Dodgers spend their winter getting older
Losing Farhan Zaidi might be more significant than I expected as the Dodgers have had the strangest winter since he became the Dodger General Manager on Nov 4th, 2014.
The Dodgers have made five significant moves this winter and each one has resulted in the Dodger twenty-five man roster getting older and whiter.
Yazmani Grandal was given a qualifying offer but declined it, and eventually signed a very friendly team deal with the Brewers. Grandal is thirty years old and was expected to sign at least a four year deal. That didn’t materialize for him so you’d think the Dodgers could have beaten the Brewer offer but instead the team the Dodgers barely beat in the NLCS has upgraded their worst position and the Dodgers have downgraded as they wait for prospects to take over in the near future. Unless of course, they get Realmuto.
Second, they signed thirty-year-old relief pitcher Joe Kelly. This was a must sign, it didn’t have to be Joe Kelly but they badly needed a solid relief pitcher. Time will tell if they made the right choice in Joe Kelly. They didn’t with Tom Koehler last winter, but the investment in Koehler was minimal compared to the three-year deal they gave Kelly.
Thirdly they traded Yasiel Puig who will be entering his twenty-eight-year-old season. Along with Puig they threw in Alex Wood who will also be twenty-eight years old next season. Matt Kemp is the only person over 30 the Dodgers have traded this year. They got back prospects but none of them will be seeing a major league roster until at least 2020. This was a salary dump but it was also a value dump. They traded a state of the art fan favorite right fielder and solid rotation piece in Alex Wood just to clear money. At first, it seemed the Dodgers were clearing room for Bryce Harper but that didn’t happen. Instead of signing the best free agent outfielder they signed the guy with significant health issues, and he didn’t come cheap.
To keep things rolling along for the over the hill gang, they traded prospects for Russell Martin who will be thirty-six-years-old next month and can no longer hit a breaking pitch.
The coup de grat, however, might have been signing an aging unhealthy when young A.J. Pollock to a multi-year deal. When it comes to rumors I look at the common sense side and since A. J. Pollock didn’t make sense given he was looking for a five year deal and the Dodgers “never” give out five year deals to position players I didn’t think the Dodger rumors were serious so I was surprised after being out of the news loop for a day to find out when I arrived at my brothers house last night that the Dodgers had signed A. J. Pollock. The terms seem reasonable five years at sixty million but as Eric Stephen points out, A. J. Pollock seems like a weird choice to become the first positional Dodger in this management group to ink a five-year deal.
While creative, the Pollock deal continues a Dodgers trend the last two offseasons of restraint. With an impact outfielder like Harper still unsigned, the Dodgers are swimming in the shallow end of the pool, content that the rest of the division is still using floaties.
Joc Pederson looks to be the next player under thirty to be traded this winter and it will probably be for players who won’t be on the major league roster.
I don’t think the Dodgers were specifically targeting to acquire white players and move non-white players but it was something my sister-in-law pointed out so fans are noticing. Fans are also noticing that the roster as it stands today is not as good as the roster that ended the season, and that was only a 92 win team, not the juggernaut of 2017.
It is very possible that without Farhan Zaidi the Dodgers just signed the first long term deal that they will regret long before the contract runs out. Not to mention the opportunity cost they may lose by not having the money to sign other players.
For the first time, I’ve lost some confidence that the front office knows what it is doing. This feels more like a Ned Colletti winter, and I was never comfortable with those.
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