Coming off their first World Series title in more than three decades, the Los Angeles Dodgers face a multitude of roster questions this offseason.
The club saw seven players in Pedro Baez, Kiké Hernández, Jake McGee, Joc Pederson, Blake Treinen, Justin Turner and Alex Wood reach free agency the morning after the World Series concluded. Jimmy Nelson was added to the list a couple of days later when L.A. declined his option for the 2021 season.
While it is unlikely to expect each player to return to the Dodgers next year, the club will still try to retain some combination of the group. The most obvious that comes to mind is Turner, who remains a valued leader in the clubhouse and productive player on the field.
As the aforementioned players mull over their options, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is hopeful the majority of them will return for the club’s title defense next season, via AM 570 L.A. Sports:
“We’ve reached out to each of our guys individually just to share the mindset and also encourage them to do that (see what opportunities might exist). I think over time they’ve all learned they may not love everything we say but they know we’re going to be honest and they know they can rely on that. We’re not trying to be cars salesmen to convince guys of things. I think that matters as they’re going through this.
“I think some of them have talked to some teams where maybe they feel there’s a bait and switch involved, but we’re allowing them some time to go through it and figure out what’s best for them and their family. If it happens to be somewhere else, that stinks it would be the end of that chapter, but we’ll wish them nothing but the best and they will forever be a major part of Dodger history.”
Of the Dodgers’ eight free agents, Turner has garnered the most interest so far. The Toronto Blue Jays are among the teams reportedly pursuing him as they look to add productive veteran players to their roster.
As for the least likely Dodgers free agent to return, many believe that player is Pederson. He was nearly traded to the L.A. Angels prior to the start of Spring Training, but the deal was reportedly nixed by owner Arte Moreno.
Dodgers reportedly focused on second-tier relief pitchers
In addition to working out new contracts with their own free agents, the Dodgers will look to bring in players from outside of the organization as well.
The current focus reportedly is on second-tier relief pitchers. In the event that one or both of Baez and Treinen sign elsewhere this winter, the Dodgers could turn to former Cleveland Indians closer Brad Hand.
The left-hander was a surprise addition to the free-agent market after the Indians placed him on waivers. Hand posted a 2.05 ERA with a league-leading 16 saves in 23 appearances this year.
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