As the offseason has played out the Los Angeles Dodgers have actually been one of the more quiet teams. They have been linked to almost every big-name player on the free-agent and trade markets, but to this point, their only addition has been signing Blake Treinen to a one-year contract.
The Dodgers have indicated they intend on making big moves, which may now prove to be more difficult with reduced options. After missing out on each of the top three free agents, Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu have additionally signed with other clubs.
In a recent appearance on MLB Network’s High Heat, Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten stressed the importance of player development while noting the roster needs to be a mix of homegrown talent, trade acquisitions and free agents:
“Any team that has had sustained success has done it on a foundation of scouting and player development. I didn’t invent that, Branch Rickey invented it 80 years ago and it’s still true today. So it’s a critical part of being able to stay competitive. And really, the fact we had payrolls as high as $200 million or more, even that couldn’t be done unless we had really good contributors from the Minor League. Year in year out, we do have kids coming up who are ready to contribute at the Major League level.
“You have to have a mix. I always tell people in Atlanta, Glavine, Maddux and Smoltz were acquired in three different ways you can: trade, draft pick and free agent signing. That’s how we look at things. We have to use all of the techniques, all of the tools.”
L.A. has been one of the best organizations in baseball in recent years as far as player development goes, consistently churning out young talent such as Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, Gavin Lux, Dustin May and others.
They have also been one of the more active teams on the trade market, particularly around the deadline, acquiring the likes of Hill, Yu Darvish and Manny Machado to bolster the roster.
Where there seems to be a disconnect between the fanbase and the Dodgers brass is in regard to free agents. L.A. has passed on a number of big free agents that the fans wanted to improve the club.
Barring something unforeseen this winter, the Dodgers will likely be staying below the luxury tax threshold for a third consecutive season in 2020.
For an organization that hasn’t won a World Series since 1988, that is not what the fans want to see and it will be up to Kasten and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman to come up with a solution.
Wether it be pulling off a big trade for a star like Francisco Lindor or Mookie Betts, or spending on one of the remaining free agents to improve the team for 2020 and beyond.
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