It was a relatively quiet offseason for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who passed on the idea of making a splashy trade or free-agent signing in favor of less-costly, depth-type signings. Though, that’s not to suggest there wasn’t some effort to reel in a big-name player.
The club was engaged in trade talks for reigning National League MVP and local product Giancarlo Stanton, but ultimately opted against such a move due to reluctance in assuming the majority of his record contract.
The Dodgers, confident in their depth, also allowed two high-profile right-handers in Yu Darvish and Brandon Morrow to depart for higher salaries with the Chicago Cubs. They reportedly extended a six-year contract offer to Darvish but it was contingent on shedding salary elsewhere.
Part of the reasoning for this philosophy was to enable the Dodgers to reset penalties by not exceeding the 2018 luxury tax threshold. That could ultimately pay dividends in the long run, especially with a stacked 2019 free agent class looming.
Though they didn’t land Stanton, the Dodgers also inquired on two other former Miami Marlins outfielders in Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. While trades were explored for each player, the front office decided that parting with the necessary prospects in either scenario was too rich, per Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
There were discussions with Miami about Marcel Ozuna and Christian Yelich, but the Dodgers judged the prospect cost required to get those players would not be worth it.
The Marlins, fully committed to a rebuild, eventually shipped out Ozuna and Yelich. The St. Louis Cardinals acquired the former, in exchange for four Minor Leaguers, including pitching prospect Sandy Alcantara.
The Brewers, meanwhile, landed Yelich for a similar haul of prospects. They parted with top positional prospect Lewis Brinson in the trade.
Despite missing out on the aforementioned names, the Dodgers wound up adding to their outfield mix in the form of Matt Kemp. The 33-year-old was reacquired from the Atlanta Braves as part of a five-player salary dump.
While Kemp wasn’t initially expected to remain in the organization, he earned a spot on the Opening Day roster and looks rejuvenated at the plate in the early going.