“Good morning my people!!! Happy Sunday!!! TODAY: Xander Bogaerts is the most desirable SS on the FA market. Among those interested are #Phillies , #RedSox and #Padres . #Dodgers , #Cubs and #Twins are added. The #Cardinals at the moment have only inquired… We continue, Positive and OK.”
Also, Jeff Passan said in his latest column that the Dodgers are among the interested teams in Xander Bogaerts. He didn’t elaborate, but it’s a natural interest seeing as the Dodgers are in need of a shortstop and Bogaerts is one of the best on the free-agent market.
Bogaerts, 30, is coming off a solid campaign with the Red Sox. He hit .307/.377/.456 with a 134 wRC+ and a career-best 6.1 fWAR, thanks in part to a significant defensive improvement that may or may not be sustainable. His power dipped noticeably, as he had his lowest isolated slugging mark (.149) since the 2017 season (.130). However, he was able to maintain his normal level of walks and strikeouts, so you look at the ground ball and fly ball rates and that might be the reason for the dip. His ground ball rate went up 6.4 percentage points from 2021 and his fly ball rate dropped by 5.6 percentage points. He also saw his hard hit rate drop a 4.7 percentage points and he had a sub-40 Pull% for the first (and only) time since 2015. With how the Dodgers emphasis pull side and elevating the ball, it’s reasonable to think he could see his power return if he were to sign with LA.
Former Cardinals’ top prospect Alex Reyes is on the Dodgers’ radar. Admittedly, the interest could be impacted by the Miller signing, but someone with his arm talent is always going to be of interest to the Dodgers.
Reyes, 28, has dealt with a bevy of arm injuries in his career. Originially a starting pitcher, Reyes has made just seven starts as a Major Leaguer, so he’s strictly a relief option at this point. He still sits around 97 MPH with his fastball and complements it with a mid-80s slider that had just a .089 batting average against in 2021. Aside from the injuries, the biggest knock on him is his command/control. He has a career walk rate of 15.5% in 145 innings. That’s … not great. With a 30% strikeout rate, it’s a little easier to stomach the high walk rate, but that’d have to improve for him to be a real difference-maker in the bullpen. Despite that, Reyes seems like the perfect kind of guy the Dodgers would take a flyer on — it just remains to be seen when he’ll be ready for action and if they can make him fit within the roster.
Willy Adames is one of the more intriguing players potentially on the market. Since being traded to the Brewers on May 21, 2021, Adames, 27, has been a better hitter than he was in Tampa Bay. With Milwaukee, he has a .256/.325/.483 batting line with a 120 wRC+. With the Rays, he had a .254/.320/.420 mark with a 103 wRC+. It isn’t that much of a difference, but he has definitely been a more dangerous hitter with the Brew Crew. And his defense has been above-average as well. He finished 2022 with a 9 defensive runs saved and 10 outs above average.
He’s two years away from free agency and the Brewers are aggressive when trading players — especially early rather than late. They could deal him, but the acquisition cost for the Dodgers would be significant. Maybe not Diego Cartaya significant, but Gavin Lux or Bobby Miller headlining wouldn’t be out of the question. If the Dodgers can’t land one of the free agents (Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Dansby Swanson, Trea Turner), or find another trade option (Tim Anderson), Adames could make a lot of sense.
Carlos Rodon, 30 in 11 days, is a guy I wanted the Dodgers to land after the lockout last year. That, obviously, did not come to fruition. He went to the Giants and he had a career-year — 2.88 ERA, 2.25 FIP, 26.1 K-BB%, 6.2 fWAR. He threw 178 premium innings and has set himself up for a big payday this winter. He has no shortage of suitors — Giants, Mets, Rangers, Twins, etc. — so if it goes to a bidding war, I’m not sure the Dodgers outbid some more pitching-needy teams. They could, but it isn’t their style. If they don’t land Verlander, maybe Rodon is plan B (or 1A).
The Winter Meetings start next week in San Diego. It used to be a time when a lot of deals went down. Now, it has turned into more of a groundwork-laying event for baseball operations personnel. There will be some deals signed and trades made, but maybe not as many as in years past. Still, the hot stove will be ablaze from now until Spring Training starts.