The morning after the Atlanta Braves won the 2021 World Series the Los Angeles Dodgers saw Danny Duffy, Cole Hamels, Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Knebel, Jimmy Nelson, Albert Pujols, Max Scherzer, Corey Seager, Steven Souza Jr. and Chris Taylor officially become free agents.
The group grew to include Joe Kelly when the Dodgers declined their $12 million team option for the 2022 season in favor of paying a $4 million buyout.
Prior to MLB free agency coming to a halt because of the ongoing lockout, the Dodgers were said to have interest in re-signing the likes of Jansen, Kelly, Kershaw, Scherzer and Seager. Of course, Scherzer went on to sign with the New York Mets, Seager joined the Texas Rangers, and Taylor was re-signed.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers had contact with external free agents as well, and manager Dave Roberts was part of their early recruiting efforts, per Andy McCullough of The Athletic:
“I might have been on the phone with a potential free agent to let him know how much we want to have him,” Roberts said. “I’ll leave it at that.”
While Roberts did not reveal which player he spoke to, the Dodgers have been connected to the likes of Carlos Correa, Freddie Freeman and Seiya Suzuki, among others.
It’s commonplace for a manager to be involved in a free agency meeting, and under normal circumstances, teams occasionally include an active player from the roster as well. The Dodgers additionally boast the benefit of having Hall of Fame point guard Magic Johnson part of their ownership group and available for recruiting purposes.
In this specific case, Roberts’ role lends further credence to an eventual contract extension being agreed to. Both he and Dodgers president of baseball operations have downplayed any concern with the 2022 season being the final year on Roberts’ current deal.
Dodgers’ needs in MLB free agency
Whenever the lockout ends, the Dodgers will need to canvas free agency and the trade market for starting pitching help and bench pieces.
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