Will the Dodgers Focus on Free Agents Who Don’t Cost Draft Picks?

If we know anything about the current Dodgers front office after one year on the job, it’s this: They love draft picks. Love them. This is a team that ate $2.75m of Ryan Webb‘s salary and gave up minor leaguers Chris O’Brien and Ben Rowen entirely to get Baltimore’s competitive balance pick (No. 74) and the $827,000 slot value that comes with it, which went to pitcher Josh Sborz. They talked the Marlins out of their own competitive balance pick just so it could be used to send to Atlanta in the Alex Wood/Hector Olivera deal (which is why that deal, originally reported as just Mat Latos & Michael Morse from Miami, was held up to become a three-teamer, as those picks can’t be dealt twice).

It’s why Howie Kendrick & Zack Greinke are obviously getting qualifying offers, and Brett Anderson seems likely to as well. Draft picks are currency, either in players or trade, and it makes all the sense in the world for a deep-pocketed team to collect them.

What that also means is that as the team heads into the winter, they’re probably not dying to give up any draft picks for free agents. For an elite-level player like Jason Heyward it won’t stand in their way, but for anyone lower than that, it’s hard to see them giving up a pick. (Last year’s two major free agent signings were Anderson, who didn’t get a qualifying offer from Colorado, and Brandon McCarthy, who wasn’t eligible to receive one from the Yankees.)

Let’s take a quick look at this year’s free agent landscape:

Likely Will Cost a Draft Pick

These players are all but certain to receive a qualifying offer, taken directly from this CBS article, plus some additions of my own.

Most of these guys aren’t fits on the 2016 Dodgers anyway. The pick wouldn’t stop them from pursuing Heyward or Zimmermann, though.

Can’t Cost a Draft Pick

These players were traded and therefore are not eligible to receive a qualifying offer, also mostly taken from that CBS piece.

This isn’t a full list of free agents, of course. There’s plenty of lesser guys who have no prayer of receiving a qualifying offer like Mike Pelfrey, Tim Lincecum, and Bartolo Colon, and others who are more borderline like Marco Estrada, Doug Fister, and Darren O’Day.

But you get how the names on that second list may be more appealing to this front office. It shouldn’t be the reason why maybe they’d rather Price over Zimmermann, because there are lots of reasons to want that. It’ll factor in, though. Every little thing does.

About Mike Petriello

Mike writes about lots of baseball in lots of places, and right now that place is MLB.com.