After recent years of laying low on the free agent market, this is finally the year the Dodgers are poised to make a splash. They’ve been linked to some of the top free agents available such as Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasberg, and Gerrit Cole. If that doesn’t work out, they can still trade for guys like Mookie Betts or Francisco Lindor. This off-season should be different than years past.
The only thing is, that’s what people have been saying for the past few off-seasons now. Bill Plunkett, in his latest column for the OC Register, reminds us that we’ve seen the exact scenario play out for the last three years now.
Winter Meetings preview: The #Dodgers star in offseason speculation every winter. With the payroll under control and a strong farm system, maybe this is the year they make it come truehttps://t.co/XwGiAPCZWW
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) December 7, 2019
Plunkett reminds Dodger fans of last year when the Dodgers were locks to either sign Bryce Harper or trade for JT Realmuto and Corey Kluber.
The same thing happened in 2017 when the Dodgers were in the running for Shohei Ohtani and linked to trades for Giancarlo Stanton or Christian Yelich.
Plunkett noted that the last time the Dodgers signed a marquee free agent was when former GM Ned Colletti signed Zack Greinke in 2012. Andrew Friedman’s biggest off-season acquisition? Yasmani Grandal in 2014.
We know the Dodgers and Friedman have had no problem going all-out for their own free agents, notably re-signing Rich Hill, Kenley Jansen, and Justin Turner to big extensions after the 2016 season, but they have yet to land a top free agent.
Friedman told Plunkett that while he isn’t opposed to any form of acquiring players, he feels it is “important to maintain some discipline” to find the best deal for the team.
“I think for us, and I know it sounds like a cliché, but we really don’t have any hard-and-fast rules. We’re not opposed to any form of player acquisition. I think it’s just important to maintain some discipline whether it’s on the trade front or the free-agent market to find what works best for us.”
But Plunkett pointed out that just three years ago, Friedman said the exact opposite.
“If you’re always rational about every free agent, then you will finish third on every free agent,” Friedman said in 2016.
So like the veteran writer said, it’s not a question of if the Dodgers can make a move, the real question is are the Dodgers — specifically Andrew Friedman — willing to take a risk on the free agent or trade market?