Los Angeles Dodgers: The off-season successes of Andrew Friedman

Andrew Friedman and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office gets plenty of criticism from fans, most of it does not make sense.

Andrew Friedman took over the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to the 2015 season and since then the Dodgers have won 100 games twice and won two National League Pennants. Friedman has drafted Walker Buehler, Gavin Lux, Will Smith and Dustin May.

He brought in Chris Taylor and Max Muncy, who were both under-the-radar signings that are now huge contributors. He signed Kenta Maeda, re-signed Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen and Clayton Kershaw and traded one year of Yasiel Puig and company for two prospects that developed into top-100 prospects.

Yet because Friedman and the Los Angeles Dodgers don’t empty their wallets every winter they get a lot of criticism. Dodger fans are hoping that this is the winter that they spend, as they have the money, but are still complaining about not spending in the past, even though that is the reason why they even have space to begin with.

I came across an article from Eric Eulau of Dodgers Nation where he discussed the many blunders of Andrew Friedman. I respectfully disagree with a lot of what Eric wrote, so I decided to write a counter article.

These are the players that the Dodgers missed out on that Eulau deemed as the blunders for Friedman and co.

2015 offseason:

  • David Price: Seven-year, $217 million contract with Boston Red Sox
  • Zack Greinke: Six-year, $206.5 million contract with Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Jason Heyward: eight-year, $184 million contract with Chicago Cubs

Eulau did not touch on Price or Heyward but he did mention Greinke, stating that the Dodgers balked like Pedro Baez after the Diamondbacks swooped in and upped the Dodgers’ offer.

Let’s look at the contract that the Diamondbacks gave Greinke and how he has pitched afterward. Greinke posted a 4.37 ERA in his first season in Arizona and winded up with a 3.40 ERA in his Diamondback career.

His contract became so bad and so expensive that the Diamondbacks traded him to the Houston Astros for one top-100 prospect and three other prospects. In signing Greinke, the Dodgers may have gotten stuck with him instead of re-signing Clayton Kershaw.

Price and Heyward are laughable. Price has a 3.84 ERA in four years with Boston, no all-star appearances, no Cy Young votes and is getting paid like an elite arm. Heyward is another example of an awful contract that has a .711 OPS in Chicago.

2016 offseason:

  • Yoenis Cespedes: Four-year, $110 million contract with Mets
  • Aroldis Chapman: Five-year, $86 million contract with Yankees
  • Dexter Fowler: Five-year, $82.5 million contract with Cardinals

Eulau writes that the Dodgers did not need to sign an expensive headache in Yoenis Cespedes or Dexter Fowler, so why include them as a “blunder” for Friedman?

As for Aroldis Chapman, the Los Angeles Dodgers re-signed Kenley Jansen that same winter and were not going to re-sign Chapman after initially trading for him and then pulling back because of a domestic violence investigation.

Plus, Chapman made it pretty clear afterward that he loved his time in New York so much that he was going to re-sign despite being traded, how can you blame Friedman if Chapman simply wanted to be a Yankee?

2017 offseason:

  • Eric Hosmer: eight-year, $144 million contract with Padres
  • Yu Darvish: six-year, $126 million contract with Cubs
  • J.D. Martinez: five-year, $110 million contract with Red Sox

Eric Hosmer? Really? I would rather pay $144 million to Max Muncy. The Los Angeles Dodgers are just fine without Eric Hosmer as they have two people who can play first in Muncy and Cody Bellinger that are twice as good as Hosmer.

Yu Darvish was ridiculed by every single Dodger fan after his World Series appearance but now we are going to pretend like Friedman should have signed him? Plus, Darvish pitched in just eight games the following year and has a 4.16 ERA in 39 starts with the Cubs. Imagine paying $21 million a year for a 4.00 ERA guy.

And J.D. Martinez, who has a stellar bat that is literally unusable in the outfield because of his defense. And while his bat would have been nice, the Dodgers outfield is just fine without Martinez. If they would have signed him, people would have complained about his terrible defense.

2018 offseason:

  • Bryce Harper: 13-year, $330 million contract with Phillies
  • Manny Machado: 10-year, $300 million contract with Padres
  • Patrick Corbin: six-year, $140 million contract with Nationals

Remember how we said the Dodgers would not have the space to sign free agents this winter if they signed people in the past? That is the case with Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Patrick Corbin.

And while there is still plenty of time left on the contracts, Harper and Machado did not play like they were worth a combined $630 million last season. Harper hit .260 with a sub .900 OPS, was not an all-star and did not receive an MVP vote.

If I am going to pay a player $330 million I would hope that he would be an all-star and receive at least some sort of 10th place vote in the MVP. He honestly just had a Max Muncy-type season, which the Dodgers are getting for much cheaper.

The same can be said for Machado. Not only did the Dodgers not need Machado, but he posted a career-low in batting average with his lowest home run and RBI total since 2014, when he played only 82 games. Again, not an all-star and did not receive a single MVP vote.

Patrick Corbin was good in the postseason but he proved that he was simply an all-in risk for the Nationals that would have looked foolish if they didn’t win the World Series, which was not even because of Corbin. If the Dodgers signed Corbin they would have no shot at Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg, what would you rather have?

Next: 2019 grades for every Dodger

Calling this a 0-12 slump for Friedman is a far stretch. Just by looking at the numbers and the current status of the team (which, remember, just won 106 games), it is clear that Friedman was right to not sign a single one of these free agents.