Dodgers Rumors: L.A. Focused On Free Agents As Opposed To Potential Trades
Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves in a difficult position on the eve of the Winter Meetings beginning, as they have multiple needs to address while simultaneously reducing payroll.

After lavish spending during the early days of Guggenheim Baseball Management’s tenure, the Dodgers have moved to shed salary over recent seasons, all the while remaining competitive. They nonetheless have led the Majors in payroll since the 2014 season.

Los Angeles’ desire to minimize how much they exceed the competitive balance (luxury tax) threshold is of further emphasis given the new collective bargaining agreement that runs through 2021.

That of course is easier said than done when considering Rich Hill, Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner are key free agents who don’t have a shortage of pursuers.

While the Dodgers have also been linked to multiple trade options, particularly involving second basemen, their focus is on free agency, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:

Although the Dodgers have been linked to Chris Sale since August, it appears unlikely they will part with the prospect-laden package the Chicago White Sox expect in return for their ace. The Atlanta Braves are thought to be leading the pack to acquire Sale.

Meanwhile, on Saturday it was reported teams interested in Hill believe he has a three-year agreement in place with the Dodgers. Los Angeles was said to have a hope of re-signing Hill as early as September.

Beyond the aforementioned trio of free agents, Joe Blanton and Chase Utley are among those no longer under contract with the Dodgers. The club reportedly has a strong interest in re-signing Utley, but it’s unclear if that would be as an everyday player.

Assuming Hill indeed is in the fold, the Dodgers may need to decide between re-signing Jansen or Turner. There aren’t readily available alternatives on the open market to replace the latter, while Mark Melancon may be a viable alternative to Jansen.