Major League Baseball’s annual Winter Meetings are underway in San Diego this week, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are among the teams that are expected to be active before Thursday or during the offseason.
Unlike previous offseasons, the free-agent market is moving a lot quicker this year, with Stephen Strasburg being the most recent marquee player to sign after inking a record-breaking contract to return to the Washington Nationals.
The Dodgers were linked to Strasburg as they look to improve on a team that won its seventh straight division title and a franchise-record 106 games but were defeated by his Nationals in the National League Division Series.
With Strasburg no longer available, the Dodgers have a variety of different options they could pivot to. Speaking from the Winter Meetings, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman narrowed down the list of potential acquisitions in free agency or trade, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Friedman said there are a dozen elite players he’s targeting.
“It’s a much more narrow group than it has been in some other years in my career,” Friedman said.
The two best free agents, Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon, are still available and the Dodgers have reportedly shown interest in both.
But ith Strasburg signing for seven years and $245 million, Cole’s contract is expected to approach $300 million, which may be out of the Dodgers’ comfort range. Both the New York Yankees and L.A. Angels covet Cole and seem willing to offer him the type of contract he is asking for.
It would be uncharacteristic of Friedman to get into a bidding war, especially for a pitcher, making Rendon the far more likely option. Nationals owner Mark Lerner recently indicated they would not be able to retain both Strasburg and Rendon, leaving the Texas Rangers as the only other known serious suitor in addition to L.A.
Even if the Dodgers don’t pony up for Rendon, there are still other solid options available on the free-agent market such as Josh Donaldson, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Blake Treinen.
L.A. also has the prospect capital and Major League depth to pull of a big trade. Francisco Lindor, Mookie Betts, Kris Bryant and Corey Kluber are all potential options that could be available this winter.
With so many options at his disposal, it is hard to imagine Friedman not making an impact move, whether it be during this week’s Winter Meetings, or later in the offseason.
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