Resetting the 40-man for the 2020 World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers

For the first time in this 8-year run, I’m writing this post with the Dodgers being world champions. Feels so good!

The purpose of this post is to break down what the 40-man roster looks like heading into what could be an offseason like one we’ve not seen.

Free Agents (7)

All teams have an exclusive, 5-day negotiating window after the World Series. That window closes Sunday. At that time, they’ll be free to sign anywhere.

In an ideal world, the Dodgers would probably want to bring back most of these guys. And despite a World Series title, we still live in a world that’s far from ideal. If I had to guess, Turner comes back on a 2-year deal at around the same annual average value of his 4-year, $64 million deal. I don’t suspect at 36 years old that he wants to go to another organization. And he’s ineligible for the $18.9 million qualifying offer because he received it following the 2016 season. Baez, Hernandez and Pederson all seem like good bets to find new homes — especially Pederson. He should get a nice deal from some team, in spite of a potentially tumultuous winter. Treinen wasn’t 2018 good, but he was really solid and the Dodgers trusted him with one of the most important innings of the postseason. My guess is he lands a 2-year deal somewhere else. Wood is an interesting guy. He showed he can still throw it a bit, but he might not be a 5-6 inning guy anymore. If he wants to come back to LA in a similar role as he was supposed to be in before the pandemic, I could see it happening.

Option (1)

Nelson was a nice low-risk, medium-reward signing last offseason. A back injury ended his 2020 season before it started. The Dodgers have a $1.5 million decision to make on him. It’s a minuscule amount (to the Dodgers and in baseball terms) and with them losing potentially two right-handed pitchers to free agency, they might consider bringing Nelson back to fill one of those spots. I think his days of being a traditional starting pitcher are over.

Under contract (8)

It sure is nice to have that guy on the top of the list locked up for the next 12 years. Jansen, Kelley, Kershaw and Taylor are all free agents after the 2021 season, while Muncy, Pollock and Price are all under contract through at least 2022.

Arbitration-eligible (9)

MLB Trade Rumors usually would have arbitration projection numbers out by now, but COVID-19 has thrown a huge monkey wrench into that. So, the numbers above are what each player signed for (not prorated) for the 2020 season (where applicable).

There are going to be a lot of non-tenders this year around the game. Of the guys listed above, Gore seems like the most likely non-tender. I could also see Alexander getting non-tendered, but his arbitration number shouldn’t be prohibitive. Everyone else is an easy tender for me. Expect Seager’s number to jump substantially, while Bellinger’s should also increase. Buehler is finally going to be making more than league-minimum.

Pre-arb/minors (16)

These lads don’t have enough service time to qualify for arbitration, and some of them have yet to debut in the majors. Unless there’s a roster crunch, I don’t see any really easy cuts here.

That’s a lot of quality, relatively young talent.

Restricted List (1)

Be well, Tolesy.

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Here’s a breakdown of where the 40-man roster stands.

  • 16 Team control
  • 9 Arbitration-eligible
  • 8 Under contract
  • 1 Option

That’s 34 players. Toles’ roster spot doesn’t count, and the fact the Dodgers have seven free agents has opened up some roster spots. But will there be any players who need to be added to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft?

It’s going to be a little more difficult this year because there was no minor-league season, so teams might not be as eager to protect players. At the same time, teams could be more willing to add players because it won’t cost a lot of money and the free agent market, well, it’s gonna be rough.

The Rule 5 eligible players this year will be college draftees from the 2017 draft, high schoolers from the 2016 draft and some 2016 international signees. Also, previously eligible players for the Rule 5 who weren’t picked and aren’t on the 40-man roster — guys like Jordan Sheffield and Cody Thomas. Here are the newly eligible players, should the Dodgers not protect any of them.

Position Players

Pitchers

I’ll dive into the potential keepers at a later date.

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The Dodgers should have their way with the free agent market this winter. They can basically dictate what they do. Other teams are going to non-tender, not pick up options or outright waive quality players. Of course, the Dodgers can’t sign 20 free agents due to roster space, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see them bring back some of their guys while adding quality elsewhere.

And it feels so good.

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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.