Resetting the Dodgers’ 40-man roster ahead of a potentially busy offseason

I hate writing this post this early in October. When I do, it means the Dodgers’ season ended in disappointing fashion. Considering how the regular season went, that all checks out.

Before we get into full rosterbatory content, the 40-man roster needs to be reset. This is what things look like right now, and there’s a chance for this to be a fluid offseason.

——

Free Agents (11)

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

Price has already said he is going to retire. Congrats to him on a solid career. As for the rest, there’s a real chance most of them won’t be back. Kershaw should be atop the list of guys to bring back — and it sounds like he has at least one more season in him.

Trea, one would think, would also be a high priority on the list of internal free agents to bring back. He probably is, but it also doesn’t feel like anything close to a sure thing or even likely. I’ll go into depth on shortstop options in the future, but Turner is going to be an attractive free agent to many teams this winter, and he could get the bag elsewhere.

Anderson will probably get the qualifying offer ($19.65 million), which could limit his market this winter. But pitching-desperate teams might be willing to sacrifice a draft pick if it means getting the guy who pitched to a 2.57 ERA in nearly 180 innings this season. If not, the Dodgers get Anderson back for a year — and there’s almost no such thing as a bad 1-year deal. It’d be Brett Anderson all over again, but hopefully with better results. Heaney probably won’t get the QO and is a guy I could see Andrew Friedman wanting back, especially given the uncertainty — at present — in the rotation.

Of the remaining players, guys like Kahnle and Martin would be interesting guys to bring back, especially since the bullpen depth is going to be tested a bit. Gallo probably ends up as a starter on a second-division team and we don’t really care all that much about Hembree and Pillar.

Mr. Kimbrel, best of luck to you. Things started off well enough, but he’s not coming back.

Option (5)

There are more option-eligible players for the Dodgers than I can recall in recent years. Alberto and Nelson’s options are so cheap that it’d be easy to pick them up without giving it a second thought. However, the 40-man roster crunch is real and they could be squeezed out.

Since being acquired at last year’s trade deadline, Duffy has yet to throw a pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers. I don’t think the Dodgers want to pay him $7 million for such uncertainty, but when healthy, he’s a quality pitcher. Perhaps they could bring him back for a cheaper price. Treinen’s option will, in all likelihood, be exercised. It’s a $6.5 million decision, and we’ve seen what he can do when he’s healthy (physically, at least).

The biggest question here is JT. It’s a $14 million decision. If you look at his season line — .278/.350/.438, 123 wRC+ — it’s a no-brainer. However, he looked completely lost at the postseason and had a pretty horrid first three months of the season (.227/.298/.375). He split his time between third base and designated hitter and was better offensively in the field (.837 OPS) than when he DH’d (.729 OPS). This might be something to explore later, but Turner will be entering his age-38 season and the Dodgers might not want to commit that much money to him. If his option is bought out, he could come back at a discounted rate — and perhaps in a reduced role in hopes of having him fresher for October. We’ll see.

Under contract (6)

The only guys under contract beyond the 2023 season are Barnes, Betts, Freeman and Taylor. both Hudson and Muncy have 2024 options.

Arbitration-eligible (12)

All arbitration estimates are via MLB Trade Rumors. Some of these guys are getting significant raises, and two guys are in their final arbitration year before free agency. Urias could be the beneficiary of a contract extension, if the Dodgers, Urias, and Scott Boras want that. Bellinger is the biggest question mark here. He is a shell of his former self and didn’t ever really look great in 2022. That $18.1 million is a big price tag, even for the Dodgers. There’s a non-zero chance Bellinger is non-tendered. If he is, he is sure to have suitors on the open market — and they probably won’t have to pay him upward of $18 million.

Everyone else (short of Rios?) was an integral part of the 2022 team. Yes, even guys like Almonte and Thompson! They will all be tendered contracts, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be with the Dodgers when the season starts (i.e., trades).

Pre-arb/minors (14)

The following players don’t have enough service time to be arbitration-eligible or don’t have long-term contracts. They’ll be making peanuts compared to everyone else above.

There’s no way all of them make it through the winter on the 40-man roster, but there are some guys who figure to be big parts of the 2023 (and beyond) team.

Restricted List (1)

I’m always going to keep a spot for Tolesy.

Suspended (1)

Go away.

——

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

  • 14 Team control
  • 12 Arbitration-eligible
  • 6 Under contract
  • 5 Option

The roster stands at 37 players, which is a little fewer than in previous years. Buehler will head to the 60-day injured list when Spring Training begins, so that’ll open up a spot. But then we have to account for players to protect from the 2022 Rule 5 Draft.

Here are the notable players who are R5-eligible for the first time. All players who were previously eligible, still in the org and not added to the 40-man roster are also eligible.

Position Players

Pitchers

A more in-depth post is in the works to breakdown who they should protect, but there are at least three no-brainers: Busch, Cartaya and Pages.

——

With another disappointing end to the season (it’s 2019 all over again), there’s going to be a lot of talk about breaking up the core. On the surface, breaking up a 111-win team because they lost in the tournament-style playoffs seems crazy. But if it’s going to happen, this would be the year. They probably won’t deal any big-name guys, but they might say goodbye to some big-timers and/or long-term guys. One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be an interesting offseason.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. 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.