first_img How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season SAN DIEGO — If the Dodgers are going to land one of the remaining top-tier free agents this winter, it might require them to do something they have largely avoided – engage in a bidding war at the top of the market.One of the top three free agents available, right-hander Stephen Strasburg, agreed to a seven-year, $245 million contract Monday to return to the Washington Nationals. The deal is the largest ever signed by a pitcher.“I think it was a great deal for Stephen and obviously a great deal from the Nationals’ standpoint,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said of the news. “I always think it’s great when there’s a homegrown player that’s potentially signed up to finish his career in the same place. There’s something nostalgic about that for me.”In practical terms, it impacts the Dodgers’ offseason in two ways. In 2015, they made an aggressive offer to right-hander Zack Greinke after he exercised an opt-out clause in his contract with them (believed to be for five years and $155 million). That was topped not only by the Arizona Diamondbacks, who signed Greinke for six years and $206.5 million, but by an offer from the San Francisco Giants.And in 2016-17, the Dodgers added a fifth year to their offer to closer Kenley Jansen, who was prepared to sign with the Nationals.POSITION SWITCHIf the Dodgers do sign Rendon – or Donaldson, another free agent third baseman they are believed to be interested in – it would mean some changes in a crowded infield. Friedman acknowledged that he has talked with incumbent third baseman Justin Turner about the possibility of playing another position in 2020.“Not surprisingly, JT’s mindset is – ‘Whatever puts us in the best position to win. Whatever, whenever,” Friedman said. “Not surprising.”If Turner is asked to play another position, Friedman said it would be “a safe assumption” that he would move to first base, not second. That would leave a logjam of Max Muncy, Gavin Lux and Corey Seager (all left-handed hitters) at second base and shortstop and likely make newly-minted NL MVP Cody Bellinger a full-time outfielder.Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Turner, who recently turned 35, will be in the final year of his contract in 2020. By most metrics, his defense at third base has declined the past two years. But Friedman said he views that “as more of a one-year aberration” than a sign of decline.“Just knowing him, knowing his work ethic, knowing all he’ll put into it, coupled with when you play as much as he does, when you get on base as much as he does, nagging things pop up and I think they can have an effect on guys on defense – I’ll bet on him to put in the work this winter and be in a really good spot going into next year,” Friedman said. “That being said, I also anticipate him playing a lot and being on base a lot which means he could develop some nagging injuries from that. But I’ll bet on him to put himself in the best position.”ALSOJosh Bard is rejoining the Dodgers’ coaching staff as bullpen coach, replacing Mark Prior who will replace Rick Honeycutt as pitching coach. Bard was on Dave Roberts’ original staff before leaving to become bench coach on Aaron Boone’s New York Yankees staff the past two seasons. Strasburg’s deal sets a very high floor for the other top free-agent pitcher, right-hander Gerrit Cole. Strasburg and Cole are both represented by Scott Boras, who is reportedly aiming for an eight- to 10-year deal for Cole worth more than $300 million. The New York Yankees and Angels are expected to duke it out financially for Cole’s services with the Dodgers interested but likely not as motivated.At the same time, the Nationals’ commitment to Strasburg makes it less likely that they will be able to re-sign third baseman Anthony Rendon as well. Also represented by Boras, Rendon could command a contract approaching the eight-year, $260-million extension Nolan Arenado signed with the Colorado Rockies in February. Principal Nationals owner Mark Lerner said recently that “we really can only afford to have one of” Strasburg and Rendon – a stance Nationals GM Mike Rizzo tried to modify Monday following Strasburg’s signing.“This ownership group has never shied away from putting the resources together to field a championship-caliber club. I don’t see them in any way hindering us from going after the elite players in the game,” Rizzo said. “I think that Mark realizes that there’s ways to fit players in. There’s ways that you can field a championship-caliber roster. And, again, the resources have always been there, so I don’t expect that to change.”In addition to the Nationals, the Texas Rangers are known to have keen interest in Rendon (a Texas native). The Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves (if Josh Donaldson moves on) are also potential suitors.Under Friedman, the Dodgers have been linked to some of the most expensive free agents each winter but, from all indications, have avoided a back-and-forth bidding war except for two cases.last_img

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