Dodgers talking to Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg, Kevin Gausman
As is common with every single offseason for the sport of baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers are reported to have interest in signing some of the biggest and best free agents. And the 2019 offseason is no different, as reports have surfaced connecting the Dodgers and Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg, and Kevin Gausman.
USA Today columnist and well-known baseball writer Bob Nightengale said that the team has quietly been displaying their interest in this grouping of players this winter, in hopes that they can bring an influx of talent to this team to finally get them over that hump to win a World Series. While their domination of the National League West divisional crown is very easy to see and understand, their constant faltering in the playoffs remains to be that final hurdle that they must overcome.
The best third baseman and two of the ten-best free agent starting pitchers on the open market ae quite a wide net to cast for the Dodgers, but in order to at least bring in some talent, it helps to talk to anyone and everyone. While reports of these conversations being two-way streets remain to be confirmed, but the likelihood of the Dodgers being interested in all three of these players has got to mean something.
For Rendon, he would immediately slot into the cleanup role in the Dodgers’ batting order and become their starting third baseman, moving Justin Turner over to first base on a mostly-regular timeframe, pushing 2019 NL Most Valuable Player Cody Bellinger into just outfield duties and making Max Muncy lose one source of decently-regular playing time moving forward. While the addition of Rendon would be a welcomed sight for this team, the problem here lies in how the rest of the team would need to be shaped around him.
Reports of the Dodgers willing to listen to trade talks focused on both some of their highest-paid players and some of their players that are losing playing time makes sense in a lot of different ways.
For someone like Joc Pederson, his time playing in the outfield would surely shrink if Rendon was brought in, especially with how the infield would need to be shifted around to accommodate that acquisition. With Bellinger playing right field pretty much exclusively, Pederson’s role would become a spot starter and a bench pinch hitter, which he is way too good to settle for this early into his professional career.
With their interest in both Strasburg and Gausman, the money amounts would vary a ton. Obviously, Strasburg is the better pitcher of the two and would command the subsequent monetary amount, but adding Gausman to the middle or end of their rotation would be a really savvy move to help shore up a weaker area of their team in a cheaper way.
With the defending champions, the Washington Nationals, looking to try and repeat their postseason success in 2020 and beyond, having to pay both Rendon and Strasburg massive amounts of money in the same offseason is tough, most likely forcing this team to make a decision as to who they would value the most. While all signs point to favoring Rendon, Strasburg has become a huge asset to the Nationals, but with how their starting rotation is already set up with both Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin more than capable to fill the gap, the decision looks to already be made up.
Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how the Dodgers handle this offseason. With players like Mike Moustakas, Zack Wheeler, and Yasmani Grandal all commanding four-plus year contracts worth a ton of money, the market value of the remaining players seems to rise exponentially.
With their penchant to spend big on players that seem to not pan out (Yu Darvish, Carl Crawford, etc.), this offseason could be a sign of a change in the tide, as if they were able to bring in someone like Rendon or Strasburg, or in the unlikely situation both, then the rest of the NL would need to be put on high alert, as there would most likely become a new favorite to represent the league in the 2020 World Series.