Once again, the Los Angeles Dodgers are facing roster turnover for the fourth straight year, but this time it appears they set themselves up for it to accommodate a potential Shohei Ohtani signing. Whether that happens or not, though, the same questions will need to be addressed.
The futures of so many players are up in the air. LA has a number of impending free agents, potential trade candidates, injured assets, and team options that will greatly impact the outlook for 2024. What we do know is this exact iteration of the 2023 roster will not be back for 2024.
Plentiful changes need to be on the way. The Dodgers have now crumbled in the NLDS three times over the last five years despite winning 100+ games and capturing the NL West title. Something isn't right, even when you factor in the usual, disappointing postseason reality.
We took our stab at who is likely to be shucked off the roster come November, and now Dodgers insider JP Hoornstra offer up his take, but we're opting to focus on some of the less-defined situations that could go either way.
Kiké Hernández, Jason Heyward and David Peralta, all of whom were brought aboard to assist in short-term roster patchwork, represent the focus here.
Dodgers insider provides possible answers to some important roster questions
Somewhat surprisingly, Hoornstra believes Hernandez has a good chance of being re-signed. It's not that Dodgers fans don't think he's worthy, but would anybody label him an upgrade entering his age-32 season after two of the worst campaigns of his career? There's certainly clubhouse and continuity value here, but perhaps his presence was most influential when he was surrounded by other longtime key contributors like Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, and others.
Then there's Heyward, who Hoornstra believes has a chance to stay -- a reliable prediction after all he accomplished in a resurgent year in LA. Heyward reunited with former teammate Freddie Freeman, and was the perfect outfield platoon option to face right-handed pitching. He batted .269 with an .813 OPS and 117 OPS+ in his 124 games, and should once again be relatively cheap, since he's a bench option heading into his age-34 season.
And that, finally, makes the return of David Peralta redundant, as Hoornstra notes. Peralta was expected to be the offseason signing that stuck, whereas Heyward was added on a minor-league deal without much hope of earning a roster spot. Though Peralta had his moments, he was nowhere near as effective as Heyward (and had more opportunities to prove he was).
The 36-year-old Peralta OBP'ed under .300 and finished with an 81 OPS+. That's not going to cut it, even for a bench role, so it's safe to say this might be the most accurate prediction for an offseason departure.
Dodgers 2024 Free Agents
- Clayton Kershaw - unrestricted
- Julio Urías - unrestricted
- Enrique Hernandez - unrestricted
- JD Martinez - unrestricted
- Amed Rosario - unrestricted
- David Peralta - unrestricted
- Kolten Wong - unrestricted
- Shelby Miller - unrestricted
- Jimmy Nelson - unrestricted
- Jason Heyward - unrestricted
- Jake Marisnick - unrestricted
- Tyson Miller - unrestricted
- Robbie Erlin - unrestricted
- Matt Andriese - unrestricted
- Lance Lynn - $18 million club option
- Max Muncy - $14 million club option
- Joe Kelly - $9.5 million club option
- Blake Treinen - $7 million club option
- Daniel Hudson - $6.5 million club option
- Alex Reyes - $3 million club option
There's plenty more to be settled, but as it pertains to the Dodgers' immediate depth outlook for 2024, we can expect one of Hernandez or Heyward to return and Peralta to be gone, if we're to trust out own judgment assisted by Hoornstra's hunches.