after Hernández should be a no-brainer. But they have a window to make it happen right now as the Red Sox scramble to free up more money through difficult trades.