The Los Angeles Dodgers pushed the 2017 season to its last possible day, ultimately falling short of capturing their first World Series championship in 29 years. There was little time for rest or reflection, however, as MLB free agency officially began the morning after Game 7.
There’s yet to be any significant traction, which may come during this week’s General Managers meetings, and certainly during the Winter Meetings in December. “We’ve got a lot of work to do to try and wrap our arms around the market, both on the trade front and free agents,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said at an end-of-season press conference.
The Dodgers have a total of seven free agents, which includes key contributors Yu Darvish and Brandon Morrow, and organization stalwart Andre Ethier.
“The guys that are free agents have earned the opportunity and right to go out and see what makes sense for them,” Friedman said.
Last winter, the Dodgers placed an emphasis on re-signing Rich Hill, Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner. Hill was the first domino to fall, then Turner agreed to return, and Jansen followed suit shortly thereafter. The combined cost for the Dodgers was $192 million.
While the club doesn’t project to approach a similar figure in this year’s free agency, Friedman does intend to operate in the same patient manner. “From a player’s standpoint, I think it’s really difficult for them to reach free agency,” he explained.
“And when they do, we think they’ve earned that right to go out and see what’s the most sense for them. Obviously, we have moving pieces on our end. I think the biggest thing is just communicating through it, talking through how things look for us.”
Friedman further implied the organization is more comfortable in doling out a substantial contract to a player they’ve become familiar with. He views the “emotional component” to re-signing a player as a positive.
“We know these guys, guys who have played for the Dodgers and been a big part of what we’ve done,” Friedman said.
“We get a much better feel and sense for how they prepare, how they compete, how they bounce back, etc. Whereas if you’re signing someone from another organization, or making a trade, we do as much diligence as we can, but it’s not the same.”