2019 Winter Meetings preview: Dodgers could be active for first time in a while

The Winter Meetings are upon us and after Andrew Friedman‘s first two years in charge, he has done nothing but tease us at the meetings.

In December 2014, he traded Dee Gordon & Matt Kemp, acquired Yasmani Grandal, Howie Kendrick & Jimmy Rollins and signed Brandon McCarthy — all in the span of two days. In 2015, he re-signed Chase Utley, lost Zack Greinke to the Diamondbacks, reportedly agreed to a deal with free-agent pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma and a deal with the Reds for Aroldis Chapman, but both deals fell through for very different reasons.

Ever since, the Dodgers have been relatively quiet at the meetings. They made moves after in the following years, but transactions at the meetings, specifically, have been hard to come by.

This year, however, it feels a little different. That could be media-driven. That could be more hope than reality for us. But with the Dodgers set up nicely for the long term and all the number of substantial rumors we’ve heard thus far, it’s more likely this year than it has been at any Winter Meetings since 2015.

The Dodgers are, legitimately, in on the biggest names — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg. I wrote about Cole earlier this offseason, Strasburg on Friday and, well, I haven’t specifically written about Rendon yet, but suffice it to say, he’d be a no-brainer signee.

The Cole sweepstakes could be a bit complicated because, well, the Yankees might decide to be the Yankees.

That’s a nice initial offer, but I expect the dollars to be higher than that — and he may even get that eighth year. But it seems like the Dodgers might be in it until the end. It seems the Cole market could move quicker than expected, so the Dodgers will need to have backup plans, which they surely do.

Rendon could also move quickly, with the Rangers and Nationals posing the biggest threat for his services. He’s the clear-cut best hitter on the open market and would provide an upgrade at third base for almost ever team in the league. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him ink a deal sometime this week.

I could see Strasburg’s situation dragging out a bit, but not too long. He’s the clear 1b to Cole’s 1a this offseason, and without a comparable player available via trade, Strasburg shouldn’t sit in the free agent pool for too long.

The other big names tied to the Dodgers are Mookie Betts, Josh Donaldson and Francisco Lindor. Donaldson will almost certainly be the consolation prize to the tam that doesn’t sign Rendon, so his situation could also clear up this week. Betts and Lindor are different situations because they would have to be traded.

Either should interest the Dodgers immensely, being two of the 15 best players in the game. With the Red Sox wanting to cut payroll and Cleveland not wanting to commit big dollars to the face of their franchise, both could be available. Both of these guys should never play inning for another team, but that’s not the reality in which we live.

It feels like the Red Sox could move other players (Nathan Eovaldi, David Price) to pare down payroll rather than (perhaps) the 2nd-best player in the game because he’s going to make a lot of money. So, it doesn’t feel like Betts gets moved at the meetings (if at all). But a lot of folks think Lindor could move, including this baseball insider.

Let’s look at some of the non-Dustin proposals we’ve see around the Internet recently.

Full disclosure, the Morosi one wasn’t an actual proposal, just a few names he thought could interest Cleveland.

So, what do you think of those? I’m not a big fan of any of them, but if I had to pick one, it’d probably be Schoenfield’s. The Dodgers could afford to trade from their catching and utility player depth, and Cleveland would almost assuredly want a pitcher in the deal. They’d also like to get an MLB-ready outfielder … which Peters is (almost).

The proposal I came up with in my offeason plan post was Downs, Marshall Kasowski, Pederson, Julio Urias for Lindor and Daniel Espino. In hindsight, that’s probably not enough. So if the Dodgers want to get Lindor, they’ll have to pony up — and he’d be worth it.

Outside of the big names, the Dodgers have also been linked to reliever Blake Treinen. Treinen had a 2018 for the ages. It was the 6th-best in terms of WAR since the turn of the century, but he fell apart in 2019 and was non-tendered by the A’s last week. The Dodgers could get something done with him this week, seeing as a deal for the 31-year-old shouldn’t be terribly complicated. They also expressed interest in Kevin Gausman, who was really good in relief for the Reds in the second half and could be a bit of a reclamation project, and we know the Dodgers have been good with those in the past.

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If the Dodgers get anything done this week, it may not be big. Treinen or Guasman would be nice. Donaldson would be great if Rendon falls through. Hell, a reunion with Hyun-Jin Ryu would also work (but there’s no word of that presently). And if nothing happens, that’s OK, too, since the offseason isn’t over after the Winter Meetings. But let’s just hope they don’t miss out on all the big names.

It feels like the Dodgers will do something this week — which would be an improvement over the last few years. The scale of which that something is, though, remains to be seen.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.