Dodgers News: Yu Darvish And Brandon Morrow Among 6 Players Not Under Contract As MLB Free Agency Begins
Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

The MLB calendar reached November for a second consecutive year, with the Houston Astros defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night in the first ever Game 7 of a World Series at Dodger Stadium. And with that, MLB free agency officially began Thursday at 6 a.m. PT.

For the Dodgers, that’s six players from their Major League roster in, Yu Darvish, Curtis Granderson, Franklin Gutierrez, Brandon Morrow, Chase Utley and Tony Watson, no longer being under contract. Darvish, Morrow, Utley and Watson were on the World Series roster.

Teams have an exclusive five-day window to re-sign their free agents. Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 7, players will be free to sign with any team. They are permitted to discuss contracts with other clubs prior to Tuesday.

Unlike last winter when the Dodgers had notable free agents they wished to re-sign in Rich Hill, Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner, there’s less clarity with this year’s bunch.

On the surface, Granderson and Gutierrez are likely locks to move on. The same may hold true for Utley after back-to-back seasons with the Dodgers on one-year contracts.

Acquired prior to the August waiver deadline, Granderson struggled mightily during his time with Los Angeles. He batted a lowly .161/.288/.366 with two doubles, seven home runs and 12 RBI over 36 regular-season games.

Granderson then went 1-for-15 with eight strikeouts in six playoff games (three starts), and was left off the World Series roster.

Gutierrez saw his season officially come to an end in early September. Prior to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts making the announcement, Gutierrez last played June 24. He spent two stints on the disabled list, with the second coming in June due to ankylosis spondylitis.

Appearing in 35 games (14 starts), Gutierrez hit .232/.317/.339 with three doubles, one home run and eight RBI in only 63 plate appearances. He signed a one-year contract with the club last February.

Back for another season in a role off the bench and to mentor Corey Seager, Utley failed to capitalize on his opportunities. He batted .236/.324/.405 with 20 doubles, eight home runs and 34 RBI in 127 games.

He went hitless in 15 at-bats over nine playoff games (four starts), reaching on two walks and one hit by pitch.

Morrow was a revelation for the team after being added to the roster in late May. It came prior to the date that would’ve allowed the right-hander to exercise an opt-out clause in his Minor League deal.

Morrow went 6-0 with a 2.06 ERA, 1.55 FIP, 0.92 WHIP, and 50 strikeouts in 43.2 innings over 45 games. Aside from a disastrous appearance in Game 5 of the World Series, the hard-throwing righty carried that success into the postseason.

The 33-year-old ultimately finished with a blown save and a 3.95 ERA in the playoffs. Morrow became just the second pitcher all-time to appear in seven World Series games in a single year. It’s not beyond reason to believe teams approach Morrow with lucrative contract offers.

Watson was one of two left-handed relievers — the other Tony Cingrani — acquired by the Dodgers prior to the non-waiver trade deadline. Watson went 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA, 3.86 FIP and 1.05 WHIP in 24 games for Los Angeles.

He may be a viable candidate to re-sign with the team, given Luis Avilan battled shoulder trouble that kept him out of the playoffs, Grant Dayton underwent Tommy John surgery, and Adam Liberatore coming off an injury-plagued year.

Despite his disappointing showings in the World Series, Darvish figures to be among the more sought-after pitchers in a weak market of starters. He was 4-3 with a 3.44 ERA, 3.38 FIP and 1.15 WHIP in nine regular-season starts for the Dodgers.

In the playoffs, Darvish went 2-2 with a 6.14 ERA. He was 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA following one start in each the National League Division Series and Championship Series. The Dodgers had a threshold of five years they were not willing to exceed to re-sign Zack Greinke, and may have a similar mark in mind with Darvish.