Offseason Tracker and Analysis: Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers may have not gone as far in the playoffs as they would’ve hoped, but by winning 100 games, they had another successful season. With a practically flawless roster and a deep farm system, there’s little they have to do this offseason, though it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them make a big splash on the free-agent market. Perhaps Anthony Rendon?

Expected Direction: Being Open To Anything, But Being Content Just Adding Depth

Dodgers Sign RP Blake Treinen

Photo Cred: Los Angeles Times

Contract Details: One Year, $10 Million

Grade: 8.5/10

In a signing that could have a massive payoff, the Dodgers have signed recently non-tendered reliever Blake Treinen to a one-year contract worth $10 million. Treinen, 31, had multiple offers in this range after being let go by the A’s, but he’ll go to Los Angeles, which is a perfect fit. Last season didn’t go as expected for him, as he had a 5.01 xFIP. Notably, he allowed much more fly balls and hard contact, saw his velocity decrease slightly, and also completely lost his command (5.68 BB/9). Therefore, he’s definitely no sure-thing to bounce-back, but if he does, the reward will be huge; he had a dominant 2.42 xFIP in 2018. For a team that needs bullpen help, but won’t be tied out if Treinen falls flat, this is a very reasonable signing; relievers are volatile, after all.

Dodgers Sign SP Jimmy Nelson

Photo Cred: Brew Crew Ball

Contract Details: One Year, $1.25 Million w/Incentives ($1 Million For Making Opening Day Roster, $500K For Being On It For 45 Games and 90 Games, Additional $1.5 Performance Bonuses) and Club Option ($2 Million, Turns Into $5 Million Mutual Option w/60 IP or 40 Games and $9 Million w/170 IP)

Grade: 10/10

In an intriguing low-risk move, the Dodgers have brought in pitcher Jimmy Nelson on a one-year, $1.25 million contract, with plenty of performance incentives. This comes after the 30-year-old was non-tendered by the Brewers earlier this offseason, which was a sensible decision. After missing all of 2018 due to injury, he only pitched 22 innings this season, which did not go well- he posted a 5.34 xFIP and a 6.95 BB/9. However, what the Dodgers are hoping for if for Nelson to get back to his 2017 form, in which he was a Cy Young-candidate; he had a 3.15 xFIP and a 4.15 K-BB ratio in 175.1 innings pitched. If he does, which is very possible if he’s a) healthy and b) able to work with his elite fastball and breaking ball spin rates, then he’ll either provide the Dodgers with the support at the back-end of the rotation they need, or he can be an impact reliever. If not, then they don’t lose much, as this contract comes with a very small guarantee. When you don’t specifically have a need, these are the types of signings you should be making- rather than forcing a massive contract or making a blockbuster trade, they’re looking for steals on the market, which is what Nelson could easily be. This is why the Dodgers win the NL West practically every season and are once again the front-runners to win the pennant.

Dodgers Sign SP Alex Wood

Photo Cred: Yahoo! Sports

Contract Details: One Year, $4 Million (Can Reach $10 Million w/Incentives)

Grade: 10/10

Continuing to add bounce-back candidates to bolster their pitching depth, the Dodgers have brought back a familiar face, inking Alex Wood to a one-year deal worth $4 million, and with incentives to bring the total up to $10 million. Wood, 29, only pitched in 35.2 innings with the Reds after being traded by the Dodgers, and wasn’t that effective (4.44 xFIP) in those outings. However, previously, he had been consistently in the mid 3.00s with his xFIP, which is what you’d expect from a low-end #2 starter/high-end #3 starter. Yet, Los Angeles just needs him to be a back-end starter, which they’ll almost certainly get for him, considering his “struggles” were likely injury-related. It’s a great deal for Wood, who gets to rebuild his value in a place he’s thrived, but it’s a masterpiece for the Dodgers, who only have to give him a $4 million guarantee, yet snag the last quality starting pitcher on the free agency market; an argument can be made they’re getting a better pitcher than the Diamondbacks got in Madison Bumgarner, and Arizona signed Bumgarner to an $85 million contract. As mentioned with the Nelson signing, there’s a reason why the Dodgers have been a force to be reckoned with in Andrew Freidman’s tenure as President of Baseball Operations.

Dodgers Extend 1B Max Muncy

Photo Cred: Dodger Blue

Contract Details: Three Years, $26 Million ($4.5 Million Signing Bonus, $1 Million 2020, $7.5 Million 2021, $11.5 Million 2022, $13 Million Club Option 2023)

Grade: 10/10

As they wait to finalize a Mookie Betts trade, the Dodgers have agreed to a contract extension with Max Muncy, signing the star first baseman to a three-year deal worth $26 million, with a $13 million club option to buy out his first year of free agency. For the 29-year-old, this deal represents security for a player who has come out of nowhere to post a combined 10 WAR over the past two seasons, but for the team? Well, to be frank, this is an absolute heist. If you value 1 WAR at around $5-6 million, which is probably less than how it tends to be valued, then Muncy should be worth around $25 million in free agency. After all, he’s shown great plate discipline and power, and based on his metrics, he shouldn’t regress at all. In other words, they’re paying Muncy much less in his arbitration years and in his first free-agent year, without them taking on any risk.

Dodgers Acquire OF Mookie Betts and SP David Price From Red Sox, RHP Brusdar Graterol From Twins

World Series - Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game One
Photo Cred: Boston Herald

Full Trade: Dodgers Acquire OF Mookie Betts, SP David Price, and Cash (1/2 of Price’s Remaining 3 Years, $96 Million) In Exchange For OF Alex Verdugo, SS Jeter Downs, and C Connor Wong.

Grade: 9/10

Believe It Or Not, But The Mookie Betts Trade Was Fair All-Around

*NOTE: Grade different than indicated in article due to inclusion of Downs and Wong, and since this is now a two-team trade.

Dodgers Acquire RHP Brusdar Graterol From Twins

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers
Photo Cred: NBC Sports

Full Trade: Dodgers Acquire RHP Brusdar Graterol, OF Luke Raley, 67th Overall Pick From Twins In Exchange For SP Kenta Maeda, $10 Million

Grade: 8.5/10

Graterol will slot into Los Angeles’ bullpen, filling a major need. Raley has produced well in the minors but strikes out a lot, and the 67th overall pick is a nice add. Read more about Graterol and Maeda here: Believe It Or Not, But The Mookie Betts Trade Was Fair All-Around

*Will Be Updated With Every Move The Dodgers Make

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