Although the Los Angeles Dodgers’ biggest need at the trading deadline wasn’t a starting pitcher, there were elite arms available that the Dodgers were linked to.
However, in order to land a Jon Lester or David Price, it likely would have cost the Dodgers at least one of their top prospects. The team made the decision to keep Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Julio Urias, and though it wasn’t reported at the time, Zach Lee out of trade talks.
Although the Dodgers held payroll over $240 million that led the Majors, the organization has indicated the free-spending wouldn’t necessarily be sustained moving forward. With Andrew Friedman now in the front office, it marked a significant step towards focusing on developing talent.
Team president and CEO, Stan Kasten, discussed the transition to building from within, via ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
Over time, we expect to become that homegrown, player development organization. We are on our way and, I think, along with that, with being homegrown with being younger, you end up with a payroll that’s less, but it’s never the payroll driving the decision. It never has been since we’ve been here. I’m not aware of constraints. The only constraint is trying to win with the best team we have.”
Pederson and Seager both won MVP honors in their respective leagues, and Urias was considered by some ready for time with the Dodgers this season. Pederson was one of the callups when rosters expanded in September and struggled at the plate in limited playing time.
Seager was promoted to Double-A after the All-Star break and essentially picked up where he left off with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. With the uncertainty of whether Hanley Ramirez and the Dodgers will agree on a new contract this winter, Seager figures to be a key component moving forward.
Under Frank McCourt, there was less of an emphasis placed on scouting and keeping players who were drafted. While progress in both areas has been made in recent years, the Dodgers still have plenty of work to do to restore the farm system that McCourt depleted.