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Dodgers: Prioritizing Potential Extensions for Walker Buehler, Cody Bellinger, & Corey Seager

If it comes down to the money, who stays and who goes?



The Dodgers enter the 2021 season as title favorites once again, and the future has never looked brighter. And with an increasingly younger roster, they aren’t just poised to be a contender next season. This team is here to stay and their farm system is nowhere near finished churning out game-changers.

When looking at the current roster, there are three names that stand out as the main core moving forward next to Mookie Betts: Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, and Walker Buehler. All three of these players are entering the prime of their careers and figure to demand a pay raise in the near future as well.

As a fan, it’s easy to think that it would be foolish not to sign all three of these players long term. But knowing that baseball is a business, we have to accept that this can’t always be the case. So for the sake of discussing hypothetical situations that we have no control over, let’s take a look at how the Dodgers should prioritize keeping their young core for the foreseeable future in the event that they can’t keep them all.

3. Cody Bellinger

The fact that Cody Bellinger is third on this list should tell you about the star talent of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 2019 NL MVP is only 25 years old and still has plenty of room to grow, but somehow it feels as if we’ve already seen his best whereas the best is yet to come for the other two on this list.

This is no knock on what Bellinger offers the Dodgers. His defense and versatility can not be overstated, and we’ve seen his offensive potential. 2020 was supposed to be the season where Cody cemented himself as a true top-5 player in the game, but the shortened season may have played a part in his lower production.

Bellinger is under contract for three more seasons before hitting unrestricted free agency in 2024. There is no reason why the Dodgers shouldn’t look to extend Cody before then, but there are two others who should be taken care of first.

2. Walker Buehler

We know who the future ace of the pitching staff is and his name is Walker Anthony Buehler. He is already LA’s best starter, but until Clayton Kershaw decides to hang up the cleats, Buehler will remain their number two guy.

The only reason that Buehler doesn’t hold the top spot on this list is that the Dodgers have a seemingly endless supply of frontline starting pitching. Even with Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, and Julio Urías claiming their places on the major league roster, you have the likes of Josiah Gray, Mitchell White, Bobby Miller, and Clayton Beeter just waiting for their opportunity. Having said that, however, it’s hard to see any of these pitchers being as dominant as Buehler has been in his short time in the majors.

Walker is currently under contract until 2024, but this is one player that the Dodgers shouldn’t allow anywhere near the open market. The moment that the two can agree on a number, I fully expect a deal to be made that will keep Buehler in Dodger blue for years to come.

1. Corey Seager

Had this question been asked prior to the 2020 season, Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger would likely have traded places on this list. In fact, many were ready to ship him out for Francisco Lindor without a second thought.

Many had given up on Corey’s future in LA after a series of injuries sidelined him for most of the 2018 season, but the last two seasons have brought back memories of what folks around baseball knew he was capable of.

2019 was an important stepping stone for Corey to show that he could remain healthy, but 2020 was the breakout season that he had been waiting for. After posting back to back All-Star seasons in 2016 and 2017, it was important for the young shortstop to show that he could get back to that level. Corey is still only 26 and his future appears to be heading back in the right direction. With 2021 being the final year under contract with LA, the time to make an extension happen is now.

The job is easy for the Dodgers here: hand Corey a blank check and let him dictate the terms of the deal. The fact that he is a Scott Boras client complicates things a bit, but there should be motivation on both sides to get a sizeable contract signed.

Final Thoughts

Assuming that the Dodgers could only sign two of their superstars to long term extensions, my preference would go to keeping Buehler and Seager. And according to a poll run by our own Brian Robitaille, a majority of fans feel the same way.

In all likelihood, the Dodgers will aim to keep all three of these guys going forward. They have the financial flexibility to do so as long as they don’t bring in another big contract, such as their rumored link to Nolan Arenado.

The Dodgers are one of the wealthiest franchises in all of sports, but even they have to pick and choose what or who to spend on. Lucky for them, they don’t have to go out and search for another star. The future is already on the roster and waiting for their turn to cash in.

NEXT: MLB Writer Assembles Hypothetical Francisco Lindor Trade Package for LA

Written by Daniel Palma

Daniel is an avid sports fan who loves his hometown teams. If he's not watching baseball, you can find him playing or coaching. No matter what, he'll always root for the Boys in Blue!

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  1. They actually could sign all three but they’re greedy. Ownership came in as billionaires and have only gotten richer. No excuses

  2. The Dodgers have one of the richest TV contracts in the game, they draw the highest attendance (pre-covid), —they have to resources to sign all three and should. Yeah, they’ll have to pass on Arenado and Lindor as much as it would great to have either of them and instead look outside for bull-pen arms and a right handed bat.

    • Buehler and Seager are must sign guys. Bellinger has to rediscover his swing or accept something far less than MVP money.

  3. I agree with signing Seager and Buehler over Bellinger–however, durability is on Bellinger’s side. Both Seager and Buehler have injury histories–which could come back and bit the Dodgers. Still, Bellinger’s history has shown he shows up at the plate every other year and his playoff performances have been dismal. I guess you gamble with consistency over availability at this point.

    • Wrong,buhler couldn’t pitch with 3 days rest,Urias was the best pitcher in post season and pitch the most important innings and was lights out with only 2 days rest,so no buhler not the ace as he takes 2 months to warm up when season starts and Julio will be free like Seager and must be sign or dodgers can make same mistake like they did with Pedro Martinez,remember him.Just Robert’s has to let Barnes be Julio’s catcher too and we’ll see who’s the Ace.

  4. Complete recency bias. This time last year many were saying Seager should be moved. No doubt in my mind Belli has a much higher ceiling than Seager. He and Buehler should be the priorities in my mind. Seager will have to be moved from short soon, while Belli is a gold glove talent in center, right and first. Just as an off year by Seager last year led to him being undervalued, the same is currently happening with Belli. When this list is revisited next year, I believe Belli will again be #1.

  5. This off-season is likely the Dodgers’ best shot at extending Seager for two reasons that even obnoxious Boras can’t ignore: his injury history and the number of exceptional SSs that reach free agency with him next year. If he’s allowed to play without extension next year and puts up big numbers, it becomes unlikely.

  6. I really hope the Dodgers don’t outsmart themselves and keep ARBing guys like Seager, Buehler, and Bellinger, followed by others. Just because you have control for a couple more years doesn’t mean you should. Otherwise, you end up signing a guy for a long-term contract when he’s around 30. What do you expect to get out of the guy at the end of that contract?

    These guys are in their prime. Pay them for their prime years then you can go “Justin Turner” on them when they get older and possibly less productive with 1-2 year deals…

  7. Gotta be careful about having too many underpaid guys, if they don’t get their money from you they’ll get it from Vegas and let’s just say it’s easier to bet on yourself to lose than win

  8. The way I look at this situation, the best option for the Dodgers is trade all three of these players now. They just won the World Series, there is nothing else left to prove, they’ve all peaked, now it’s the best time to rebuild and trade Seager, Buehler, and Bellinger when their values are still high. Dodgers can get at least 3 good prospects for each player, that’s 9 premium prospects total, you can’t get that even through the draft. Plus Dodger fans should be satisfied, the organization went all out to spend money on Mookie Betts, that’s commitment, Dodgers owe nothing to the fans, the team needs to start saving money.

    1. Ship Seager to New York Mets – new owner there under a lot of pressure to win now, they will do anything to get a World Series MVP.
    2. Send Walker Buehler to the Marlins – Kim Ng would be delighted to do business with her former team, especially getting a top ace in return. Marlins have the 4th best farm systems in MLB, Friedman can pretty pick and choose whoever he likes.
    3. Cody Bellinger to the Rays – yes, trade Bellinger to the team he just beat in the World Series. Joe Buck on Fox commented during the World Series telecast, that Bellinger’s swing will deteriorate as he age, because it requires so much body torque, so in a few years Bellinger will evolve from a power hitter to a contact hitter, instead of waiting for his power to drop, get rid of him now. Rays have the best minor league prospects in the majors, this is a win win situation for both teams.

    Before all you Dodger fans chew me up, think about this with rationale, it makes financial sense for the team, and solidifies the future, you will all thank me a year from now when these three trades materialize.

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