The Los Angeles Dodgers strategically remained below the luxury tax threshold in two consecutive seasons, and with that were expected to be aggressive in free agency this winter. They were linked to Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg, who represented the top of the class.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman assured he had approval from ownership to spend however he saw fit in order to improve the club. Manager Dave Roberts said the Dodgers were more earnest in their pursuit of free agents this year when compared to previous cases.
Yet in the in the end it didn’t make a difference. Stephen Strasburg returned to the Washington Nationals, Cole joined the New York Yankees on a record contract, and Rendon signed with the L.A. Angels.
Although the Dodgers were linked to the All-Star third baseman, they reportedly never extended a contract offer due to a belief he was not interested in joining the team or fond of the city. During the Angels’ introductory press conference, Rendon essentially confirmed as much while attempting to compliment the franchise, via Fox Sports West
“Not necessarily we didn’t want to play for them. It was always a team we thought we’d consider just because the Dodgers are always in the postseason, they have a terrific team, they’re built to win and have a lot of great guys coming up in the organization. But in terms of just the way we heard about how the organization is, the Hollywood lifestyle and whatnot, it just didn’t seem like it would be a fit for us as a family.
“So nothing against them as an organization. We still loved meeting with them, just loved having those conversations, but in the end we did what we thought was best for our family.”
The Dodgers certainly are one of baseball’s marquee franchises and play under a spotlight that only the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Yankees can relate to. However, the team very much has a workmanlike approach and focus.
Furthermore, multiple players, including team leaders Clayton Kershaw and Justin Turner are active in the local community and hardly fit the bill of living any sort of glamorous lifestyle one might associate with Hollywood, which in general does not reflect Los Angeles as a whole.
Coincidentally, Turner approached the Dodgers and volunteered to move off third base if it would aid their effort in acquiring a player such as Rendon.
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