Dodger’s 5 Biggest Offseason Questions (Part 1 of 5)

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Highlights

  • Do The Dodgers Start Extending Their Young Stars?
  • Who’s The Next Prospect(s) Up?
  • Who’s The Closer?
  • Who Do We resign?
  • Who Do We Buy/Trade for?

Young Stars Need To Get Paid

The Dodgers have 5 crucial players who are set to become Free Agents within the next 5 years. The soonest being Seager and Taylor with one more season to go, and the farthest is Buehler in 2025.

The Dodgers have a log jam of talent, and unfortunately we don’ think all of these players we’re about to mention will stay on the Dodgers past these contracts. Even the Dodgers can’t afford 25 guys worth $20+ million a year.

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  • Corey Seager (FA 2022)
https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/seageco01.shtml

First up, Seager. It’s hard to say who would’ve been the most valuable for the Dodgers if 162 games were played. Betts technically finished ahead, but Seager was a close second and obviously the postseason hero after two series MVPs.

He’s going into his prime age season as he’s about to turn 27. When he’s healthy he’s about a .300/.400/.500 type hitter. He started stealing bases behind Betts this postseason. The Dodgers had a .755 winning percentage this last year (including postseason) with those two batting 1 and 2.

Most fans are aware that Seager is in the most loaded shortstop free agent class of all time, but no one knows how this will effect the cost of these players. It will all be based on who signs the first contract.

Seager has shown he’s very capable of producing at least 4 WAR a season when healthy throughout his career, and he probably has 5 to 7 more prime years. Especially if he transitions to 3rd base. And if the DH makes it to the NL this decade, it may be even longer.

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He’s positioned to make around $12 million next season, which will probably be a bargain for his skills still. But if the Dodgers are smart, they’ll lock down Seager the same way they locked down Betts.

We would try to sign Seager for 8-10 years and somewhere between $18 to $25 million a year. Even with the uncertainty of baseball’s profits for the upcoming years, the Dodgers will be fine. Especially if they sign a Shortstop who can lead the team to a couple more rings.

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  • Chris Taylor (FA ’22)

Taylor has been a “disappointment” since his incredible 2017 breakout. But has he really? Or is he another victim of the Puig effect? Where you come out so hot, expectations get set out of reach.

But the Dodgers still extended him through next season on a modest $6.7 million a year. And he wound up taking the 7th most ABs in a World Series winning postseason after being the 3rd most valuable player of the squad all year long.

And that’s not new. In his 4 full seasons with the Dodgers, Taylor is averaging 3 WAR a year. On the market, that can. fetch more than $20 million depending on the cache the player brings. Taylor isn’t a big name and he’s already 30, so he’d probably be on the lower side, but $15 million a year could be in his reach if interest is high.

Unfortunately, we don’t think Taylor will be worth resigning more than a couple years. It’s likely that Taylor will take wherever he can get the most money and playing time, and the Dodgers can’t afford to give him either.

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  • Cody Bellinger (FA ’24)

We have a few years before Bellinger hits the market, but he is making more in arbitration. He’s estimated to make around $13 million this upcoming season. Luckily for the Dodgers there’s no rush to sign Bellinger long term right now.

His price tag is reasonable, he has 3 more years on contract, and he’s coming off arguably his worst season so far to follow up his MVP performance. And it’s unlikely Bellinger would sell himself long term at a low in his career.

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He is still a 5 tool player, a huge fan favorite, turning 26 next season, and his floor season still had a .789 OPS and a gold glove in center (2020). Still, we can’t help but worry that Bellinger follows the Bryce Harper route.

He has the same agent (Boras), has incredible highs and lows, and will most likely leave the team they started on to sign for way more money, and inevitably disappoint to reach the incredibly high standards set with the contract.

Unless the Dodgers can convince him to stick around for less money. But we don’t see him accepting anything less than a $30 million a year contract and for roughly 10 years. Considering, the Dodgers already gave that to one outfielder, it seems unlikely they do it for a second.

  • Julio Urias (FA ’24)

He’s only projected to make about $2.3 million in arbitration next year, and again the Dodgers don’t need to rush. We still haven’t seen Urias pitch a full (normal) season as a starter, but we did just watch him pitch the most intense innings of the Dodgers’ postseason, and win the World Series.

He’s arguably the overall postseason MVP going 4-0 in 23 innings with a 1.17 ERA, 29 strikeouts, 0.65 WHIP, a .138 BAA, a Save and only 4 walks. His ERA and WHIP lead the entire team and he tied Kershaw with 4 wins. Oh yeah, he also finished out every series except the wild card.

He’s still only 24 and a lot of people forget just how highly he was looked at as a young prospect. His career ERA so far is a solid 3.20 after a 3.27 in 2020.

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What’s interesting here is the lack of hype surrounding Urias despite his so far great performance to follow great prospect rankings. That may change after this postseason, but Urias isn’t commanding the amount of money a pitcher of his caliber usually commands.

He seems like someone the Dodgers will want to keep around, but it’d be very interesting to see if the Dodgers offer Urias a 5-7 year contract extension for around $40-$60 million. It pays him more money now, but pushes back possibly a larger contract until he’s about 30.

We don’t think it’s likely to happen soon, but Julio is a prime target for an extension in a few years. Hopefully as an Ace on top of whatever Dodger’s rotation is dueling then.

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  • Walker Buehler (FA ’25)

Luckily, the farthest away is Postseason stud, Walker Freaking Buehler. He pitched to the tune of a 1.80 ERA in 25 postseason innings. He had 39 K’s, but 12 BB’s. All while working through what looked like two blisters. In 61.1 career postseason innings, he now has a 2.35 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 83 strikeouts.

Which go perfectly with his 3.15 career ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and a 10+ K per 9 innings. He is already 26 if there is anything to hold against this guy, but it just seems like a matter of time before he starts collecting Cy Youngs.

Barring any setbacks in the next few years, the Dodgers should not even let Buehler test the market. They should give him the Kershaw treatment and offer him somewhere in the realm of 7 years, $210 million.

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