Despite assurances from president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman the Los Angeles Dodgers were in position to spend however they saw fit, and manager Dave Roberts describing their approach as being more aggressive than years past, free agency has been an unmitigated disaster.
The Dodgers had been connected to each of this winter’s top free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg — and missed on all three. Granted, Stephen Strasburg re-signing with the Washington Nationals was long considered the likely outcome.
The Dodgers reportedly were aggressive in their bidding for Cole, whom it’s believed their entire focus was on before he signed a record-breaking nine-year contract with the New York Yankees.
That left Anthony Rendon, but as of Wednesday afternoon the Dodgers reportedly were pessimistic over their odds of signing the All-Star third baseman. By the end of the night he agreed to a seven-year, $245 million deal with the L.A. Angels.
According to Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times, that transpired without the Dodgers so much as extending a contract offer to the 29-year-old:
The Dodgers didn’t make Anthony Rendon an offer, per sources. Their sense was he didn’t want to play in LA. Orange County apparently was a different story.
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) December 12, 2019
In some regard the Dodgers can fall back on having Justin Turner as their productive third baseman. However, he is entering the final year of his contract and already informed the front office moving to a different position would not be an issue.
Furthermore, in the wake of Rendon agreeing to a deal with the Angels, the Dodgers have reportedly shifted their focus to pursuing Josh Donaldson. While he enjoyed a bounce-back season in 2019, Rendon represented an opportunity to add one of the game’s premier right-handed hitters.
While L.A. may be able to sign Donaldson to a contract that is less than what Rendon received, they would need to forfeit a draft pick due to his declining the qualifying offer from the Atlanta Braves.
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