Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The 2023 World Series concluded on Wednesday, which means MLB free agency officially begins at 6 a.m. PT on Thursday morning. For the Los Angeles Dodgers, that made 12 players free agents, including Clayton Kershaw, J.D. Martinez, Julio Urías, Jason Heyward and David Peralta.
The rest of their free agent group is rounded out by Kiké Hernández, Ryan Brasier, Shelby Miller, Amed Rosario, Kolten Wong, Jimmy Nelson and Jake Marisnick. More players could join them later when the Dodgers make their decisions on team options and tender decisions as the offseason continues.
Among the players with a club option are Lance Lynn, Max Muncy, Joe Kelly, Blake Treinen, Daniel Hudson and Alex Reyes.
Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Chris Taylor, Miguel Rojas, Tony Gonsolin and Austin Barnes are the only players with guaranteed contracts for the 2024 season, but many more are also under team control still, including Walker Buehler, Will Smith, Evan Phillips and Gavin Lux.
Dodgers free agents
A left shoulder injury limited Kershaw for most of the second half, but prior to that he was still among the game’s top starters. The future Hall of Famer pitched to a 2.46 ERA with 137 strikeouts to 40 walks across 131.2 innings.
Kershaw may ultimately decide to retire, but if he decides to pitch again it figures to be for the Dodgers or his hometown Texas Rangers.
Another player who had a bounce back season, Martinez was one of the Dodgers’ more productive hitters this season as he eclipsed 30 home runs and 100 RBI for the first time since 2019. However, he missed a stretch of games in the second half due to left groin/adductor tightness.
The veteran designated hitter put himself in position to sign a multi-year contract, which would likely signal the end of his time in L.A. with Max Muncy as an available replacement and their sights set on Shohei Ohtani.
Urías has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past few seasons and set himself up for a significant payday, but that all changed in early September when he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence and ended up going on administrative leave.
It’s safe to say Urías’ time with the Dodgers is over, and with this being his second domestic violence arrest, it would be somewhat surprising to see another team sign him as well.
Heyward had a resurgent year with the Dodgers and emerged as an important leader in the clubhouse as he was voted the winner of the 2023 Roy Campanella Award.
He hit .269/.340/.473 with 15 home runs and 40 RBI across 124 games, making most of his appearances against right-handed pitchers. The Dodgers would surely welcome Heyward back, but he put himself in line for a significant pay raise from his Minor League signing last offseason.
Peralta did not bring much to the plate offensively, but he played solid defense that put him in consideration for a Gold Glove award in left field. He hit .259/.294/.381 across 133 games with seven home runs and 55 RBI.
The 36-year-old is recovering from left elbow surgery that he played through during the second half of the season.
With a need to add offense against left-handed pitchers, the Dodgers reunited with Hernández at the trade deadline, which boosted his season after a bad start with the Boston Red Sox.
With the Dodgers, Hernández hit .262/.308/.423 across 54 games while playing seven different positions. Although another team could pay up for the fan-favorite, he seems to be a solid bet to re-sign with the Dodgers.
Brasier gave a much-needed boost to the bullpen after signing with the Dodgers, which set him up for a solid contract in free agency that may ultimately push him out of the range L.A. is willing to pay for a reliever.
He posted a 0.70 ERA across 38.2 innings with the Dodgers, striking out 38 hitters while walking 10.
Miller became a trusted arm for the Dodgers after signing him as a reclamation project, which should lead to him signing a multi-year deal with another team. The right-hander threw 42 innings with a 1.71 ERA along with 42 strikeouts to 19 walks.
The Dodgers added Rosario in a trade with the Cleveland Guardians at the deadline to boost their team against left-handed pitching. He got off to a nice start but struggled down the stretch to finish with a .256/.301/.408 line with the Dodgers before being left off the playoff roster.
Wong signed a Minor League contract with the Dodgers in August and joined the team when rosters expanded the following month. The veteran second baseman was placed on the postseason roster after hitting .300/.353/.500 with the Dodgers across 20 games.
Nelson was unable to pitch at the Major League level for a second consecutive season due to his recovery from Tommy John surgery in 2021, but appeared on the mound for two of the Dodgers’ Minor League affiliates, and presumably will attempt another comeback next year.
He is a candidate to receive a Minor League deal, wherever he ends up.
In search of a right-handed bat, the Dodgers signed Marisnick to a one-year contract in July. However, the veteran only appeared in four games, recording two hits, before a left hamstring injury ended his season.
He will almost certainly end up signing a Minor League deal this offseason.
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