Fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers were hopeful that this would be the winter that the team signs an elite star and it was not meant to be.
The Los Angeles Dodgers went into the baseball winter meetings looking to sign one of three marquee free agents. Over three days this week, the Dodgers struck out on all of them. Now the team is left to either sign lesser tier free agents or have to trade coveted prospects to gain elite players.
Worse, the Dodgers can just stand pat holding onto their money and hope that doing the same as last year will finally end their 32-year World Series title drought.
It was reported on Monday that Stephen Strasburg re-signed with the defending World Series champions, the Washington Nationals. The Dodgers likely were outbid for Strasburg’s services because he never wanted to leave, essentially getting his raise for winning the World Series and being named MVP of the series.
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On Tuesday, Gerrit Cole chose to sign with the New York Yankees instead of coming home to Southern California and pitching for the Dodgers or the Los Angeles Angels. The Yankees’ winning bid amounted to 324 million, about 24 million more than the Dodgers bid was speculatively announced.
Cole would have been a top-line starting pitcher that the Dodgers could have teamed with Walker Beuhler and Clayton Kershaw, giving the Dodgers the best starting pitching in the NL and possibly all of baseball.
Wednesday evening the big bombshell blew up in the Dodgers’ face and might have finally sent their fans over the edge. It was announced the Los Angeles Angels and Anthony Rendon, another Nationals hero of the World Series, had come to a contract agreement.
That’s right: the Dodgers lost out on a player thanks to their local rival the Angels. More bad news trickled out when it was being reported that despite the need for an elite right-handed bat, the Dodgers didn’t even offer him a contract.
Essentially before this week was halfway over the Dodgers were told no three times by the elite tier of free agency and are now left with lesser options.
The Dodgers could sign second-tier free agents like Josh Donaldson or Hyun-Jin Ryu. One (Ryu) the Dodgers know and the other (Donaldson) is a former AL MVP. Yet both have significant injury issues and in the case of Donaldson are not elite on the same level as Rendon.
The Los Angeles Dodgers could make a trade for players of the caliber of Nolan Arenado, Francisco Lindor, or Kris Bryant. All elite players but still under contract and could cost a significant amount of prospects that dents the Dodgers depth pool. Any trades can be a much steeper over pay than just paying the demands of a free agent.
The last option, of course, is to stand pat and use internal resources to try and win another World Series. After seven straight playoff appearances with no World Series title as a reward, fans are starting to sound apathetic (at least in the Twittersphere) and bringing everyone back hardly elicits confidence or much hope.