Dodgers must offload this pitcher to meet potential luxury tax goals

Los Angeles Dodgers v Miami Marlins
Los Angeles Dodgers v Miami Marlins / Bryan Cereijo/GettyImages

While various MLB teams went on a spending spree this winter, the Los Angeles Dodgers took a more cautious approach. Los Angeles did not make any huge moves as the team potentially prepares to pursue Shohei Ohtani next winter (or Juan Soto the following winter).

The Dodgers have been over the competitive balance tax threshold in each of the last two years and if the team is truly pursuing those megastars, getting under the tax in 2023 is imperative for ownership. If the Dodgers are over the tax for a third year in a row, they will endure a 50% tax rate for every dollar spent over $233 million. If they can get under the tax, then they can go back over next year at a much more doable 20%.

Spotrac estimates (with arbitration figures) that the Dodgers' payroll will be $237.8 million, which is $4.8 million over the tax. The Dodgers are close enough that they could get under the $233 million threshold with smaller arbitration numbers than expected.

However, there's also the chance that the Dodgers just narrowly go over and need to free up an extra $4-6 million. Trading Chris Taylor is a way to do that, but there's another player that the team could try to offload and free up the money.

The Dodgers should try to trade Daniel Hudson before the 2023 season

Daniel Hudson is signed to a two-year deal with the Dodgers (with 2024 being a club option year) and is making $6.5 million this season. Despite tearing his ACL in June, the Dodgers decided to exercise Hudson's team option for the 2023 season.

That was before the team knew it had to pay Trevor Bauer $22.5 million this season. Bauer's contract being on the books puts the Dodgers in a desperate position to shave money, which should quickly change the team's tune around Hudson.

Los Angeles has so many young arms ready to make the big-league rotation and the team is the best in the business in maximizing pitching talent. If there's any team that could afford to give Daniel Hudson away for free, it's the Dodgers.

That's essentially what LA would have to do. Hudson doesn't have a lot of value because of the torn ACL, but his promising numbers last season will still intrigue a bullpen-needy team. It very well could be a case of the Dodgers trading Hudson for a player to be named later, or perhaps even cash considerations.

A move like this likely won't happen until all of the arbitration numbers are settled. Until then, the Dodgers won't know if they need to offload all of Hudson's contract or if they'll be able to move off of a smaller deal. There's even a chance (though unlikely) they need to ditch even more money, which is when a CT3 trade comes into play.

Regardless, despite being a massive market team, it benefits the Dodgers to reset the luxury tax penalty. It would be bad management to be so narrowly over the limit and incur escalating penalties the next few seasons.