MLB winter meetings: Dave Roberts says Dodgers are aggressively pursuing top-tier talent
The last time baseball’s winter meetings were held here, Andrew Friedman was two months into his tenure as the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations. By the end of the week, he had detonated the roster for a 94-win playoff team to begin his molding of the organization.
Five years later, the Dodgers, coming off a 106-win season abruptly terminated with more disappointment, appear on the verge of pressing the button again.
Manager Dave Roberts, in his first public comments since the Dodgers were bounced from the playoffs in October, predicted the roster will undergo more turnover this offseason than any other since he assumed his post in November 2015.
“I think that you’ve got to shuffle the deck sometimes,” Roberts said. “Although we’ve had a lot of consistency . . . giving guys other opportunities, I think that’s a good thing for them. And I think that for us to keep things fresh is a good thing. I think that you don’t ever want to get stagnant and complacent.”
Andrew Friedman says Kenley Jansen is still the Dodgers’ closer, but improving the bullpen is a never-ending quest that will be pursued this offseason.
Roberts hinted before the season was over that the Dodgers planned to deviate from their relative reluctance to pay for premier players. They’ve spent the last six weeks swimming in the deep end of the free-agent and trade pools after having significant money come off their books. The objective is to bolster the roster with All-Star talent.
“Whether it’s the starters, the ‘pen, the position player, I think, if you look at our MO, it’s more of top-tier talent, and that’s kind of all parts of the game,” Roberts said. “That’s our target.”
Rendon has offers “in the seven-year range” on the table, Boras said, after he turned down a seven-year contract worth more than $200 million with deferrals from the Nationals at the end of the season.
The Dodgers potentially have fallback options to supplement their lineup with an elite right-handed-hitting infielder should Rendon sign elsewhere. The Dodgers have kept tabs on third baseman Josh Donaldson, who is in the market for a three- or four-year deal. On the trade front, the Chicago Cubs are reportedly open to dealing third baseman Kris Bryant and the Cleveland Indians are rumored to be willing to move switch-hitting shortstop Francisco Lindor.
But the trade market isn’t expected to come to life until Rendon makes his decisions. Signing his would take the Dodgers committing the longest and most expensive contract to a player since Friedman took over, though the Dodgers have made considerable offers to elite free agents only to watch them choose more lucrative deals from more aggressive competition.
Another target could be left-handed starter Madison Bumgarner, the former San Francisco Giants ace and World Series hero. Or the Dodgers could turn back to Hyun-Jim Ryu, the 2019 All-Star starter and National League earned-run average leader.
All Roberts knows is they are poised for a shake-up. The result could be another detonation.
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