Baseball is in a strange offseason filled with unknowns. One of those unknowns is what the budgets will be for all the teams. Given those factors, teams are believed to be less likely to offer contracts to some of their arbitration eligible players. With that, the wealthier teams like the Dodgers will have an opportunity to grab some players for just the cost of a contract. They won’t have to trade for them or give up any draft picks.
Last offseason, Blake Treinen was non-tendered by the A’s and the Dodgers came in and signed him. I wrote an article about looking to sign Treinen over a year ago and I’m glad he worked out. This article will take a look at five candidates that might be non-tendered and could be interesting for the Dodgers.
Needs For The Dodgers
From a previous Dodgers Nation article:
“Adding a reliever or two is something that we’re going to keep an eye on and kind of sift through. Really for us, it’s about identifying the talent in a vacuum but also then trying to get as many diversified looks as you can in the pen. This year, we really liked our pen and our pen was a big part of our success…and then I think a right-handed bat. With our positional versatility and flexibility, we have some options on where that possible could fit.” – Andrew Friedman on MLB Radio
As is well known, the Dodgers have seven free agents that played on the World Series roster. The pitchers are Pedro Baez, Treinen, Alex Wood and Jake McGee. There are three key position players that are free agents: Justin Turner, Enrique Hernandez and Joc Pederson.
Even without Pederson, the club is in good shape with left-handed hitters to fill in those at-bats. However, playoff Joctober would be tough to replace.
Additionally, if Turner or Hernandez leave, there would be a need for a right-handed bat. The only right-handed batter that is on the 40-man roster that was not on the playoff roster is DJ Peters. Other right-handed batters on the roster are Mookie Betts, AJ Pollock and Chris Taylor. Will Smith and Austin Barnes are right-handed hitting catchers while Keibert Ruiz is a switch-hitter.
Replacing Turner and Hernandez (or re-signing them) seems urgent.
The four free agent bullpen arms will also need to be addressed. The Dodgers are in a better position to replace some of them from the farm system but the non-tender market could provide some options.
Let’s take a look at five interesting non-tender candidates.
LHP Alex Claudio
It’s always desirable to have a strange throwing left-hander coming out of the bullpen and Alex Claudio fulfills that desire.
Alex Claudio’s changeup had the third-most absolute fade and the second most absolute drop in baseball last year. The fastball makes him only okay, but that change. #Brewers pic.twitter.com/ddEYPfcZnx
— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) December 14, 2018
He seems to be durable as he appeared in 83 games for the Brewers in 2019. Given the three batter minimum, Claudio is one of those guys you bring into a game with one out left to go in an inning. That was a strategy Dave Roberts used a lot in 2020. I’d much prefer to keep Alex Wood but I believe he will want an opportunity to start again.
INF Johan Camargo
As a possible replacement if Kiké Hernandez leaves, how about switch-hitter Johan Camargo from the Braves? His lifetime slash line against left-handed pitching is .237/.286/.506 (AVG/OBP/SLG). He can also play almost any position on the field. Let’s be honest, he will not be as good defensively as Kiké but he has some decent upside and is cheaper. One added bonus is he has two options remaining to be sent down to the minors.
— Kayla Anderson (@KaylaAndersonTV) August 24, 2020
DH Jose Martinez
There were rumors a couple years ago that the Dodgers were interested in righty slugger Jose Martinez. Now it looks like he can be had for a pretty low cost. He’s a defensive liability, so he’s more of a pinch hitting candidate or a designated hitter, if the universal DH returns in 2021.
Given Andrew Friedman’s desire to add a right-handed bat, the offensive upside at a likely small cost might make sense for LA.
3B Kris Bryant
It’s looking like more of a long shot that Kris Bryant would be non-tendered by the Cubs, but there is still a chance. If Turner doesn’t return then Bryant would be a nice option if he only costs money. I wrote extensively about Bryant recently. He seems like a prime bounce-back candidate and if he clicks again he could be a great addition.
Kris Bryant’s first Major League home run, for no particular reason. pic.twitter.com/09pEOaq7Gt
— Cub Style (@OldStyleChiTown) December 1, 2020
RHP Matt Barnes
Considering someone from the awful Red Sox bullpen seems strange but I would love to see the Dodgers coaching staff get ahold of Matt Barnes. He relies on a 95-96 MPH fastball and a plus curveball. After the 2017 season, he abandoned the slider but I’d like to see if that could be brought back. Over the last three years, he has an excellent strikeout rate but his walk rate is not good.
The non-tender players are just one option for filling in holes for the Dodgers. They did well last year with Blake Treinen and there are some interesting possibilities this season. However, I’d much prefer the team re-sign most of their own free agents. That may not be possible as some players want more playing time opportunities. The deadline for tendering a contract is Wednesday, December 2nd so make sure to keep your eyes on all the Dodgers Nation social media accounts for updates.
Do you have any non-tender candidates you like for the Dodgers? Please use the comments with your ideas.