The Dodgers are typically active at each free agency period considering they consistently maintain one of the highest payrolls in Major League Baseball.
As the club looks ahead to future off-seasons, the pool of true, impact players shrunk significantly in recent days.
Here is a list of players who were potential 2020 free agents but have recently signed extensions:
Nolan Arenado, Rockies (8 years, $260 million)
Chris Sale, Red Sox (6 years, $160 million)
Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals (5 years, $130 million)
Justin Verlander, Astros (2 years, $66 million)
Aaron Hicks, Yankees (7 years, $70 million)
Miles Mikolas, Cardinals (4 years, $68 million)
That list bodes some of the biggest and brightest stars in the majors. Although there are impact players in the current pool, the fact that those types of players could still sign extensions at some point looms over the Dodgers’ future free agency plans.
Dodgers’ 2020 Free Agents
The Dodgers have their own share of possible free agents that would downsize their pitching staff:
Cream of the Current 2020 Class
Here is a look at some other potential 2020 free agents that could be of interest to the Dodgers:
Gerrit Cole, Astros
Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
Anthony Rendon, Nationals
JD Martinez, Red Sox
Zack Wheeler, Mets
Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals
Yasiel Puig, Reds
Khris Davis, A’s
Scooter Gennett, Reds
Dellin Betances, Yankees
Nicholas Castellanos, Tigers
Stephen Strasburg, Nationals (potentially)
Madison Bumgarner, Giants (…)
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Now, let’s hone in on a group of five guys the Dodgers should be heavily interested in the upcoming free agency period:
Gerrit Cole, SP
2018: 200 1/3 IP, 276 Ks, 2.88 ERA, 2.55 DRA, 2.70 FIP
Career: 982 2/3 IP, 1010 Ks, 3.37 ERA, 3.18 DRA, 3.15 FIP
His numbers are very strong and at age 28, Cole could be tendered a contract with similar value to the deal the Nationals gave Patrick Corbin this offseason (6 years, $140M) with an even higher total value.
Contract Guess: 6 years, $150 million
JD Martinez, OF
2018: .330/.402/.629, 170 wRC+, 5.9 WAR
2014-2018: .307/.371/.586, 154 wRC+, 21 WAR (670 games)
He is still only 31 years old and has posted the 3rd-highest wRC+ in the last five seasons among all players with over 500 games played, behind only Mike Trout and Joey Votto. He also has well-documented strong ties to Robert Van Scoyoc.
Contract Guess: 3 years, $93 million
Scooter Gennett, 2B
2018: .310/.357/.490, 125 wRC+, 4.5 WAR
2017-2018: .303/.351/.508, 124 wRC+, 6.7 WAR
At age 28, Gennett is still a candidate to maintain a solid level of production for at least a few more seasons. Over the past two seasons with Cincinnati, Gennett has posted the 3rd-highest wRC+ and 6th-highest WAR among qualified second basemen.
Contract Guess: 4 years, $56 million
Dellin Betances, RP
2018: 66 2/3 IP, 115 Ks, 2.70 ERA, 2.15 DRA, 2.47 FIP
Career: 381 IP, 619 Ks, 2.36 ERA, 2.39 DRA, 2.32 FIP
Betances, a sneaky 31-year-old, is one of the true elite non-closers in baseball. He could act as a strong bridge to Kenley Jansen should the Dodgers retain him. Fun fact: Dellin Betances boasts the 3rd-highest strikeouts per nine in the history of baseball, only trailing Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel.
Contract Guess: 3 years, $42 million
Zack Wheeler, SP
2018 totals: 182 1/3 IP, 179 Ks, 3.31 ERA, 3.01 DRA, 3.25 FIP
2018 2nd Half: 75 IP, 73 Ks, 1.68 ERA, 2.53 FIP
Wheeler is 28 years old and is finally delivering on his once top-prospect status. His second half was obviously elite and he could become a third ace for the Mets this season. He is not as established as the other four members of this list but he is a guy that could be of keen interest for LA.
Contract Guess: 5 years, $90 million
With the Dodgers financially flexible in the near future ($111.8 million in 2020 commitment and $89.1 million in 2021 commitment), they could choose to immerse themselves in the 2020 free agent market or a 2021 free agent class that includes Mookie Betts, Trevor Bauer, and potentially Giancarlo Stanton. They could also choose to allocate funds to current members of the team by locking up Corey Seager, Walker Buehler, or even Cody Bellinger long-term.
It is an way-too-early look at the financials, but the Dodgers could be in for a big offseason in 2020.