2020-21 Dodgers Digest offseason plan

Corey Seager. Photo by: Cody Bashore

I know you’ve all been waiting with bated breath for my offseason plan post. Ha, who am I kidding? You’re still reveling in the Dodgers winning the World Series. I know I am.

But, we are a weblog focused on the Dodgers and, we need content. So, I present to you my offseason plan. Spoiler alert: There’s no Nolan Arenado trade contained within.

Arbitration

Scott Alexander (Arb 2) – $1M/$1.2M/$1.0M
Austin Barnes (Arb 2) – $1.4M/$1.7M/ $1.3M
Cody Bellinger (Arb 2) – $11.5M/$15.9M/$13.1M
Walker Buehler (Arb 1) – $2.3M/$3.1M/$2.3M
Dylan Floro (Arb 1) – $900K/$1.2M/ $900K
Corey Seager (Arb 3) – $9.3M/$15.0M/$10.4M
Julio Urias (Arb 2) – $1.6M/$3.0M/$1.7M

I would tender all these players a contract (more in-depth writing about it here). The fact guys like Alexander and Floro have minor-league options remaining make it easier. Plus, both are really strong depth pieces for the bullpen. It’ll be interesting to see what Bellinger and Seager end up making in arbitration.

Qualifying Offers

Justin Turner received a qualifying offer after the 2016 season, so he’s ineligible to receive it again. If he were eligible, it would have been an easy decision to so. None of the other Dodger free agents warrant a qualifying offer.

Option

Jimmy Nelson‘s contract option was not exercised, so he is a free agent.

Rule 5 Protections

Gerardo Carrillo
Andre Jackson
Zach Reks
Edwin Uceta

I wrote more in-depth about the Rule 5 protections a couple weeks ago.

Free agents

Ryan Braun – 1 year, $4 million
Brad Hand – 2 years, $18 million
Justin Turner – 2 years, $27 million
Alex Wood – 1 year, $3 million + incentives

I know, I know. Dodger fans have a special dislike in their hearts for Braun, but when I’m looking at the 26-man and 40-man rosters, there’s a lack of right-handed hitting depth. With Enrique Hernandez likely leaving for more playing time, there’s no one outside of Chris Taylor and DJ Peters who hits exclusively right-handed who isn’t a full-time starter (or backup catcher). He owns great career numbers against left-handed pitching — .318/.390/.600, 159 wRC+ — and it has still been pretty strong the last two seasons (.264/.344/.524, 124 wRC+). Having that bat off the bench or to spot start could be quite valuable, especially since the Dodgers — as a whole — struggled against left-handed pitching a bit last season. At 37 years old and being a local guy, he might be willing to sign a short-term, cheap deal to chase a championship. He might make a lot more sense if the DH returns to the NL next season.

Any team could have claimed Hand and his $10 million salary for 2021 when Cleveland put him on waivers following the World Series. No team did, so he was declared a free agent. The Dodgers, reportedly, have interest in the lefty, and he would be a nice fit for the bullpen. He would give the ‘pen a different look than a high-90s/slider right-hander. His low-90s fastball and devastating slider from the left side will go a long way in replacing Caleb Ferguson, who is set to miss the ‘21 season after Tommy John surgery. Hand would, presumably, step into the closer role — maybe not full-time, but the days of Kenley Jansen automatically getting the ball in the ninth inning is a thing of the past.

Turner’s deal is probably a little under-market, but at this stage of his career, he probably doesn’t want to uproot for a slightly larger payday. He’s still a good hitter and the Dodgers might have some solid reserves to take some pressure off his 36-year-old body. If Turner hits like he has since 2014 for 120 games (plus the playoffs), he’ll be a bargain.

Wood showed well in the postseason and, before that, showed well in Spring Training. A back injury limited him during the shortened season, but I’d like to see the Dodgers run it back with him on a similar-type deal he signed for last offseason.

Extension

Corey Seager – 7 years, $182 million

All the disclaimers apply, mainly, Seager’s agent is Scott Boras, who isn’t always eager to have his clients sign contract extensions. The most notable of late is Stephen Strasburg, who signed for $175 million over seven years in the middle of the 2016 season. He opted out after the 2019 season and ended up re-signing for $245 million over seven years. So, if Seager signs an extension, it may come with an opt-out. At this point, if it means having him through his age-29 or 30 season, that might be worth it.

Seager not only increased his standing in the game, he may have cemented his spot as the Dodgers’ shortstop for the next half decade-plus. Going into his age-27 season, he’s going to be looking to pick up where he left off. A fat contract extension could go a long way to taking some of the pressure off. It all depends if he’s interested in a long-term deal with the Dodgers. We know Boras is the best at his craft, so if there’s an extension this winter, it’ll be massive.

Trades

To CLE: Jacob Amaya, Edwin Rios, Michael Grove
To LA: Carlos Carrasco

The Dodgers have been after Carrasco for quite some time. With Cleveland looking to, foolishly, trim payroll (even something like $12 million/season), the Dodgers could pounce. While Francisco Lindor would be great, he’d be an extreme luxury at this point. Carrasco is signed for two more years and has a very affordable option for the 2023 season. He would give the Dodgers another legitimate starting pitcher and help guard against Clayton Kershaw’s pending free agency (though, I don’t think LA lets him leave) and any injuries that pop up with Walker Buehler, 35-year-old David Price, Urias and the inexperience of Dustin May and potentially Josiah Gray. It would also allow May to fill the swingman role until there is, inevitably, an injury in the rotation. He’d still get plenty of work in a role that could be his in the postseason again.

Losing Rios would be a bit tough, but he’s a perfect fit for a team looking to replace Carlos Santana at first base. Bringing Turner back, while having Muncy and Beaty makes it a bit easier to make Rios the centerpiece of this deal. Amaya would give them a shortstop of the future after they (inevitably) trade Lindor and Grove is the exact kind of pitching prospect an organization like Cleveland targets and develops.

To LAA: Tony Gonsolin
To LA: Jack Kochanowicz, Kyren Paris

The Dodgers and Angels almost consummated a trade involving Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling last offseason before Anaheim’s owner Arte Moreno (foolishly) vetoed it. This time, they get it done. Mike Trout needs some help, but not in the lineup. The Angels’ pitching staff is quite abhorrent, so adding Gonsolin at the expense of a couple Top 10 org prospects seems like the right play for a team desperately looking to add talented arms. With the acquisition of Carrasco, the Dodgers can “afford” to deal Gonsolin to continue to keep the prospect pipeline stocked.

Kochanowicz and Paris were the Angels’ 3rd- and 2nd-rounders, respectively, in 2019. Kochanowicz gives off big-time Jimmy Lewis vibes (same size, similar repertoires), while Paris is an athletic up-the-middle player, a type the Dodgers covet. This is just another way the Dodgers can attempt to restock the system.

26-man roster

Catchers (2)
Austin Barnes
Will Smith

Infielders (5)
Gavin Lux
Zach McKinstry
Max Muncy
Corey Seager
Justin Turner

Outfielders (2)
Mookie Betts
AJ Pollock

Infielders/Outfielders (4)
Matt Beaty
Cody Bellinger
Ryan Braun
Chris Taylor

Rotation (5)
Walker Buehler
Carlos Carrasco
Clayton Kershaw
David Price
Julio Urias

Bullpen (8)
Victor Gonzalez
Brusdar Graterol
Brad Hand
Kenley Jansen

Joe Kelly
Adam Kolarek
Dustin May
Alex Wood

Rest of 40-man (12)
Scott Alexander
Gerardo Carrillo
Dylan Floro
Andre Jackson
DJ Peters

Luke Raley
Zach Reks
Keibert Ruiz
Dennis Santana
Josh Sborz
Edwin Uceta
Mitch White

Injured (1)
Caleb Ferguson

Restricted List (1)
Andrew Toles

——

Not a ton of big moves. It isn’t necessary for a roster this stacked. Turner returning while adding Carrasco and Hand without having to dole out big-time money helps to foster the Seager extension — the biggest move of the offseason.

Let me know what you think in the comments and/or on Twitter.

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.