By Jesús Alaín Fernández /@ JesusLCA2017
The closing of 2021 was not the one expected by the partials of the Los Angeles Dodgers in Major League Baseball. The elimination of the team on account of the one that was ultimately crowned the winner of the World Series was not the end that the Dodgers ninth bet on during the winter 20/21 investments and the summer market close.
The Dodgers entered 2021 with a payroll higher than the luxury rate established for the 2021 season by the still in force CBA. The $ 258.38 million left the Chávez Ravine franchise paying $ 20.68 million in tax for the overdraft, but the worst thing is the amount of money committed in multi-year contracts that now limit negotiation and maneuverability.
For the 2022 season the Dodgers already have committed $ 219.1 million again exceeding the payroll established as the threshold for the luxury rate by more than nine million. There is no room for new incorporations without overdrawing too much and there are still key pieces to be incorporated and salary arbitrations (Urías, Turner, Bellinger and Caleb Ferguson) before the 2022 playball.
Of the major free agents who ended up playing in 2021 with the Dodgers (Scherzer, Seager, Jansen, Kershaw, Kelly, Taylor and Knebel) have already escaped two files that in my opinion were the axis of the renovations. Clayton wakes me up, while still respecting his Hall of Fame history, more doubts than certainties from his repeated injuries during 2021.
Max signed with the Mets for 130 million and three seasons (43.33 contribution to the payroll for the calculation of the tax salary) and Corey went to the Rangers for 325 and 10 seasons (32.5). These contractual values would put the Dodgers at $ 294.9 million (84.9 over the threshold).
Right now the play of euphoria of February / 21 that landed Trevor bauer in California and the one that brought Mookie in 2020 (with the bonus of David Price and his 16 million) weigh on the opportunities. There are 41 million mortgaged there that although they would not solve everything, they would change the dynamics.
The Dodgers urgently need three starting pitchers to accompany Walker and Urías (Tony Gonsolin has an “I don’t know what” that prevents him from consistently performing good performances and has little time left to discard), a pair of arms in the bullpen to replace lower-cost, equally effective Joe Kelly and Kenley Jansen, an outfielder who can play fourth-man for Roberts’ rotations, as well as an infielder to go after Gavin Lux, should Gavin Lux return to second.
The additions of Andrew Heany and Daniel Hudson are economically feasible (there is a profit between their price and the one they directly substitute) but the sporting contribution remains to be seen, and without that nothing works. In favor of Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers and Mark Prior have been able to recycle a few arms and put them into production when all seemed lost. Maybe Price, Hamels and Duffy are there to remind you otherwise. Caleb Ferguson and Tommy Kahnle could mark the comebacks of the 2022 season and it would be well received.
Chris Taylor is a piece not to despise. His versatility allows him to go for at least six of the defensive positions and his offensive production, especially at key moments, was vital throughout 2021. His value is estimated at 11 million and should have been an early target for the franchise.
Palliatives could come from the farm, but not definitive solutions. Zack Mckinstry, Mat Beaty, Edwin Ríos (returning from injury), Mitch White, Andre Jackson may do some of the work but they are not everyday players for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Other aspirin that could arrive are Ryan Pepiot and Bobby Miller for the box and Michael Bush or Jacob Amaya (included in the roster of 40 to protect him in the draft of the rule 5) for the infield, but it will take time for them to take the pulse of the Major League Baseball, although surprises do exist. If not, there would be no Rookie of the Year Award.
Dustin May, whom we have already seen doing strong physical activities, could arrive by the end of the season so he will not be an asset for perhaps 80% of the 2022 course.
Anyway, Andrew will have to do his magic practically without a hat or overcoat. He will have little room to move chips and needs to add heavyweights to give credibility to the project for a year in which the Dodgers will have to regain lost ground.