By Aaron Heyman 2/19/19
With the MLB offseason in full swing, the goals of certain teams are starting to be revealed. The New York Yankees seem to be going on a shopping spree, whereas the Seattle Mariners are committed to a full tear down. However, the Los Angeles Dodgers are yet to answer questions about their motives. After completing a trade in December that sent Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, And Kyle Farmer and cash to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Homer Bailey and two prospects (Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray), one free agent came to mind for Dodger fans: Bryce Harper. It made a lot of sense, clearing out cap space by getting rid of Matt Kemp’s contract and eventually releasing Homer Bailey’s, and making more room in the roster for a potential outfielder.
However, even after clearing up cap space, the Dodgers still only have about $30 million available. While that is a lot of money, it may not be enough to sign Bryce Harper to a mega-deal worth more than $300 million. Additionally, the Dodgers recently signed veteran outfielder AJ Pollock, who was a major part of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ great record to begin the season, before he dealt with a long term injury. Even though Pollock is no Bryce Harper, he serves as a very talented center fielder to add to the Dodgers’ dangerous lineup. The Dodgers may also move to the trade market, as adding two prospects from the Reds have given them possible trade capital. Rumors have surfaced earlier this offseason about potential trades for Cleveland Indians pitchers, whether it be Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. However, Spring Training is around the corner, and the window for trades is closing. With that in mind, there may be even greater plans in store, as a free agent signing may have been saved for next year when the contracts of David Freese, Rich Hill, and Hyun-Jin Ryu are set to expire. It makes sense, because Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Gerrit Cole, and Chris Sale are all free agents.
Even if the Dodgers don’t end up signing Bryce Harper, or if they cannot pull off a big trade, they still have a stacked roster to make another World Series push. The NL West is only getting weaker, and the overall competition in the National League is less impressive than the competition in the American League. However, the strength and performance of Corey Seager, who was out most of last year after undergoing Tommy John surgery this past May, is key in the Dodgers’ performance this year. If he is back to his full strength, the Dodgers lineup will be even more of a threat. And having utility players like Kike Hernandez and Chris Taylor, Cody Bellinger who can play center field along with Pollock, and young outfield prospect Alex Verdugo, there will still be plenty of outfield depth. The Dodgers are definitely approaching another contending season as an NL powerhouse, but do they need another big offseason move to get them over the hump, and bring home a World Series title to the city of Los Angeles?