Thus far in free agency the Los Angeles Dodgers have largely been bystanders as they’ve focused on retooling the front office.
The Dodgers did extend a qualifying offer to Hanley Ramirez, which was more of a formality as it appears unlikely he’ll be re-signed. On Monday, the Dodgers lost out on Russell Martin, who they were believed to be interested in, though talks between the two parties reportedly never got serious.
With multiple marquee free agents still on the market, Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi is focused on making “good baseball decision” that would coincide with a large payroll. With the resources to pursue big names, Zaidi said it’s led to sleepless nights, according to ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
In my last job, I never had to lose any sleep wondering about whether to pursue a big-name free agent and there are sleepless nights now,” Zaidi said. “That’s the easiest way to say it. I don’t mean to be cavalier in saying that, but that’s sort of the reality. We have to think about everybody.”
Like Andrew Friedman, Zaidi joins the Dodgers after having spent his career with a small market team. Although Stan Kasten, Friedman and Zaidi have left the door open for the Dodgers to again carry a substantial payroll, the desired direction is decrease it.
Among the players available that would command a large contract, Jon Lester and Max Scherzer are the headliners. While the Dodgers were linked to Lester at the trading deadline, the same hasn’t been true during free agency.
The demand for Andrew Miller could lead to the reliever signing a lucrative contract and while the Dodgers need bullpen help, they haven’t been tied to the lefty. As players begin to sign new contracts, the market will unfold and with it should come more clarity on the team’s direction.