To say the Los Angeles Dodgers were one of the most active teams during the 2014 offseason is not an understatement.
Not only did the 40-man roster see a complete makeover, but the entire front office was overhauled as well. Now that pitchers and catchers have reported to Camelback Ranch, it’s time to recap all of the major signings and trades that occurred during the busy winter months.
Technically, this wasn’t a free agent signing or trade, but it’s just too significant to ignore.
When the Dodgers hired Friedman, it sent shock waves through Major League Baseball. Friedman, arguably the most cost-efficient general manager in the sport for many years, left the small market Tampa Bay Rays to join the organization with the most resources.
During Friedman’s tenure with the Rays, he led them to four playoff appearances and one trip to the World Series while never having a payroll higher than $72.9 million. And now, he gets to operate the team with the highest payroll in MLB history. Talk about scary, right?
In addition to Friedman, the Dodgers also added Farhan Zaidi as general manager, senior vice president Josh Byrnes and director of amateur scouting Billy Gasparino, in what should be a powerhouse front office for many years to come.
Emotionally, this trade stung; especially after watching Kemp tear the cover off the ball on a nightly basis during the second half of last season. It appeared that his 2011 form was back for good, slashing .309/.365/.606 with 17 homeruns in just 64 games after the All-Star break.
The new regime obviously didn’t see it that way. They inevitably value defense just as much as they do offense, and that’s clearly a downside in Kemp’s game. The injury concerns, including the revelation of arthritic hips, also made the decision to trade him easier, particularly to a divisional rival.
Even though the Dodgers will be paying for most of his contract this season, the majority of his salary during his decline years will be covered by the Padres.
A spot in the outfield needed to be cleared for top prospect Joc Pederson, and there were no takers for Carl Crawford or Andre Ethier, so this was the only possible solution. At the end of the day, the Dodgers are getting back a catcher in Grandal with elite pitch framing skills and high offensive upside, though the PED-suspension and past knee injury are causes for concern.
Additionally, the Dodgers added depth to the starting rotation in Wieland and used Eflin in a separate trade to fill another hole on the roster.
CONTINUE READING: Grading Trades With The Angels, Phillies And Marlins