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Dodgers: The Many Off-Season Misses of Andrew Friedman

Andrew Friedman has never been one to pay for top free agents.

Dodgers

This is supposedly the off-season where the Dodgers and Andrew Friedman will finally pull the trigger on a prized free agent. 

If the 2019 free agency class were a Coachella lineup, this trifecta would be at or near the top. A pair of World Series champion teammates still in their prime, starter Stephen Strasburg and third baseman Anthony Rendon, and a 300 strikeout starter and Cy Young finalist who is just entering his peak production in Gerrit Cole.

Friedman and his team have shrewdly positioned themselves below the Competitive Balance Tax in preparation for the 2019 off-season. That doesn’t guarantee they’ll go all-in on a high priced free agent.

For a myriad of reasons, Friedman has never signed one of the top three highest paid free agents during his tenure. That trend may continue.

2015 Off-Season

    • David Price $217M/7 years Red Sox
    • Zack Greinke $206.5M/6 years Diamondbacks
    • Jason Hayward $184M/8 years Cubs

Dodgers

To borrow a golf term, Friedman was “inside the leather” on resigning Zack Greinke in 2015. Los Angeles was considered the front runner until the Arizona Diamondbacks swooped in with five and half hours remaining in free agency, upped the average annual value (AAV), and tacked on a sixth year. The Dodgers pulled a Pedro Baez and balked at matching the new numbers, and the next thing we knew, Greinke was off to the desert.

2016 Off-Season

    • Yoenis Cespedes $110M/4 years Mets
    • Aroldis Chapman $86M/5 years Yankees
    • Dexter Fowler $82.5/5 years Cardinals

Closer Kenley Jansen had just wrapped up his best season with the Dodgers and was re-signed for the fourth richest contract of the 2016 off-season. The front office had their misgivings about paying up for Arnolds Champman due to his off field issues on top of displacing a fan favorite in Jansen.

The perpetually crowded Los Angeles outfield didn’t need an expensive headache in Cespedes or Fowler. Plus, the Dodgers were excited about finally calling up some guy named Cody Bellinger for the 2017 season.

2017 Off-Season

    • Eric Hosmer $144M/8 Padres
    • Yu Darvish $126M/6 Cubs
    • J.D. Martinez $110M/5 Red Sox

Re-signing starter Yu Darvish would have been a tough sell to the Chavez faithful even at a reasonable price after a World Series meltdown for the ages. Of course, the Astros may have known every pitch Darvish was going to throw…if you haven’t heard.

Defensively challenged famed Dodger killer J.D. Martinez offered a tantalizing right-handed bat that could’ve made for a terrifying lineup.

2018 Off-Season

    • Bryce Harper $330M/13 years Phillies
    • Manny Machado $300M/10 yearsPadres
    • Patrick Corbin $140M/6 years Nationals

The Dodgers reportedly offered Harper a shorter term deal at $45 million per year, but both he and Manny “Johnny Hustle” Machado sought long term deals in excess of six years. The exact type of contracts that Friedman avoids like your mother-in-law at the Christmas dinner table. Fun fact, neither Harper, Machado, or Corbin were All-Stars in 2019.

Time and time again, Dodgers fans expect Friedman to whip out the checkbook at the Winter Meetings to get them over the championship hump. Despite the current state of the payroll, 2019 doesn’t feel like the year where Friedman breaks out of his 0 for 12 free agent slump.

Andrew Friedman Feels Team Can Make no Off-Season Moves and be Fine

Written by Eric Eulau

11 Comments

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  1. New day another day of not signing a big name player to help the Dodgers get to the winners circle. Freidman and Roberts have to go!

  2. Is it a failure if literally none of those too 3 contracts have really paid off?
    (JD Martinez is maybe the exception?)

  3. Aside from Greinke, maybe Chapman, I’m glad none of the other 10 guys were signed! Which ones are you sorry we supposedly “missed” out on?

  4. Folks, don’t get your hopes up, and there is another reason why Dodgers most likely do not get any top FA’s this year and that is these guys may simple see the Dodgers as not a good attractive place to play, and Robert’s in game management and handling of pitchers, especially in October is a big reason why IMHO. Plus you add in all that shuffling around of players and relving door of lineups just because of the hand the opposing pitcher throws with is another factor as to why many players don’t want to come here.

  5. Zero for twelve?…..

    more like 12 for 12. None of those signings have been worth the money.
    Although, I do wish they had sucked it up and gotten Chapman for the trade chip he would have been.

  6. I’m really confused. From that list, is there one guy that has lived up to the contract? Price? Grenke? Martinez? Even last years Machado and Harper seem like good decisions to pass on.
    I have no problem with “0-12” if they are the wrong 12. Maybe some of these guys will be worth the contracts, but we see the Red Sox trying to get out from under their big deals this winter. Grenkie didn’t help the Astros win the WS, but he has never been known for his whistling and garbage can skills.
    Of that entire list, only Harper seems like a miss, but then again, he left the Nats and they won the WS. Maybe that shows 4 guys making $5-8m a year cam have more value than one guy.

  7. I don’t believe that the article defends or attacks the Friedman’s policy of avoiding expensive long term contracts. The next question, obviously, is whether we should support such a policy as Dodgers fans. I wonder if there’s no correct answer to this question. I personally would prefer a lower risk strategy, winning pennants, and hopefully turning that long term success one year into a ring rather than tying money up in a fewer, potentially better players than we currently have had.

  8. The Dodgers will regret not getting Machado or Harper! They need a real star in today’s modern landscape.

    Friedman’s conservative approach has been refreshing in comparison to the previous regime, but he really missed on a securing a legitmate anchor for this team.

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