This winter, they were linked to free agent starting pitcher Jon Lester, as well as to lesser extents Max Scherzer and James Shields. While they missed on Lester and Scherzer, Shields is still available. On the other hand, the Dodgers have been rumored to be the favorite to sign a top Cuban prospect, Yoan Moncada.
According to Peter Gammons, the Dodgers have their focus on only one thing right now:
Am told Dodger interest is Moncada and Olivera,ot Shields
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) February 5, 2015
The other name mentioned by Gammons is Hector Olivera, a 29-year-old second baseman that should be cleared by MLB in the coming weeks. Because of his age and number of season’s playing in Cuba, Olivera would become a normal free agent not subject to the international spending limits. Meanwhile, Moncada is a 19-year-old switch-hitting infielder that is expected to command at least $8 million for his signing bonus. He is subject to penalties if signed, including a dollar-for-dollar tax and a probationary period for signing players for over $300,000.
Moncada has worked out for the Dodgers in a private session that was attended by Andrew Friedman and Don Mattingly. While most teams would love to have a talent like the 19-year-old, the Dodgers are among the few favorites that would be able to afford and absorb the hit.
As for Shields, he recently stated a preference to pitch on the West Coast and he is expected that he makes a decision this week. The Dodgers haven’t been rumored to be interested in the right-hander, but speculation grew once he wasn’t signed because of the deep pockets in Los Angeles. General manager Farhan Zaidi and Mattingly have stated their comfortability with the rotation heading into Spring Training.
With just a couple weeks until pitchers and catchers report, the Dodgers could see even more changes made before then.