With the offseason in full effect, the Los Angeles Dodgers have decisions to make on seven players who are free agents. The group is headlined by prized midseason acquisition Yu Darvish and Minor-League signee Brandon Morrow, who emerged as a dominant setup man this season.
Last offseason the Dodgers prioritized re-signing its three major free agents in Rich Hill, Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner. The club doesn’t have as many glaring needs on paper this time around, with the majority of the core in tact for the 2018 season and beyond.
A pair of Dodgers free agents in Darvish and Morrow, are projected by ZiPS to receive two of the largest contracts this season, per Dan Szymborski of ESPN.com:
ZiPS’ projected value: Three years, $29.2 million (A.A.V.: $9.73M)
ZiPS’ projected value: Six years, $156.6 million (A.A.V.: $26.1M)
By ZiPS’ model, Darvish is slated to land the biggest contract of the offseason. Given the relatively weak market for starting pitchers, that comes as no surprise, as the right-hander’s track record is only comparable to Chicago Cubs free agent Jake Arrieta.
In 186.2 innings pitched this season, Darvish posted a 3.86 ERA and 3.83 FIP between the Texas Rangers and Dodgers. He thrived in the National League Division and Championship Series before struggling in two World Series starts.
Longtime starting pitcher-turned reliever Morrow is tabbed for the 20th largest contract this offseason. He’s among the most retainable free agents for the Dodgers and recently expressed his desire to re-sign with the club.
Over 45 regular season appearances, Morrow pitched to a minuscule 2.06 ERA, 1.55 FIP and 0.92 WHIP in 43.2 innings, with 50 strikeouts to nine walks. He became just the second pitcher in MLB history to appear in all seven World Series games, and posted an overall 3.95 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 14 postseason games.