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Dodgers Offseason: Insider Feels LA Will Keep a Closer Eye on Payroll for Next Season

Over at The Athletic, they’ve put together a list of “free agency and trade predictions” for each of the 30 MLB teams. The predictions mostly come from beat writers who cover the teams, and the Dodgers prediction comes from Fabian Ardaya, who does a great job covering Los Angeles for the site.

Ardaya’s prediction is that the Dodgers will spend less money in 2023 than they did in 2022.

Payroll will go down. This might not be particularly bold — the Dodgers just missed paying the “Cohen Tax” level of the luxury tax this season, and it’s hard to expect them to want to spend more than that. They have a decision to make on Justin Turner’s $16 million club option. Non-tendering Cody Bellinger could save them a sizable amount of money. Trea Turner, Clayton Kershaw and Tyler Anderson are free agents. While Andrew Friedman wouldn’t signal much either way in terms of payroll, he did acknowledge that the Dodgers have several prospects at or near the big leagues who could play roles on the big-league club, which would lower payroll by default.

As Ardaya notes, Friedman mentioned the prospects L.A. has on the horizon, and team CEO Stan Kasten made similar comments in his interview with Bill Plaschke recently. While it’s very likely Los Angeles will lower their payroll, the extent will largely be determined by how much they’re willing to commit to a youth movement. Interestingly, the most expensive possible acquisition this offseason — either Trea Turner or one of the other top free agent shortstops — is the one area they don’t have a built-in replacement available in the minors. They could move Gavin Lux to short and call up Michael Busch to play second, but it’s unclear whether they’d really be comfortable with Lux at shortstop.

The Dodgers will remain willing to spend money where it makes sense, but this offseason might be one where it makes sense to drop the payroll and let the kids play a little bit.

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