The Los Angeles Dodgers are but one day removed from winning their first World Series win since 1988, but with their Game 6 win, MLB free agency officially began Wednesday morning.
For the Dodgers that amounts to Pedro Baez, Kiké Hernandez, Jake McGee, Joc Pederson, Justin Turner, Blake Treinen and Alex Wood no longer being under contract with the team. Baez, Hernandez and Pederson are free agents for the first time in their respective careers.
Players are not permitted to sign a contract with a new team until five days after the World Series concluding. However, teams can speak with agents during that time.
Baez was among the Dodgers who did not report on time for Summer Camp, but unlike Kenley Jansen and AJ Pollock who both contracted coronavirus (COVID-19), the right-handed relief pitcher had to quarantine due to being exposed to a teammate that had tested positive.
Baez nonetheless was with the team come Opening Day, began to struggle in the middle of August and landed on the 10-day injured list due to a strained groin. He enjoyed a successful September and finished the regular season with two saves, a 3.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 18 games.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts again leaned on Baez throughout the postseason and that amounted to pitching in eight games. The last of which was Game 6 of the World Series, when Baez contributed to the Dodgers bullpen combining to throw 7.1 scoreless innings.
Considering the comfort level between the 32-year-old and the Dodgers, it would not be a surprise to see Baez re-signed.
That may also apply to Hernandez, who just completed a sixth season with the Dodgers. He was acquired from the Miami Marlins in one of president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman’s first trades after being hired by the Dodgers.
Hernandez .230/.270/.410 with eight doubles, five home runs and 20 RBI in 48 games this year. He again had a flare for the dramatic in the postseason, hitting a crucial home run in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series.
If there is anything blocking Hernandez re-signing with the Dodgers, it would be Chris Taylor avoiding arbitration by signing a two-year contract this past February, and the emergence of Zach McKinstry.
McGee signed with the Dodgers in July after being designated for assignment by the Colorado Rockies and clearing waivers. He found success behind increased fastball usage but fell down the bullpen depth chart come the postseason.
Pederson nearly saw his tenure with the Dodgers come to an end as he and Ross Stripling were poised to be traded to the L.A. Angels. The deal famously was contingent on the Dodgers first completing a three-team trade with the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins, which hit a delay.
The impasse reportedly frustrated Angels owner Arte Moreno, who then called off the agreed deal with the Dodgers. Pederson struggled throughout the regular season but shined when the lights were brightest.
He appeared in 16 games (10 starts) and hit .382/.432/.559 with two home runs and eight RBI. The likelihood of Pederson remaining with the Dodgers doesn’t appear to be high.
Turner is easily the club’s most prominent free agent this winter. Turner first joined L.A. on a Minor League deal in 2014, and he went on to become an All-Star and leader in the clubhouse and community.
Turner last was a free agent after the 2016 season, when he signed a four-year, $64 million contract to remain with the Dodgers.
Treinen’s one-year pact proved to be a key addition for the team this season. Just as envisioned, Treinen served as insurance to Kenley Jansen. He pitched in three consecutive games on three separate instances during the postseason.
Treinen’s final time doing so was to earn a save in Game 5 of the World Series. Afterward the veteran voiced his appreciation for the Dodgers organization providing him with that opportunity. Treinen had previously praised the front office’s commitment to get him healthy and productive beyond 2020.
Wood’s return to the Dodgers did not go as planned. He was named the fifth starter in the Opening Day rotation but only took the mound once before a lengthy stint on the IL due to left shoulder inflammation.
Wood was converted to a role out of the bullpen upon being reinstated during the first week of September. Although the 29-year-old reunited with the Dodgers to be a starter, he accepted and was understanding of the change.
After being left off the postseason roster for the Wild Card round and NL Division Series, Wood was active for the NLCS and World Series. He struck out three and pitched two perfect innings in relief during the Dodgers’ Game 6 clincher against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Turner’s positive tests clouds World Series celebration
With the Dodgers six outs from ending the franchise’s championship drought, Turner was oddly removed from the game. No explanation was given, and minutes after the game went final, Fox reported Turner had produced a positive COVID test result.
Shortly after, he thanked fans for their support and assured he was in good health. The Dodgers planned to conduct contract tracing once back at their team hotel inside the MLB bubble.
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