Now that the Dodgers’ season is over, it’s time to start looking toward the offseason. It may not be the foremost thing on everyone’s mind, but it’ll be here sooner than you think.
Let’s take a moment and reset the 40-man roster and see how it all shakes out.
Free Agents (6)
The Dodgers have an exclusive five-day negotiating window to sign these players for the five days after the World Series ended. After that, they’re free to sign with whichever team they so choose.
- SP Yu Darvish
- OF Curtis Granderson
- OF Franklin Gutierrez
- RP Brandon Morrow
- 2B Chase Utley
- RP Tony Watson
I spy three trade deadline acquisitions in Darvish, Granderson and Watson. All of them cannot be given the qualifying offer. Even if they were eligible, Darvish would be the only one to get it. Speaking of, he has stated his interest in returning to the Dodgers, but that seems highly unlikely unless he takes a well-below market value deal. As the best starting pitcher available this winter, that won’t happen. Granderson looked pretty much done in the postseason. Gutierrez might have been able to help this team, but he has health issues to be concerned with and his second stint with the organization is likely over. Utley is much like Granderson in the sense that he looks done. However, everyone on the team likes him and his ‘Clubhouse Presents‘ can’t be ignored. If he is brought back, it’d be on a deal like he had this season. Honestly, though, I’d rather the Dodgers moved on. Watson had a nice stint with the Dodgers and was the first lefty out of the bullpen in the postseason, but with guys like Luis Avilan, Tony Cingrani, Adam Liberatore and Edward Paredes still rostered, it doesn’t make a ton of sense for the Dodgers to spend significant money on him.
That leads us to Morrow, who is the most interesting name on this list. He had a breakout season as a high-leverage reliever, and his usage rate in the postseason was staggering. The numbers say he should be given lots of money to stay. I’m not totally against it, but we know this front office is hesitant to throw big money at non-Kenley Jansen relievers. If a deal could be worked out that would suit both the Dodgers and Morrow, I’d love to see a reunion. But once he hits the open market, teams might be lining up to give him lots of money.
Team Option (2)
- OF Andre Ethier ($17.5 million, $2.5 million buyout)
- IF Logan Forsythe ($8.5 million, $1.5 million buyout)
Ethier hasn’t been able to stay healthy the last two seasons but has played in the postseason. Still, we knew this would be his swan song. He might try to latch on elsewhere at a significantly reduced salary. Forsythe’s option is a no-brainer, even if they don’t intend to keep him. Despite Chris Taylor being so good in center field, I’d be mildly surprised if he were not the Dodgers’ starting second baseman in 2018.
Under Contract (10)
- 1B Adrian Gonzalez ($22.36 million)
- SP Rich Hill ($16.67 million)
- RP Kenley Jansen ($10.8 million)
- SP Scott Kazmir ($8 million)
- SP Clayton Kershaw ($35.6 million)
- SP Kenta Maeda ($3.12 million)
- SP Brandon McCarthy ($11.5 million)
- OF Yasiel Puig ($9.21 million)
- SP Hyun-Jin Ryu ($7.83 million)
- 3B Justin Turner ($12 million)
Not a lot of wiggle room with these guys. Maybe the Dodgers find a way to off-load Gonzalez on someone. Kazmir and Ryu are in the last year of their deals, while McCarthy has one more. Hill, Jansen, Kershaw, Maeda and Turner aren’t going anywhere. Puig’s resurgent season and strong postseason likely keeps him around, too.
Arbitration Eligible (9)
- C Yasmani Grandal (Arb 3)
- RP Luis Avilan (Arb 3)
- RP Tony Cingrani (Arb 2)
- RP Josh Fields (Arb 2)
- SP Alex Wood (Arb 2)
- RP Pedro Baez (Arb 1)
- RP Yimi Garcia (Arb 1)
- UTIL Enrique Hernandez (Arb 1)
- OF Joc Pederson (Arb 1)
I wrote about the nine arbitration-eligible players the Dodgers had almost a month ago. All of these guys will be offered arbitration, but there’s no guarantee all of them are on the 40-man roster come opening day or even the start of Spring Training. Baez ($1.5 million), Grandal ($7.7 million) and Pederson ($2 million) are the best trade chips not named Alex Wood ($6.4 million) here.
These are the players with fewer than three years of service time who were already on the 40-man roster. To remove them now would require them being designated for assignment, traded or outright released.
- C Austin Barnes
- 1B/OF Cody Bellinger
- IF Charlie Culberson
- 1B/LF O’Koyea Dickson
- C/IF Kyle Farmer
- UTIL Tim Locastro
- SS Corey Seager
- 3B/OF Rob Segedin
- OF/IF Chris Taylor
- OF Trayce Thompson
- OF Andrew Toles
- OF Alex Verdugo
- SP/RP Walker Buehler
- RP Grant Dayton
- RP Wilmer Font
- RP Adam Liberatore
- RP Edward Paredes
- RP Josh Ravin
- SP Brock Stewart
- RP Ross Stripling
- SP Julio Urias
Bet there are some names here you forgot about, huh? Here’s how the 40-man roster breaks down right now:
- 21 Team Control
- 9 Arbitration Eligible
- 8 Under Contract
- 2 Team Option
That’s 42 players, counting Ethier and Forsythe. Ethier will certainly be gone, so let’s call it 41 players on the 40-man roster. This is after the 60-day disabled list players get activated. They are as follows: Dayton, Dickson, Garcia, Kazmir, Liberatore, Ravin and Toles. Not all of them will survive the winter, though.
The Dodgers must consider potential Rule 5 Draft additions when crafting the 40-man. Here are the rules for the Rule 5 Draft.
“Players who were signed when they were 19 or older and have played in professional baseball for four years are eligible, as are players who were signed at 18 and have played for five years. All players on a Major League Baseball team’s 40-man roster, regardless of other eligibility factors, are ‘protected’ and ineligible for the Rule 5 Draft.”
RHP Dennis Santana
The only for sure adds here are Oaks and Santana. Oaks was having a strong season before suffering a couple nagging injuries, and Santana had a breakout 2017 season. Broussard is a solid relief-only prospect, while Kowalczyk has a big arm but not much else. Bellinger would have been on the 2013 list if he hadn’t been promoted this season. None of the other high schoolers drafted by the Dodgers in 2013 are still in the organization. That means the Dodgers will have to clear three 40-man roster spots with the additions of Oaks, Santana and the assumed exercising of Forsythe’s option. It seems like Dickson, Font or Locastro are the most in danger of losing a 40-man roster spot. And if they avoid the ax now, it still may come later in the winter.
I’m not expecting there to be a ton of roster turnover. This team did win 104 regular season games after all. But there is always room for tinkering and improvement. Unless the Dodgers sign Shohei Ohtani, I predict their biggest acquisition will come via trade, not free agency.