After a day of giving thanks for all there is the Los Angeles Dodgers should be grateful for, it’s now time to turn the attention to the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.
Although the Dodgers still have one of the best rosters in baseball, they need to fill multiple holes on their team, which includes adding a starting shortstop and bolstering their outfield and pitching rotation.
Of course, the big-name players, such as Aaron Judge, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Justin Verlander and Jacob deGrom, are available and the Dodgers should be interested in all of them, but in the spirit of Black Friday, let’s take a look at some of the best value free agents available at their positions of need.
Although it would be nice for the Dodgers to land one of the premier shortstops, they could miss out on all of them; or they could sign Judge, in which case they will go cheaper in the middle infield.
If they do need a stopgap shortstop, Elvis Andrus has a case as the best of the bunch. He’s 34 years old, but coming off one of his best offensive seasons ever.
In 2022, Andrus hit .249/.303/.404 with 17 home runs, 18 stolen bases and a 105 wRC+ while also playing strong defense, which made him a 3.5 WAR player.
Andrus can’t be the Dodgers’ only offensive addition, like anyone else on this list, but he could be a solid option for a year if they decide to make a splash at another position.
If not for Mitch Haniger’s injury problems, he would be one of the top free agents available. Unfortunately for him, he has played more than 100 games in a season twice since his debut in 2016, which will prevent Haniger from signing a lucrative contract.
But that’s where the Dodgers can jump in. They have shown a willingness to sign potential impact players with injury problems in the past, such as Rich Hill, with the hope of having them healthy for the postseason.
In his career, Haniger has hit .261/.335/.476 with a 122 wRC+ and 112 home runs, and the only season he has been below a 107 wRC+ was his rookie year in 34 games. In 2021, he posted a 39-homer, 110-run and 100-RBI season while playing in 157 games.
When he’s healthy, Haniger has the potential to be an impact bat, and even if he doesn’t post those results again, he is still a quality hitter.
The Dodgers reportedly have expressed interest, and the cost to sign him isn’t going to be excessively high. Plus if Haniger does miss time with an injury, L.A. has enough depth to stay afloat, which makes him a near-perfect match for the club.
The Dodgers already know Andrew Heaney after having him on their roster this year, and they would be wise to bring him back.
The left-hander showed flashes of pitching like an ace and had one of the top strikeout-to-walk ratios in MLB at 29.4%. Heaney struggled with preventing home runs, but even with those troubles, he posted a 3.10 ERA and 3.75 FIP.
Although few free agents combine elite stuff and strong production like Heaney, teams may still be hesitant to pay him because of his injury history (he has not thrown more than 130 innings since 2018), and outside of 72.2 innings with the Dodgers, he has pitched more like a back of the rotation guy.
Still, there is no other pitcher on the market with the upside Heaney has that isn’t going to command a deal of more than $30 million annually. The Dodgers could potentially get that same value on a short-term deal for half the average annual cost.
The Dodgers also have the pitching depth with their prospects to fill in if Heaney does end up missing time again.
Zach Eflin, who you may recall was part of the Matt Kemp trade with the San Diego Padres and then flipped to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jimmy Rollins, has put together a solid career so far.
With a career ERA of 4.49 across parts of seven seasons, the right-hander isn’t going to be at the top of anyone’s wish list. However, some of his underlying numbers and his versatility make him an intriguing option for the Dodgers.
Over the past three seasons, Eflin has posted an expected ERA of 3.35 in 2020, 3.87 in 2021 and 3.27 in 2022. In addition, his FIP has been under 3.70 in each of those seasons, and he has limited walks well throughout his career, posting a 2.18 walks per nine.
Eflin has also shown some upside with a 28.6% strikeout rate in 2020, and in the postseason, he struck out 12 hitters in 10.2 innings while pitching out of the bullpen in high-leverage spots.
Eflin’s versatility to pitch out of the rotation or the bullpen could make him an incredibly valuable piece for the Dodgers while being in a role similar to how they previously utilized Kenta Maeda.
Alex Reyes was once one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, but has struggled to remain healthy. That has been a common theme throughout his career as he’s only thrown 145 innings since his debut in 2016, but he has also shown flashes of being one of the best relievers in the sport.
The Dodgers could potentially get Reyes on a Minor League deal, or a cheap Major League contract with a lot of incentives. For a 28-year-old who can touch the triple-digits with his fastball and closing experience along with a 2.86 career ERA, getting him under contract should be a no-brainer.
Reyes underwent shoulder surgery in May, and there’s no guarantee he’ll return to being an effective pitcher when he does come back, but high-upside plays for cheap are what the Dodgers love to do, and they could give him all the time he needs to recover for a potential postseason role.
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