After getting ousted in the National League Division Series by the Padres — following a record-setting 111-win season — there figured to be some turnover on the Dodgers’ roster. There certainly was, but there also wasn’t an equal replenishing of the players they lost over the winter.
Let’s go through each of the major transactions, sorted by type.
LHP Clayton Kershaw – 1 year, $20 million
The first-ballot Hall of Famer was a no-brainer to re-sign. He’ll pitch the Dodgers’ third game of the season, after Julio Urias and Dustin May.
RHP Shelby Miller – 1 year, $1.5 million
One of the most intriguing reclamation projects of the offseason, Miller was the Dodgers’ first free-agent signing of the winter. He had and up-and-down Spring Training, but he’ll begin the season in the bullpen with a chance to pitch some high-leverage innings.
RHP Noah Syndergaard – 1 year, $13 million
The Dodgers inked the former Cy Young contender to replace Tyler Anderson, Walker Buehler and/or Andrew Heaney in the rotation. Anderson left for the Angels, Buehler is out for 2023 and Heaney went to the Rangers. Syndergaard probably won’t get back to his past glory (especially if his Statcast numbers in Spring Training are any indication), but he should be a serviceable No. 4 starter.
DH J.D. Martinez – 1 year, $10 million
Martinez is the defacto Justin Turner replacement, as the Dodgers declined Turner’s option and opted for a slightly cheaper designated hitter in Martinez. He was, for a 6-year stretch, one of the best hitters in the game, but he has taken a step back in the last three years. Still, he’s a worthwhile signing at $10 million.
OF David Peralta – 1 year, $6.5 million
This is the most puzzling signing of the offseason — even before the emergence of James Outman and, to a lesser extent, Jason Heyward. It looks slightly better after Gavin Lux suffered a season-ending knee injury, but it still seemed unnecessary.
RHP Alex Reyes – 1 year, $1.1 million
The former flamethrowing top prospect is a low-risk, medium-reward proposition for LA. He could carve out a back-end role in the bullpen, provided he’s healthy (which isn’t presently) and can throw strikes consistently. The Dodgers also hold a $3 million ($100,000 buyout) option for 2024.
RHP Jimmy Nelson – 1 year, $1.2 million
It looked like a good idea at the time, as Nelson has been good in his limited game time with the Dodgers (1.86 ERA, 1.89 FIP, 26.7 K-BB%). However, a dreadful Spring Training landed him on the injured list. Here’s hoping he can figure it out.
RHP J.P. Feyereisen from Tampa Bay for LHP Jeff Belge
Feyereisen is a piece for the future, as he’ll likely miss the 2023 season after undergoing shoulder surgery. But he has some potential to be a solid bullpen piece for LA.
IF Yonny Hernandez from Oakland for cash considerations
Hernandez will serve as upper-minors depth, as the light-hitting infielder was optioned to Triple-A. He’ll likely be the first guy up if an infielder on the active roster goes down.
SS Miguel Rojas from Miami for SS Jacob Amaya
It looked like a depth move at the time (and it was), but with Lux going down, Rojas will be installed as the Dodgers’ starting shortstop. He’s one of the best defensive shortstops in the game, but the bat has always been a bit light. The Dodgers also signed him to a 2-year, $11 million contract extension last month.
Minor League Free Agents
OF Jason Heyward
Heyward was released by the Cubs in the final year of his 8-year, $184 million deal. He did enough in Spring Training to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Other MiLB signees who could see time in LA (including a few old friends):
- RHP Matt Andriese
- RHP Dylan Covey
- RHP Tyler Cyr
- RHP Rubby De La Rosa
- OF Yusniel Diaz
- OF Steven Duggar
- LHP Robbie Erlin
- LHP Adam Kolarek
- RHP Wander Suero
- 3B/OF Luke Williams
- OF Bradley Zimmer
All in all, a pretty unspectacular offseason. It’s going to be a different season than we’ve come to expect, as the Padres are loaded for bear, the Giants are always annoying and the Diamondbacks are on the come. I’m not a believer in the Rockies. And that doesn’t even include the always tough Braves, Cardinals, Mets and defending NL Champion Phillies.