If the Los Angeles Dodgers weren't going to chase free agents this offseason, that presumably took the workload off the front office and would've allowed Andrew Friedman and Co. to take care of the most important players on the roster ... right?
Apparently not. The Dodgers have been among the least active big market teams this offseason, as they significantly decreased their payroll and are planning to give a number of young players/top prospects a chance in 2023 to perhaps see where they stand in 2024 and beyond.
That's all fine and good, but LA stands to lose a good portion of their starting rotation after this coming season. Clayton Kershaw will be a free agent again, and his future is unclear. Noah Syndergaard was signed to a one-year deal, and probably won't be here more than a year. And Julio Urías, perhaps the Dodgers' most important player at the moment, is in his final season of club control.
Couldn't Friedman carved out some time to work out a contract extension with Urías? It's not like that would've affected the 2023 payroll or future spending. Even with the theoretical addition of Shohei Ohtani next year, it'll be hard to see this rotation losing Urías, especially with Walker Buehler coming off Tommy John surgery.
But as time passes, it appears as if the Dodgers are going to let the left-hander hit free agency and then make a determination when the time comes. Can't say fans feel good about that.
Here's what Dodgers insider Fabian Ardaya said in Part II of his mailbag via The Athletic:
"Extensions take multiple parties to get done. As Andrew Friedman said at the Winter Meetings, “I think it’s no secret that we would like for Julio to remain a Dodger, but it’s hard to go much beyond that.” But with Urías so close to what should be a lucrative free agency, I’d imagine it’s going to take a lot to get a conversation about an extension to go anywhere. I’m not ruling it out, but don’t think it’s likely before he hits the market."- Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic
Look at every Dodger who's hit free agency in recent seasons after the team either avoided extension talks or coudn't reach an agreement. Corey Seager: gone. Trea Turner: gone. Max Scherzer: gone. Tyler Anderson: gone. How does this instill confidence that a deal will get done with Urías? More often than not, the Dodgers have lost players by letting them hit the open market.
And, you're not going to believe this, but Urías is repped by ... drumroll, please ... Scott Boras, who the Dodgers rarely work with!
Whether it's in their control or not, Urías' situation will pile onto the organization's to-do list come next November, which doesn't bode well if they want to get a number of high-profile deals completed with some of the game's biggest stars.