The Los Angeles Dodgers fell one win short of ending their 29-year World Series drought, but nevertheless enjoyed a historic season that featured multiple double-digit winning streaks and a Los Angeles franchise record 104 victories.
The club saw seven players reach the open market at the conclusion of the Fall Classic and must determine who fits in their long-term plans. Among the most prominent free agents are midseason acquisition Yu Darvish, Brandon Morrow and Tony Watson.
With most of the Dodgers’ young core in tact for the foreseeable future, the club will likely approach the free-agent period with a selective mindset. Unlike last season, there aren’t as many glaring needs that must be addressed.
Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi hinted that any sought-after improvements to the roster will need come in the form of elite talent, via Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
“We Just have a pretty well-balanced roster, where any improvements are going to likely have to come in the form of real-impact talent,” Zaidi said, “and that’s not easy to go after.”
Though the offseason is still in the early stages, there hasn’t been a shortage of Dodgers rumors on both the free-agent and trade front. The club is reportedly in the mix to acquire Miami Marlins superstar Giancarlo Stanton, though there hasn’t been much traction in those talks yet.
What’s more, the Dodgers are among the clubs to inquire on Baltimore Orioles star closer Zach Britton. Los Angeles attempted to acquire Britton at the non-waiver deadline before settling for a pair of southpaws in Tony Cingrani and Watson.
The Dodgers could ultimately bring back Darvish, though with such a weak market for starting pitching, he’s projected to sign a lucrative contract that may be beyond comfort. Depending on the price, the club could make a play for Chicago Cubs free agent Jake Arrieta as an alternative option.
The Nippon-Ham Fighters are also expected to make Shohei Otani available, if a posting system is put in place. Speaking in somewhat general terms, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said he was intrigued by the thought of managing and crafting a schedule for a two-way star.