With the 2020 MLB season on hold and an end to negotiations uncertain, we could’ve seen the last of some players in Dodger blue. The Dodgers, of course, can re-sign any impending free agents, so let’s take a look at which free agent is most likely to be re-signed by the club.
Let’s start with the biggest question mark there is. The arrival of Mookie Betts along with David Price was supposed to solve the team’s postseason woes. While David Price will still be under contract at season’s end, Mookie Betts has been very vocal about testing free agency instead of discussing an extension. Aside from Mike Trout, Mookie Betts is considered the second-best all-around player in the game and figures to see some big contract offers.
The Dodgers will have around $40-45 million in cap space before hitting the first level of the luxury tax and will have even more space in 2022. The Dodgers have the money to make sure that Mookie definitely plays a game in Dodger blue, but they also have to think about offering extensions to their homegrown talent such as Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler, Corey Seager, etc. General Manager Andrew Friedman isn’t known for handing out big time contacts, but Mookie may be just the player who can change that.
Turner has been one of the best offensive players in the league since joining the Dodgers back in 2014. Turner’s four-year deal that he signed back in 2016 comes to an end this year and it’s no secret that many Dodger fans would love for him to stay. While he has suffered some unlucky injuries over the past couple of years and has seen a decline in his defense, the 35-year old is still an above-average player who brings a much-needed leadership presence to the team. Turner will turn 36-years old by next season so there is the risk of decline if the Dodgers do decide to re-sign him. The team could instead turn to Edwin Rios to take over until top 3rd baseman prospect Kody Hoese arrives.
Pederson has been a solid contributor during his time with the team despite his batting splits. He can absolutely crush right-handed pitching but is best suited for a platoon role. The Dodgers traded away Alex Verdugo and could lose Mookie Betts in free agency which would create a need in their outfield and lead to Pederson being resigned. Instead, the Dodgers could replace him with the promotion of DJ Peters who profiles similar to Joc but from the right side. Or they could turn to Zach McKinstry or Chris Taylor to man the outfield. They also showed they were willing to depart with him in the failed trade with the Angels.
For a team that values versatility, Kiké has played every position possible except for catcher. Between the highlight plays he makes or his quirky personality, fans would be saddened by his departure. He has shown signs of great potential but has also disappointed during other times, especially against right-handed pitching. While he can bounce around the field, he has no set position and his versatility can be replaced with the likes of Chris Taylor who would still be under team control.
Treinen was a new addition to the team this year after being non-tendered by the A’s after a disappointing 2019 season in which he put up a 4.91 ERA and sustained a strained pitching shoulder that led to him losing the closer role. The Dodgers signed him to a one-year deal hoping he would be able to rebound to his 2018 self in which he posted a ridiculous 0.78 ERA. Treinen was hoping to have a comeback year with the Dodgers to secure himself a long term contract next year but with the season on hold, he could wind up back with the Dodgers. If the Dodgers decide not to bring back Treinen, they have some in-house options to replace him.
Of all the players listed above, Justin Turner seems like the safest bet to be re-signed by the ball club. There’s no replacing the impact or talent that Turner brings to this team. There also doesn’t seem to be an immediate fix to the hole that he would leave behind. Rios is better served as a first baseman or a bench role and Kody Hoese is still a couple of years away from his debut. If the Dodgers and Turner could work out a short term deal, say two years, it would bring the Dodgers closer to handing over the hot corner to his replacement as well as getting the last of what Turner has left in the tank out.