If you were hoping that Julio Urías' upcoming free agency would at least take him out of the NL West, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand has some rough news for you.
Scott Boras will be particularly dangerous this offseason, entering free agency with a 27-year-old left-hander whose star probably won't be obscured by Shohei Ohtani. If you want a 50-homer slugger and an eventual starter (and you happen to have $500 million at your disposal), Ohtani's your guy. If you need pitching help immediately in 2024, and want to front your rotation with a steadying force? Perhaps paying $225 million for Urías will be more your speed.
The Dodgers don't deal particularly well with Boras, outside of an outlier Hyun-Jin Ryu deal several eras ago. Despite a rotation that's entirely in flux, damaged by not one, not two, but three UCL procedures (Walker Buehler, Dustin May, now Tony Gonsolin), it would be safe to assume Ohtani, not Urías, would be more the Dodgers' speed.
That's fine with Boras, who seems likely to engage two of LA's chief rivals in the process. In Feinsand's free agent rankings (entering the month of September), he ranks Urías sixth, and predicts the Diamondbacks will be the leaders in the clubhouse for his services, with the Dodgers and Padres chasing behind.
Dodgers battling Diamondbacks, Padres in Julio Urías bidding
As Feinsand wrote (just after Urías' poor sixth inning led to LA's only loss in Boston):
"Urías emerged as one of the best young pitchers in the game between 2019-22, posting a 44-13 record with a 2.63 ERA in 111 games (81 starts), but a lackluster start to his season looked like it would hurt his free-agent prospects. A mid-May hamstring injury landed the lefty on the injured list for six weeks, but he’s looked like his old self since returning on July 1. Urías has had a pair of clunkers over his past nine starts, but the other seven were stellar, reminding us how good he can be. At age 27, Urías should command a hefty contract as one of the best starters on the market."- Mark Feinsand
The Dodgers' rotation is in a bizarre place, overflowing with farm talent without a single sure thing in place beyond 2023. History would dictate Urías will be departing (and potentially facing the Dodgers three or four times in 2024's balanced schedule). Clayton Kershaw will either return or head to Texas. Lance Lynn's 2024 option feels like a guaranteed pickup, especially in the wake of Tony Gonsolin's surgery. Buehler believes in himself, and we believe in him, too, but with a hefty degree of "second TJ" skepticism.
Bobby Miller might end up one slot in the rotation ahead of where he should be next season. Michael Grove, Gavin Stone, Emmet Sheehan, and Ryan Pepiot would all look better in trade packages than as No. 3 starters in LA next season.
The Dodgers will figure it out, whether Urías becomes their expensive centerpiece or in-division tormentor. It's safe to say, though, that their path to figuring it out has never looked muddier under Andrew Friedman.