While other NL powers loaded up during the offseason, the Dodgers had a comparatively quiet winter that focused more on shorter-term contracts.
Major League Signings
- Clayton Kershaw, SP: One year, $20MM
- Noah Syndergaard, SP: One year, $13MM
- J.D. Martinez, OF/DH: One year, $10MM
- David Peralta, OF: One year, $6.5MM
- Shelby Miller, RP: One year, $1.5MM
- Jimmy Nelson, RP: One year, $1.2MM
- Alex Reyes, RP: One year, $1.1MM (Dodgers hold $3MM club option for 2024, $100K buyout)
2023 spending: $53.3MM
Total spending: $53.3MM
- Declined $16MM club option on IF Justin Turner ($2MM buyout)
- Declined $7MM club option on SP Danny Duffy
- Declined $2MM club option on IF Hanser Alberto ($250K buyout)
- (Declined $1.1MM club option on Jimmy Nelson, but then re-signed Nelson to a new MLB deal.)
Trades & Claims
- Acquired SS Miguel Rojas from Marlins for SS Jacob Amaya
- Acquired RP J.P. Feyereisen from Rays for minor league RP Jeff Belge
- Acquired IF Yonny Hernandez from Athletics for cash considerations
- Claimed RP Jake Reed off waivers from Red Sox
Notable Minor League Signings
- Jason Heyward, Robbie Erlin, Luke Williams, Steven Duggar, Adam Kolarek, Bradley Zimmer, Matt Andriese, Patrick Mazeika, David Freitas, Wander Suero, Tyler Cyr, Tayler Scott, James Jones, Dylan Covey, Yusniel Diaz, Rubby De La Rosa
- Tony Gonsolin, SP: Two years, $6.65MM
- Miguel Rojas, SS: One year, $6MM in new money (Dodgers hold $5MM club option for 2025, $1MM buyout)
- Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, Tyler Anderson, Craig Kimbrel, Chris Martin, Andrew Heaney, Joey Gallo, Edwin Rios, Tommy Kahnle, Kevin Pillar, Trevor Bauer, Duffy, Alberto, David Price (won’t pitch in 2023)
The Dodgers have already been dealt a pair of significant injury blows in Spring Training, between Tony Gonsolin’s ankle sprain and the much larger-scale problem of Gavin Lux’s season-ending ACL tear. These injuries only added to a general sense of unease within the L.A. fanbase, considering that in the aftermath of another playoff disappointment, the Dodgers took a pretty conservative approach to reloading for the 2023 season.
To this end, Dodgers fans might take solace in the fact that there might still be a gap between their team and the rest of the National League, considering that Los Angeles won 111 games last season. The team’s apparent (and now abandoned) plan to get under the Competitive Balance Tax threshold and reset its penalty status isn’t exactly a new strategy for the Dodgers, considering they didn’t pay any luxury tax in any of the 2018-20 seasons. Plus, the standard winter plan for president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has been to take things relatively slow in the offseason apart from perhaps one major addition, i.e. signing Freddie Freeman in 2021-22, signing Trevor Bauer in 2020-21, or trading for Mookie Betts in 2019-20.
This offseason simply lacked that one headline-grabbing move, though it isn’t as if Los Angeles didn’t make some explorations. The club reportedly had some level of interest in such marquee free agents as Justin Verlander, Xander Bogaerts, Dansby Swanson, Carlos Rodon, and even Aaron Judge, as well as other notable free agent and trade targets like Andrew McCutchen, Seth Lugo, the Brewers’ Willy Adames, and Kolten Wong (who ended up dealt from the Brewers to the Mariners).
Of course, the Dodgers’ financial strength and farm system depth can allow them to at least consider pretty much any player in baseball, and it could be that some of those pursuits were simple due diligence. The end result of the Dodgers’ winter machinations was a series of short-term signings, as L.A. didn’t give any free agent beyond one guaranteed year. Shortstop Miguel Rojas was signed to a contract extension soon after being acquired from the Marlins, but even that deal is only guaranteed through the 2024 season.
Rojas joins Betts, Freeman, Gonsolin, Austin Barnes, and Chris Taylor as the only Dodgers officially under contract for the 2024 season, and Betts, Freeman and Taylor are the only players on the books for 2025 and beyond. As such, Los Angeles could possibly look to reset its luxury tax status next winter, though it’ll be a bit trickier for Friedman since he’ll have to navigate a plethora of club option decisions, as well as deciding whether or not to try and re-sign any of this year’s free agent additions, plus Julio Urias’ impending entry into free agency.
Bauer’s situation was undoubtedly a major factor in the Dodgers’ approach to the 2022-23 offseason. The league issued Bauer a 324-game suspension last April under the MLB/MLBPA joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse policy, and after Bauer appealed the decision, an neutral arbitrator reduced the suspension to 194 games. This covered the time Bauer had already missed, and thus he was reinstated from suspension and his remaining $22.5MM in salary was returned to the Dodgers’ payroll. (The Dodgers released Bauer within a few weeks of the arbitrator’s ruling, but naturally the team is still obligated to pay the money owed.) Since the club’s estimated luxury tax number is roughly $245.1MM, Los Angeles would have been under the $233MM tax threshold with room to spare without Bauer’s salary on the books.
With this financial outlook in mind, Kershaw and Jimmy Nelson were the only members of the Dodgers’ lengthy free agent list to return to Chavez Ravine, as the team saw Trea Turner, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, Chris Martin, and Tommy Kahnle all head elsewhere on multi-year contracts. The Dodgers also added to their list of free agents with some notable non-tenders and declined club options, most notably Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner.
Los Angeles’ focus on filling those roster holes was split into two fronts. Firstly, the Dodgers are eager to see what they have in a wide array of big league-ready young talent. Miguel Vargas is slated to be the club’s regular second baseman, as the former top prospect has nothing left to prove at the Triple-A level. James Outman figures to be part of the outfield picture at some point this season, if perhaps not on the Opening Day roster. Ryan Pepiot and Michael Grove are competing to see who earns a rotation spot in Gonsolin’s absence, and pitching prospects Bobby Miller and Gavin Stone are also on the verge of debuting in the majors. Other top-100 prospects like Michael Busch and Andy Pages could also be in the big leagues before 2023 is over, and the Dodgers also picked up an interesting young player from outside the organization in utilityman Yonny Hernandez.
Many teams would be excited to have just one or two of those prospects ready to step up, so the Dodgers’ deep minor league pipeline is something of an embarrassment of riches for a big-market club that is also willing to spend. Rather than put too much pressure on the youngsters, Los Angeles augmented the roster with some veteran names that might prove a more immediate benefit in 2023.
The Dodgers seemingly kept up hope that they could re-sign Justin Turner for much of the winter, but ultimately pivoted to another experienced former All-Star in J.D. Martinez. As pretty much a DH-only player at this point in his career, Martinez’s lack of versatility is a bit of a departure from the Dodgers’ usual model of player acquisition, yet the team is hopeful that Martinez can get fully on track after his power numbers dipped with the Red Sox last season. Even with a lack of slugging, Martinez still provided Boston with above-average (119 wRC+) production while hitting .274/.341/.448 over 596 plate appearances.
While Bellinger’s precipitous dropoff at the plate had already turned the former NL MVP into more of a platoon player, Los Angeles still needed to replace Bellinger’s strong defense and bolster the outfield depth on the whole. In signing Peralta and Heyward, the Dodgers added a pair of left-handed hitters to balance out the lineup, with Peralta probably more of an offense-focused signing while Heyward brings the glovework. Peralta projects as the regular left fielder against right-handed pitching, whereas Heyward’s playing time figures to hinge on how much the Dodgers are willing to play him in center field when Trayce Thompson is out of the lineup, or how much time Heyward might get in his customary right field spot if Betts is being used at second base. The versatile Taylor will also get playing time in both the outfield and infield, at multiple positions.
Lux’s injury was a massive blow for many reasons, most obviously because an up-and-coming young player has had his career sidetracked for an entire year. The Dodgers were confident enough in Lux’s ability to become the everyday shortstop that they didn’t make much of an effort to re-sign Trea Turner, nor did the team make too deep an incursion into the free agent shortstop market (apart from checking in on Bogaerts and Swanson). With Rojas acquired from the Marlins to provide some more depth, Los Angeles was ready to give Lux a full opportunity to establish himself as an everyday big league shortstop.
With the worst-case scenario now visited upon Lux and the Dodgers, Rojas has been thrust into everyday duty. It certainly isn’t an unfamiliar spot for Rojas given his years of experience in Miami, and if he continues to deliver his usual strong defense, the Dodgers might be okay with Rojas’ inconsistent bat considering the offense elsewhere in the regular lineup. Taylor and Hernandez can also chip in at shortstop if needed, but this also stands out as a position where the Dodgers could add some outside help. Spring Training is “not the most natural time to make a trade,” Friedman recently noted to media, but speculatively, L.A. might look to target shortstops at the trade deadline if Rojas and company can hold the fort until midseason.
On the pitching side, the rotation still looks strong even with Gonsolin is temporarily out of action. Assuming Pepiot or Grove can capably fill in as the fifth starter, Los Angeles has Urias, Dustin May in his full-season return after Tommy John surgery, franchise icon Kershaw, and newcomer Noah Syndergaard in the top four.
Though it took close to a month for Kershaw to officially re-sign with the Dodgers after news broke of his agreement with the team, there wasn’t much mystery about his latest free agent venture, as Kershaw pretty quickly agreed to return for his 16th season in Los Angeles. Because Kershaw is entering his age-35 season and has such a lengthy injury history, he can’t be considered an entirely sure thing, yet Kershaw has established a pretty clear “new normal” for himself at this stage in his career. The southpaw has been limited to 22 starts in each of the last two seasons due to wear-and-tear types of injuries, yet when Kershaw has pitched, he has still looked like a front-of-the-rotation arm.
Anderson posted outstanding numbers in his one season in Los Angeles, but while Syndergaard isn’t being counted on to truly replace Anderson, Syndergaard would naturally love to follow that model of a career resurgence. While the righty had a solid 3.94 ERA over 134 2/3 innings with the Angels and Phillies in 2022, Syndergaard is hoping for more now that he is more fully removed from the Tommy John surgery that cost him virtually all of the 2020-21 seasons. It remains to be seen if Syndergaard can get back to his past All-Star level from his days with the Mets, but such a scenario can’t be ruled out given the Dodgers’ past success at getting veteran pitchers on track.
L.A. mostly stood pat with its relief corps, at least in the short term. The acquisitions of Alex Reyes and J.P. Feyereisen are longer-term upside plays for later in the 2023 season, since both pitchers are recovering from shoulder surgeries. Nelson also missed all of 2022 due to TJ surgery, but the Dodgers were confident enough in his ability to return that Nelson was re-signed to a new guaranteed big league deal. Los Angeles also gave Shelby Miller a one-year MLB deal in the hopes that Miller can finally establish himself as a relief pitcher, despite Miller’s lack of results or even playing time at the Major League level in recent years.
While these signings may look uninspiring, an argument can be made that the Dodgers didn’t need to do much beyond tinker with a bullpen that was one of the league’s best in 2022. Seeing who (if anyone) steps into a full-time closer role will be an interesting story to watch as the season progresses, and the Dodgers figure to be somewhat fluid with their bullpen mix depending on whether any of the rotation prospects end up debuting as relievers, or if trade possibilities emerge.
That kind of wait-and-see element might extend to the roster as a whole, as the front office has shown in the past that it will be aggressive in making in-season moves, whether it’s lower-level pickups or trade deadline blockbusters. It could be that Friedman will save the “one headline-grabbing move” for the deadline, when the Dodgers have a better idea of their needs, how the younger players are fitting in, and what veterans have or haven’t contributed. There is some risk in this strategy, but these are the risks an 111-win team can afford to make considering that it seems quite unlikely that the Dodgers will fall out of the playoff race.
How would you grade the Dodgers’ offseason? (poll link for app users)
The Dodgers are doing the right thing by taking a step back in 2023.
But with their pitching they may win the NLW anyway.
C Yards Jeff
The J Urias situation looks tricky. Sure LA wants to extend him and now but with Boras as his agent he’s in JU’s ear telling him to test market after the
C Yards Jeff;
I’ve always been intrigued with the buzzwords: “He wants to test the market”.
I think Mr. Boras came up with that many years ago. Too many guys were saying stupid things such as: “I have to do what’s best for my family” as they turned down $100m contracts for the team they were playing for that in a city they said they loved.
It’s much classier than: “He wants to see what’s out there” or something like that. But it seems to come off as a slap in the face to the team and the fans he’s playing in front of. Then again, probably anything would.
I don’t mind the step back if that meant resetting the tax and loading up in 2024. They signed a lot of interesting bounce back players. If they bounce back great. If not they should have reset tax. There was a lot of similar talent for cheaper. They at least could have just passed on one guy and went a cheaper route.
Player ultimately makes the decision. In the last year of arb you won’t save a ton of money. You can make player a offer and if they would rather risk injury or performance for a chance at 5 10 20 million more oh well. I like the free agent pitching class. Dodgers have a great farm as well.
“He wants to test the market”.
They shouldn’t say anything whatsoever.
The player should always defer to his agent by saying that the agent is in talks.
The agent should always say that he is in touch with the GM. None of it has to be true. Maybe the GM hates the player, and maybe the player can’t wait to leave. But there is no reason to broadcast it.
Lol, no they won’t, they have Julio Urias…
Going backwards is a good idea? What a puzzling concept.
I’m a Dodger fan.
They will make the playoffs, I’m certain. What they need is a better post season strategy. Too much money combined with too much talent to have only won it once since the previous win. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining and am grateful for that Championship but it’d be nice to see more.
I agree but I’m reacting to the concept that going backwards is the right thing for a team to do. I don’t see how a fan could want that. I mean, they didn’t even reset the CBT, so what was the point, other than making more money for ownership?
Blue. That’s a great point about the CBT not being reset. I failed to factor that in. I’m sure they have a plan but am gonna have to wait to see it unfold.
Interesting to see how this team blends together. Lots of potential lightning in a bottle and youngster they’re letting loose to go with some solid experience.
Can’t wait to see this team face-plant in 2023!
I’m confused, Copper… I thought you were a Dodger fan?
Offseason in review: Ohtani will be a Dodger in 2024
Don’t bet on it especially since he had an opportunity to sign with the Dodgers a perennial winner but instead he chose to sign with Anaheim a perennial loser
The Dodgers didn’t have a DH opportunity to offer Ohtani.
He was gonna be a padre before a dodger, but the dh thing was an issue. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go brown and gold again
And the Padres run out a 500 million dollar payroll for the next decade? Not happening
Doesn’t matter if the National League had the Dumb Hitter or not, He still chose to sign with a perennial loser instead of a perennial winner
Yes, except when he signed with the Angels, the Dodgers didn’t have a DH meaning he would have had to play defense, and tax his body that much more. Dodgers have the DH for him now, so he has a spot to hit that won’t tax him physically as much.
“Dodgers have the DH for him now” … um, the entire league has the DH. Fraudger fans acting like it’s a done deal already LOL
The Dodgers only made 1 significant signing & that signing was Noah Syndergaard & JD Martinez production has been declining & he’s a strikeout artist & will battle Chris Taylor for the Dodgers team lead in strikeouts & is a defensive liability if he plays in the field. as for the rest of the so called significant signings they’re far from being significant. OH YEAH Clayton Kershaw was only going to pitch for the Dodgers in 2023 & anyone who thinks otherwise should pay attention to what he said
Dodgers are what’s wrong with baseball!!! They always buy their team! Like Miguel Rojas, David Peralta, and Jason Heyward! Even Shelby Miller! Dodgers drool! Padres rule! The Mets are cool too!!!!! Omg Thor on a one year deal! Call Manfraud!!!!!
I guess you don’t know this little fact that Miguel Rojas started his big league career as a Dodger & was only included in a deal to the Marlins because Dan Haren threatened to retire instead of reporting to Miami. Shelby Miller is a bust, Jason Heyward has been a bust since leaving Atlanta & I don’t expect Peralta to be a significant piece this season since he is coming off several down years.
@georgerurh smh. Sarcasm, bro. And Haren threatening retirement was a joke. He said it himself. He wasn’t going to turn down 10 million
More likely his Wife told him there was NO WAY that he was staying home during the season
Scaling back for a year makes sense to me, but I don’t understand why they didn’t just embrace the youth movement in toto and stay under the luxury cap (or at least give themselves a chance to before evaluating their odds in July). Pushing for the playoffs after a 111-win season tracks to me, but I don’t know, if you’re going to have a reset year, bringing in mid-price-range guys like Syndergaard, Peralta, and Rojas only to juuuust barely edge over that luxury cap feels like a mistake. You’re so close—why not just reset it now?
I felt the same way when the Red Sox went over the cap last deadline for the likes of Tommy Pham and Reese McGuire. Never a good idea to shoot for “pretty good.”
Also, JDM is way past his prime. Watching him on the Sox it felt like he hit into a double play every third at-bat.
Also, JDM is way past his prime. Watching him with the Sox last year it felt like he hit into a double play every third at-bat.
JDM hit into a DP every 30 PA, which is still pretty often.
Over 40 doubles is past his prime?
Solid 95 win team
No real world series title for LA since 1988, despite staggering payrolls year after year after year. Resigned Clayton Chokeshaw (the pseudo-Christian) on top of that. GRADE: F.
Clayton Chokeshaw: the pseudo-Christian who promotes factory farming and who is a choker in the playoffs- can’t handle the pressure- pathetic. Clayton Kershaw is an abomination.
Ar least he can console himself with a great family, multiple awards, World Series ring and stacks of cash. Not to mention being respected by proper people.
Oh. And a HOF lock.
Please do share with us your Resume
You don’t know his family personally/the dynamics of his family personally. Associating himself with the fast food industry is anything other than “being respected by proper people”. Clayton Kershaw (‘Clayton Chokeshaw’) is scum. And the ‘World Series title’ he has is not a real one.
No more acknowledgement of you, you french garbage. You can respond if you want to- I’m not muting you because I don’t care enough to and I don’t do that anyway- but there will be no further responses to you.
Gosh. You make laugh, please, please do not mute me. I need the humour this time of the day.
Your comments are comedy magic. Not as funny as your grammar but both together are great.
And you also do not know his family personally.
You are a bitter bitter person & are irrelevant to anything in the Real World.
OH YEAH Nobody believes you know the Clayton Kershaw Family.
Hahaha you don’t know who I am- obviously. I am the farthest thing from “irrelevant to anything in the real world”. I change people’s lives for the better on a daily basis simply by introducing myself, and that’s 100% truth. There’s nobody in the world like me. By the way, I never said I knew Clayton Chokeshaw’s (Clayton Kershaw’s) family- the other poster claimed to know about the details of his family situation. I’m the one who pointed out the fact that a message boarder can’t know the reality of his family situation. Work on your reading comprehension, you stupid insignificant zero.
PS ‘congratulations’ on your routine, unimpressive, insignificant, non-transcendent existence. Of course you will never know what it’s like to have a major influence on peoples’ lives for the better, simply by introducing yourself to them.
You are irrelevant because you can’t even make comments or replies using your real name & that also makes you a coward
Hahaha says the stupid, hypocritical “coward” who uses ‘George Ruth’ as their username. No point in responding to you anymore.
“I change people’s lives for the better on a daily basis simply by introducing myself, and that’s 100% truth”
Makes sense. I know I would instantly feel better about myself after meeting you.
Clayton Kershaw has more World Series wins than Verlander lmao.
They each only have 1 real win in World Series games. 2020 was not a legitimate World Series.
You are touched.
C. A weak one. They filled holes. Got guys with bounce back upside. They didn’t get below tax. Didn’t replace the amount of talent they lost. I am fine with those giving them a D. F is harsh but can see that. They were better last year. Still a playoff team and can even win division depending on how injuries go.
Freidman declined Jimmy Nelson 1.1 million option contract only to sign him for 1.2 million lol the guy freaking sucks worst pitcher on the squad but roberts has faith in him so he’ll take a spot on the roster, who knows freidman might extend him if he stays injured
The Dodgers being big brother in the West will continue to be until they’re not. Last year in the post season little brother finally landed a haymaker and the Padres ousted the Dodgers.
I’ve heard a ton of different reasons why. The weakest being the new playoff format…that excuse will get you eliminated every year, why? Because it’s an excuse and comes with zero results!
The Dodgers are holding their chips for Othani. The Bauer disaster was a financial blow as well. I don’t know if the NL West will be what it’s been in the past. Dodgers are the Dodgers, Padres are now a legitimate team and have been moving the needle that way. San Francisco, Arizona, Colorado…it’s all a toss up.
If Kershaw goes and Othani comes in, what a transition of generational talent. I personally would hate to see it and see him more likely in Seattle.
Dodgers are putting alot on Mookie, Freeman and Will Smith offensively. The rest of the lineup doesn’t scare anyone. Should have sent Pepiot or Miller in a package deal to get Reynolds from the Pirates. Pirates need young starting pitching.
For the Dodgers, I do like the starting pitchers and the bullpen is solid, so it will keep them in alot of games.
Farm arms look great with Stone, Pepiot and Miller.
Early Prediction for NL West for wins…
SD 94, LA 92, SF 88, Ariz 75 and Colo 65
The Dodgers have one of the best scouting and development departments in baseball, The farm is deeper than ever for them and top 3 in MLB. They’ll be alright. That still doesn’t mean they had a good off-season.
The Dodgers main issue started last year with the extension of Blake Treinen, Jimmy Nelson and Daniel Hudson. All of them could be replaced by guys like Andre Jackson, Michael Grove, and Ryan Pepiot.
If LA really wanted to be in win now mode, they wouldn’t have signed Peralta at the expense of PT for James Outman. A team like the Braves or Astros would play a player like Outman who scores 40+ across the board, on most scouting reports.
The Cards signed a MLB contract with Guillermo Zuniga, RP the Dodgers kept at AA the last 2 years, and was throwing 102 MPH in the WBC. The guy literally couldn’t crack the Dodgers AAA team but jumps straight to team Colombia and a deep Cardinals team. The depth is insane.
At a certain point Friedman has to trust his scouting and development more and play the kids.
Wasted playing time on Gallo that should have gone to Outman.
Yep in hindsight that was a bad mistake but it looks like Friedman might make the same mistake again and start Outman in AAA. Hopefully for Dodger fans I’m wrong
Doyers got room for Heyward, Peralta, Thompson and Outman with Betts, Martinez and Taylor scheduled to start? Someone’s got to go..
Taylor won’t start every day in the outfield. Likely rotating between multiple positions. Outfield really should be Peralta/Thompson in LF, Outman in CF, Betts in RF. Heyward backup / PH.
Im hoping that Friedman doesn’t try to hold on to Heyward if he keeps hitting like he has in spring training (Outman should be up by May 1 unless Heyward turns it around). Can’t replace Belli with Older Belli.
Nothing they could do about the Bauer decision, but it feels like as soon as they knew they were busting the cap, they probably should’ve added more money.
Yep. Seems like they decided to split the difference. Not a great strategy when your division rival is going all-in. I gave this offseason a D grade.
Cap & Crunch
Def got caught flat footed a tad due to Bauer but I’m oddly Ok with it
I would have liked a Jose Iglesias/ Elvis pickup after the Lux news but there’s nobody I felt they missed out on in the free agency rush
Didn’t wanna jam the bullpen up with non optionable players and would rather see Jackson Pepoit Stone Grove on the mound then just a vet re-tread
* They still got the TD with a green light come the summer as well now