Coming off a season in which they won a franchise-record 106 games but suffered a disappointing exit in the National League Division Series, an expectation set in that the Los Angeles Dodgers would be more aggressive this offseason compared to years past.
Not only is there added motivation to bounce back from their shocking elimination, but the free agency class includes marquee talent in Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg. The Dodgers have been connected to all three free agents, in addition to Josh Donaldson and Hyun-Jin Ryu, among others.
The New York Yankees are also believed to have interest in Cole and Strasburg, and reportedly are preparing to make a record-breaking contract offer to the former.
Although the Dodgers have interest in Cole as well, they may also submit offers for Rendon and Strasburg, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan:
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ interest in Cole is acute as well, though they are also considering bids for right-hander Stephen Strasburg and third baseman Anthony Rendon, sources said.
With Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu potentially being lost in free agency, the Dodgers face the prospect of having a need for starting pitching. If the Yankees indeed make their aggressive bid for Cole, it could price the Dodgers out.
President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman historically has been against doling out long-term contracts that could limit a team’s flexibility. It could make Strasburg another unlikely candidate for the Dodgers.
However, indications are Rendon has some willingness to sign a contract that isn’t quite as long. L.A. reportedly attempted to entice Bryce Harper with a high average annual value to offset the lack of length.
The Dodgers presumably would be interested in presenting Rendon with the same offer. The 29-year-old reportedly rejected a seven-year, $210 million contract from the Washington Nationals during the season.
Owner Mark Lerner noted the financial commitment required to re-sign Rendon and Strasburg, and indicated the Nationals are unlikely to retain both players.
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