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Recent Contract Extensions Could Foil Dodgers’ Future Free Agency Plans

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 28: Andrew Friedman, President of Baseball Operations, and Stan Kasten, president, and part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers talk before the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Dodger Stadium on April 28, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

The Dodgers are typically active at each free agency period considering they consistently maintain one of the highest payrolls in Major League Baseball. 

As the club looks ahead to future off-seasons, the pool of true, impact players shrunk significantly in recent days. 

Recent Extensions

Here is a list of players who were potential 2020 free agents but have recently signed extensions: 

Nolan Arenado, Rockies (8 years, $260 million) 

Chris Sale, Red Sox (6 years, $160 million) 

Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals (5 years, $130 million) 

Justin Verlander, Astros (2 years, $66 million) 

Aaron Hicks, Yankees (7 years, $70 million) 

Miles Mikolas, Cardinals (4 years, $68 million) 

That list bodes some of the biggest and brightest stars in the majors. Although there are impact players in the current pool, the fact that those types of players could still sign extensions at some point looms over the Dodgers’ future free agency plans. 

Dodgers’ 2020 Free Agents

The Dodgers have their own share of possible free agents that would downsize their pitching staff: 

Kenley Jansen 

Rich Hill 

Hyun-Jin Ryu 

Cream of the Current 2020 Class

Here is a look at some other potential 2020 free agents that could be of interest to the Dodgers: 

Gerrit Cole, Astros 

Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox 

Anthony Rendon, Nationals 

JD Martinez, Red Sox 

Zack Wheeler, Mets 

Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals 

Yasiel Puig, Reds 

Khris Davis, A’s 

Scooter Gennett, Reds 

Dellin Betances, Yankees 

Nicholas Castellanos, Tigers 

Stephen Strasburg, Nationals (potentially) 

Madison Bumgarner, Giants (…) 


More at Dodgers Nation


Targets

Now, let’s hone in on a group of five guys the Dodgers should be heavily interested in the upcoming free agency period: 

Gerrit Cole, SP 

2018: 200 1/3 IP, 276 Ks, 2.88 ERA, 2.55 DRA, 2.70 FIP 

Career: 982 2/3 IP, 1010 Ks, 3.37 ERA, 3.18 DRA, 3.15 FIP 

His numbers are very strong and at age 28, Cole could be tendered a contract with similar value to the deal the Nationals gave Patrick Corbin this offseason (6 years, $140M) with an even higher total value. 

Contract Guess: 6 years, $150 million 

JD Martinez, OF 

2018: .330/.402/.629, 170 wRC+, 5.9 WAR 

2014-2018: .307/.371/.586, 154 wRC+, 21 WAR (670 games) 

He is still only 31 years old and has posted the 3rd-highest wRC+ in the last five seasons among all players with over 500 games played, behind only Mike Trout and Joey Votto. He also has well-documented strong ties to Robert Van Scoyoc. 

Contract Guess: 3 years, $93 million 

Scooter Gennett, 2B 

2018: .310/.357/.490, 125 wRC+, 4.5 WAR 

2017-2018: .303/.351/.508, 124 wRC+, 6.7 WAR 

At age 28, Gennett is still a candidate to maintain a solid level of production for at least a few more seasons. Over the past two seasons with Cincinnati, Gennett has posted the 3rd-highest wRC+ and 6th-highest WAR among qualified second basemen.  

Contract Guess: 4 years, $56 million 

Dellin Betances, RP 

2018: 66 2/3 IP, 115 Ks, 2.70 ERA, 2.15 DRA, 2.47 FIP 

Career: 381 IP, 619 Ks, 2.36 ERA, 2.39 DRA, 2.32 FIP 

Betances, a sneaky 31-year-old, is one of the true elite non-closers in baseball. He could act as a strong bridge to Kenley Jansen should the Dodgers retain him. Fun fact: Dellin Betances boasts the 3rd-highest strikeouts per nine in the history of baseball, only trailing Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel.  

Contract Guess: 3 years, $42 million 

Zack Wheeler, SP 

2018 totals: 182 1/3 IP, 179 Ks, 3.31 ERA, 3.01 DRA, 3.25 FIP 

2018 2nd Half: 75 IP, 73 Ks, 1.68 ERA, 2.53 FIP 

Wheeler is 28 years old and is finally delivering on his once top-prospect status. His second half was obviously elite and he could become a third ace for the Mets this season. He is not as established as the other four members of this list but he is a guy that could be of keen interest for LA. 

Contract Guess: 5 years, $90 million 

Future Flexibility

With the Dodgers financially flexible in the near future ($111.8 million in 2020 commitment and $89.1 million in 2021 commitment), they could choose to immerse themselves in the 2020 free agent market or a 2021 free agent class that includes Mookie Betts, Trevor Bauer, and potentially Giancarlo Stanton. They could also choose to allocate funds to current members of the team by locking up Corey Seager, Walker Buehler, or even Cody Bellinger long-term.

It is an way-too-early look at the financials, but the Dodgers could be in for a big offseason in 2020.

Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 18 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics and Broadcast Journalism dual major at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.

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  1. I don’t think the Dodgers planned to be big players in the free agent market at all. They have their players, their farm system and only need free agents to fill holes, not construct a roster.

  2. There should be a “potentially” next to Jansen’s name as he will have to opt out in order to be a free agent. Russell Martin and David Freese will be free agents after the 2019 World Series.

  3. I don’t believe the Dodgers will sign any high priced free agents from the 2019-2020 class. Dodgers starting pitchers in 2020 without Hill and Ryu: Kershaw, Buehler, Urias, Maeda, Striping all return with Ferguson, May, Gonsolin, and possibly White competing for a spot in the rotation. If Dodgers need another starter then look for Ryu, or Hill to be extended. More likely, Dodgers sign Seager and Bellinger to lucrative extensions well before free agency, perhaps a short extension for Jansen and Turner. With Lux likely ready to be the regular second baseman in 2020, then both Kiké Hernandez and Chris Taylor can play more outfield.

    • I agree with previous posts. Make sure Kenley stays then work around the edges. Lock down Corey and start extension talks with Redbeard. Got a feeling we do not need to go too far to keep Ryu either.

    • SoCalBum and Daniel completely agree with you. The Dodgers are taking the build from within strategy as Kasten has reiterated many times. Anyone that has watched the Spring Games or tracks the Minors should know that the Dodgers have amazing talent on the Farm especially in the Pitching area.

      I think depending on how they evaluate the 2019 season it is possible they decide to trade some pitching depth for a position player if they feel there is a lack of offense. The Dodgers were probably hoping to get a chance at Arenado or Goldschmidt but that is no longer in play.

      Watching May and Gonsolin showed the future and Urias looks improved in his strike throwing ability. I was very glad the team brought up and kept Kendrall as he has been reworking his swing. If that young man ever puts it together he could be an incredible talent. Same with DJ Peters if he can make contact more consistently then the future outfield is solidified.

      I think Lux, Downs, Rios and Estevez showed us they will be the guys pushing for slots in the future. Downs looks good and he is still young.

    • Great blogs by all. I hope Ryu is retained. Only room I see will be for a bullpen arm or two. Mostly a top tier situational lefty. Could see that happening at the trade deadline also.

      • They aren’t blogs, dieselfarts. They are comments. By the way I’m sure everyone feels complete now that you’ve given their comments your stamp of approval lol the almighty Rodney James dieselfarts has ova here

    • Extending HIll makes me wince, SoCal. I never like to put good money into a depreciating commodity. Go Blue!!!

      • Good day BLUE LOU and to all others here. Dodgers obviously have to see how 2019 is playing itself out before any FA possibilities can actually be talked about. I believe the pitching will take care of itself, barring too many unforeseen injuries. But if any FA hitter (an impact one at that) is to be sought after, that hitter needs to be a RHB to further balance out this lineup. I do like that even though the Angles switched to a LHP to start last night’s game Roberts kept his original lineup in there instead doing what he most likely would have done last year and let them play. And the LHB did pretty well.. However, I am not too sure that LHP was much more than a minor leaguer at best but it was great seeing Bellinger go deep against him and even Joc got a big 2 run double against him.

    • You nsiled it socslbum but if Jansen doesn’t get woke soon they won’t be extending him, adding another couple yrs on to Turners contract would be a good move.

  4. Gerrit Cole, Astros
    –Maybe, but I expect the Astros to extend him

    Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
    –We have a shortstop.

    Anthony Rendon, Nationals
    –We have a third baseman.

    JD Martinez, Red Sox
    –Can’t play defense.

    Zack Wheeler, Mets
    –Maybe, but we have pitching depth already.

    Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals
    –Already crowded outfield, presuming no one’s traded.

    Yasiel Puig, Reds
    –Um, no.

    Khris Davis, A’s
    –Can’t play defense.

    Scooter Gennett, Reds
    –I think one of the kids will play 2B. Lux?

    Dellin Betances, Yankees
    –Maybe… see above.

    Nicholas Castellanos, Tigers
    –Again, we have a crowded outfield.

    Stephen Strasburg, Nationals (potentially)
    –Maybe… see above.

    Madison Bumgarner, Giants (…)
    –The Giants would rather finish last than see him in Dodger blue.

    My opinion: build from within. Monster contracts like that given to Harper and Trout will only strangle their respective teams and –let’s count– despite their talents how many WS rings do they have? It’s a team game; a.k.a. spread the wealth among Seager, Bellinger and sooner than later Buehler.

    • Dellin Betances is the only one on that list I would go after–However the Yankess will pay him anything we would just to keep him-It would be HIS decision–50/50–very hard to call

  5. First I loved the Dodgers giving Kershaw an extention I would have added 2 yrs and actually less money–he probably would have taken it–That said Muchado 300 Million Harper 330 million and even Trout 430 million are all simply too much==Goldschmidt and Arrenados contract are just about max for me–The Dodgers did good NOT signing those players to me–keeping Turner Jansen Seager Walker & Cody should be our focus
    Odd the guy brings up Puig—He will probably have a very big year with the Reds–a hitters park-like 35 HRs 285 avg 120– RBIs and play 150 games–He wont be back–The Reds will keep him–If Ryu does well he will be back–Hill is a question mark-he would be 40 yrs old and no room for him–Urias could kill this year if he stays healthy–I like Verdugo Ruiz DJ Peters and Lux big time–Look if the Dodgers win it all and its possible they may not go after anyone—health and just progression will be the key–This will be a very interesting year—————-Go Go Go Dodgers!

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