Dodgers Offseason Review/Player Breakdown

This offseason, Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers were tasked not with proving they belong amongst the best teams in baseball, but showing out and making certain they could be better than the rest. Although Friedman has been criticized in the past for operating with somewhat of a “small-market mindset,” the moves he has made in the past to stock-pile talent in the Dodgers’ minor league system have finally paid off. The Dodgers made some of the biggest acquisitions of any team in baseball this offseason, and look to be in prime position to compete for a long-awaited World Series title in 2020. Here’s a little information about each of the noteworthy players the Dodgers made acquisitions of this winter:

Blake Treinen

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The Dodgers first big move of the winter was a one year deal worth $10M, bringing 2018 AL Reliever of the Year award winner Blake Treinen to Los Angeles. Treinen’s 2018 season was a historic one. The AL All-Star recorded a 0.78 ERA over 80.1 innings pitched, collecting the second-highest bWAR total of a relief pitcher in a single season since the turn of the century. By fWAR, unanimous Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera’s 1996 season is the only season in the legendary reliever’s career that out-did Treinen’s 2018 season.

However, Treinen’s follow up season after his incredible 2018 was nothing less than awful. Treinen tossed 58.2 innings during the 2019 season, posting a 4.91 ERA and a negative fWAR for the first time in his career. Treinen showed he was capable of greatness in 2018 despite a disappointing 2019, and Friedman and the Dodgers have a strong belief in a bounce-back year from Treinen in 2020. Only time will tell.

Jimmy Nelson

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If there’s one thing Andrew Friedman is known for, it’s buying low and winning big. The Dodgers will look for Jimmy Nelson to be another player who shows out after flying under the radar in free agency.

Nelson played a big role in the Milwaukee Brewers starting rotation during the 2017 season, throwing 175.1 innings for Milwaukee while holding a 3.49 ERA before suffering a shoulder injury that held him out of the entire 2018 season. Nelson’s 2019 season was brief, pitching in only twenty-two innings. However, now a full year removed from his injury, the Dodgers expect Nelson to make a positive impact on the mound in 2020.

Alex Wood

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Returning to the Dodgers in 2020, Alex Wood signed a one year, $4M deal this winter after the trade two Decembers ago that sent him to Cincinnati. Alex Wood, Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, and Kyle Farmer were involved in a trade following the 2018 season between the Dodgers and Reds that sent Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray to Los Angeles.

In his time in Cincinnati, Wood spent a large amount of time on the injured list. But, when he did play, he accrued 35.2 innings pitched in seven starts. In those starts, Wood held a 5.80 ERA. Although Wood had a poor 2019, the notable sinkerball pitcher has a history of good pitching. In 2017, Wood made the National League All-Star team after starting the season 10-0. The Dodgers will look for Wood to make a strong comeback in 2020.

Brusdar Graterol

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In the final week of the offseason, the Dodgers completed two big trades to bolster the roster and boost the team to best-in-the-league status. One of these trades was with the Minnesota Twins. The Dodgers sent starting pitcher Kenta Maeda and cash considerations to Minnesota in return for Brusdar Graterol, Luke Raley, and the 67th pick in the 2020 June first-year player draft.

In the newest edition of Baseball America’s top 100 prospects in Major League Baseball, Graterol ranked 60th. Baseball America describes Graterol as a pitcher who “with no more seasoning at all…could jump into the back of the bullpen and overpower hitters with his power arsenal.” Baseball America’s ETA for Graterol to make the jump to the big leagues is 2020.

David Price

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As baseball’s third-highest paid pitcher, David Price has a history of being amongst some of the best pitching talents in the game. With the Red Sox fighting in the toughest division in Major League Baseball, all the while knowing the division title almost already belongs to the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox have decided to cut down on their payroll and begin a sort of retooling process. Their first order of business: trading David Price to Los Angeles. Price is due $32M in salary this season. As part of the trade between the Dodgers and the Red Sox, Boston agreed to pay half of Price’s remaining contract, lowering his hit to Boston’s payroll to $16M per year until 2022.

Since joining the Red Sox in 2016, Price has recorded 10.6 points of fWAR in ninety-eight starts. Before his time in Boston, Price became the first pitcher in Tampa Bay Rays history to win the Cy Young award, doing so in 2012. Although he isn’t likely to exhibit his ace form as he did in Tampa Bay, Price plugs in very nicely at the third spot in the Dodgers’ starting rotation.

Mookie Betts

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The crowning gem of the Dodgers offseason, 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts. Along with David Price, the Dodgers acquired Mookie Betts from the Red Sox in the offseason’s biggest trade. The trade sent Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs, and Connor Wong to Boston.

Betts is without a doubt one of baseball’s best players. His combination of power hitting in the lineup, speed to bat lead-off and steal bases regularly, and league-best fielding in right-field makes Betts nothing short of a generational talent. In the last three seasons, Betts has 22.4 points of fWAR. The only other player with more than 20.0 in that timeframe is Mike Trout. According to Baseball Savant, Betts is in the 92nd projectile of OAA. Both at the plate and in the field, Betts is one of the most exciting players in baseball. Barring an unforeseen injury, Betts will be a top competitor for NL MVP in 2020.