Though the Los Angeles Dodgers have regularly been linked to the sport’s top players in free agency over recent seasons, the major splash has yet to come. Thus far, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman’s most aggressive spending has come on re-signing Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner.
Brandon McCarthy was signed to a four-year, $48 million contract, but that didn’t pan out favorably for the team. Last winter, the Dodgers signed signed Joe Kelly (three years, $25 million) and A.J. Pollock ($55 million over four years, plus a player option for 2023).
Kelly’s addition was generally lauded as one that should aid a Dodgers bullpen that took its lumps in October. However, the signing of Pollock came after the club’s ill-fated pursuit of Bryce Harper.
Now L.A. is being linked to Washington Nationals All-Star Anthony Rendon, who figures to be one of the more sought after position players in free agency this year. The Dodgers’ interest in Rendon first publicly surfaced earlier this season.
Although Friedman and the Dodgers have a preference to avoid doling out the type of long-term contracts Harper and Manny Machado signed, there’s some belief Rendon would be willing to reach an agreement within those parameters, via Andy McCullough of The Athletic:
But two factors make possible a pursuit of Rendon: Members of the front office salivate over his ability, and there exists a perception in the sport that Rendon might be enticed to take the sort of short-term contract with record-breaking average annual value that Bryce Harper rejected from the Dodgers last winter.
As Harper sought long-term stability, the Dodgers reportedly offered the superstar outfielder a contract in the neighborhood of four years with a $45 million annual salary. Harper hit the open market weeks after turning 26 years old (now 27).
Rendon turned 29 in June, and is coming off his first career All-Star season. He tied a career high and led the National League with 44 doubles, in addition to leading the Majors with 144 RBI.
Rendon won a Silver Slugger Award and finished fifth in MVP voting in 2014, placed sixth in 2014 and 11th the following year.
Signing Rendon would require the Dodgers to move Justin Turner — likely to first base — and create a domino effect that sees Max Muncy slide over to second base. It’s of course where Gavin Lux finished the season playing and therefore would create a bit of a log jam.
Of course, that’s under the assumption the Dodgers do not trade from their group of position players to address other needs. Friedman did not explicitly commit to as much but it’s a scenario he also refused to rule out.
“We’re not closing the door on anything right now, and I think we have to go into it very open-minded and open to changing up the complexion a little bit,” Friedman said.