What Do The Dodgers Need to Do to Stay in Contention?


CBS Sports

With the loss of star shortstop Corey Seager and future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer, many fans have wondered if the Dodgers will still be competitive.

Justin T., Morgan C., and Sophia T.

The Los Angeles Dodgers failed to reach the World Series this past year, losing to the Braves in the NLCS. Going into free agency, the Dodgers had key players entering the market including Max Scherzer, Corey Seager, Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen and Chris Taylor. 

“Seager’s obviously meant a great deal to us looking back. And I think we have a pretty demonstrative track record with guys that we know well and have been with us. We’ll be aggressive to try to retain. That being said, we have a lot of other really talented players as well and a whole payroll to look at and manage. He’s a great player.” said Dodgers President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman. 

The problem with re-signing the star shortstop, Corey Seager, is how they would also pay Trea Turner. Both superstars want to play their primary position, shortstop. A key factor in the negotiation between Seager and the Dodgers revolved around his contract length. Seager wanted a 10-year deal, but typically L.A. does not give out lengthy contracts. On the evening of November 29, news broke out that the Texas Rangers and Corey Seager had agreed on a 10-year, $325 million contract. This left the Dodgers with a big hole in the infield. 

“The [Rangers] were very open and honest about how many games they’ve lost and where they are as an organization right now, and where their vision is,” Seager said. “And that’s something that we wanted to embrace. I love the work of it, the drive, the passion for the game, to do it the right way and have the right people. It always comes down to the people.”

Another major loss for the Dodgers this offseason was the departure of Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer. The 37-year-old and the New York Mets agreed on a 3-year $130 million contract, but the difference between the Dodgers’ and Mets’ offer was the third year. Scherzer and agent Scott Boras were looking for a deal to take the ace pitcher into his early 40s. And the Dodgers were unwilling to do so. On Friday morning, Jon Heyman revealed the Dodgers’ deal. Heyman said that L.A.’s offer was two years and about $36 million per year, $7 million short of the Mets deal. 

“But the Dodgers declined to offer Scherzer three guaranteed years. By Sunday evening, team officials were pessimistic,” said Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times. 

On the bright side, the Dodgers were successful in bringing back the All-Star super utility man Chris Taylor. Reported by the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, L.A. and Chris Taylor agreed on a 4-year $60 million contract with a fifth year option that would raise the contract to $73 million. After losing in on Seager, the Dodgers were forced to re-sign Taylor. Taylor, now 31, will likely be in Dodger blue for the remainder of his career. 

“Taylor gets 4/60 entering age 31 season, plus club option. His camp told other teams this [morning] that money wasn’t the driving factor. He wanted to stay with LAD,” said Ken Rosenthal. 

A player who the Dodgers have reportedly reached out to is former NL MVP Freddie Freeman. Announced by David Vassegh, Freeman is starting to grow impatient over contract negotiations with the Atlanta Braves. He also added that Freeman has the Dodgers next on his list if the Braves fail to offer him a contract near his asking price. Hypothetically, if the Dodgers were to sign the former MVP, they could either slot him in at the DH spot, or move over All-Star Max Muncy to second base. So, looking at the infield, L.A. would have Freeman at first, Muncy at second, Trea Turner at shortstop, and veteran Justin Turner at third. After losing in on Seager, Andrew Friedman may have another trick up his sleeve. 

“The Dodgers have now pivoted towards Orange County’s own Freddie Freeman,” said Vassegh. “They are engaged in talks right now. What makes this all the more interesting is that Freddie Freeman, from my understanding of people close to him, he has grown very impatient with the Atlanta Braves. Because the Atlanta Braves were taking the strategy of waiting to see where the market goes before offering him a contract.

Another name on the Dodgers list is the Platinum Glove winner Carlos Correa. Correa was more than likely to leave Houston at the beginning of free agency. In the Astros’ last home game, their fans saw Correa take a moment for himself in front of the crowd, signaling that this might be his last season in Houston. With the market slowing down and the lockout taking place, Correa reportedly is still in contact with the Astros. But one unexpected team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, may come into play. The question is if the Dodgers were to sign Correa, would  nbh the clubhouse or fans accept him after the sign-stealing scandal in 2017? Jon Heyman went on his podcast last week and announced that Correa narrowed down his teams to the Dodgers and Astros. However, former Cy-Young pitcher Trevor Bauer already spoke out about Correa possibly heading to L.A. 

“No mincing words,” Bauer told Correa that the Dodgers do not need him at all, because in his own words, his club “has a higher standard than other organizations.” 

Lastly, the biggest question is whether Dodgers legend Clayton Kershaw will resign or not. Kershaw told the Dodgers he is going to take his time with his decision to sign a new deal. The only other real contender for Kershaw may be his hometown Rangers. 

“I think the last time I talked to him about this was probably a year ago, or more, because he foresaw it coming,” said Van Slyke. “It’s something he’s been thinking about for a while.

All fans know the tricks Andrew Friedman has had up his sleeve in the past and are also well aware of how much money the Dodgers can spend. But will L.A. be able to get back on top with all the free agents they have? Only time will tell.