What had been expected for months unfortunately became a reality late Wednesday night as Major League Baseball and the Players Association failed to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement.
It resulted in team owners imposing the fourth lockout in the sport’s history. The work stoppage has halted Major League player activity for the foreseeable future, including free agency, trades and the use of team facilities. MLB also removed the images of active players from their official website as they are not allowed to promote them during the down period.
For the Los Angeles Dodgers, their offseason to this point has consisted of signing Andrew Heaney and Daniel Hudson to one-year contracts, and bringing back Chris Taylor on a four-year deal.
Heaney and Hudson represent modest upgrades to a pitching staff that was expected to be a primary focus this winter. That figures to be the case going forward as Max Scherzer and Corey Knebel have departed in free agency, while the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen and Joe Kelly remain on the open market.
Whenever business resumes, L.A. could look to re-sign any of the aforementioned players, or turn to the free agent and trade markets for potential replacements.
As for the position player group, the Dodgers find themselves in much better shape. Even without Seager in the picture at shortstop, the club can simply fill the void by moving Trea Turner back to his original position.
While that would appear to be the most probable outcome, the club reportedly was one of five teams to reach out to Carlos Correa before the lockdown. There are several obstacles to a possible signing, however, including the 27-year-old’s asking price, draft compensation attached to him and his history with the organization.
Another bold move the Dodgers can make to improve their lineup is signing longtime Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. The 2020 National League MVP surprisingly did not work out a new contract before the work stoppage, which could open the door for other teams to pursue him.
Freeman would be a great fit in L.A., particularly with Seager leaving for the Rangers and Max Muncy slowly recovering from a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his left elbow. But like with Correa, a potential signing would cost the Dodgers draft picks and international bonus pool money.
The Dodgers also are believed to have interest in signing outfielder Seiya Suzuki, who was posted by Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball last month. Though, his arrival to MLB will be delayed due to the lockout.
MLB outlines guidelines for rehabbing players during lockout
While players are not permitted to use team facilities during the lockout, an exception will be made to those still rehabbing injuries.
For the Dodgers, this applies to Dustin May, Caleb Ferguson and Tommy Kahnle, along with Edwin Rios, who all have been rehabbing from surgery and should return at some point during the 2022 season.
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