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Answering the Dodgers’ Supreme Offseason Questions After NLCS Playoff Exit

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    After a disappointing NLCS exit, the Los Angeles Dodgers will be in for an offseason of replace.

    Familiar faces Corey Seager, Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen and Chris Taylor are all free brokers, as is reduce-off date pickup Max Scherzer, and maintaining all five of those guys appears now not in point of fact even with the crew’s spending vitality.

    There could be furthermore a mountainous decision to make on the formula ahead for Cody Bellinger after he struggled mightily in 2021.

    With the starting up up of but another long, cool offseason true round the nook, it’s price taking a nearer ogle at the largest questions going thru a Dodgers crew that has the spending vitality to reshape the MLB landscape with the selections it makes this winter.

    Let’s accumulate to it.

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    Ask: Will Cody Bellinger be tendered a contract?

    Upright two years eradicated from winning NL MVP honors, Cody Bellinger turn out to be one among the least productive gamers in baseball right thru the 2021 season. He hit .165/.240/.302 for a irascible 45 OPS+ that ranked 260th out of 262 hitters with now not now not up to 300 plate appearances, and his minus-1.5 WAR made him one among the least precious gamers in the full lot of the sport.

    Since he obtained his MVP award sooner than being arbitration-eligible for the major time, he obtained a list $11.5 million in his first year of arbitration, and that climbed to $16.1 million in 2021.

    Despite the proven fact that the Dodgers had been to push for a pay reducewhich is extraordinarily uncommona player’s salary can simplest be slashed by 20 p.c right thru his arbitration years. That could aloof indicate a $12.9 million salary figure for the 2023 season. In all likelihood, a matching $16.1 million salary is what it’ll designate to buy Bellinger for but another year.

    He went 7-for-17 in the NLCS and hit a game-tying, three-speed homer in the eighth inning of Game 3, but is that sufficient to assassinate out five months of unsuitable production?

    The neatest formula would be to non-gentle him with the hope of re-signing him to a unique deal at a decrease designate point. That’s what the Chicago White Sox did with Carlos Rodon final offseason, and it’s been performed plenty of cases sooner than. That could indicate exposing him to free company and opening the door for but another particular person to swoop in with the next provide, but that is a effort price taking.

    The reduce-off date to gentle contracts for arbitration-eligible gamers is Dec. 1.

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    Ask: Is Kenley Jansen fragment of the crew’s future plans?

    With a $20 million salary in 2021, nearer Kenley Jansen turn out to be the fourth-highest-paid player on the Dodgers roster and the highest-paid reduction pitcher in all of baseball.

    This will also be inviting to search out out about what fabricate of market awaits him this offseason now that he has played out his five-year, $80 million deal and must be coming into his age-34 season.

    After shedding his abet on the nearer’s feature right thru the 2020 postseason, Jansen rebounded by changing 38 of 43 assign potentialities this year with a 2.22 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings in 69 appearances.

    On the other hand, he furthermore issued 4.7 walks per nine innings—his highest total since his rookie season in 2010—and he has transformed his formula as his trademark cutter has modified into much less efficient, throwing more sinkers and sliders than ever sooner than.

    With Blake Treinen signed thru 2023 and able to closing video games, and younger relievers Brusdar Graterol, Phil Bickford, Alex Vesia and Victor Gonzalez controllable for a number of years, the Dodgers own a lawful bullpen core in verbalize.

    They stand to lose Corey Knebel and Jimmy Nelson in free company and own a $12 million membership possibility on Joe Kelly that is on the final declined, but they would conceivably let all of those guys and Jansen lope and aloof own a solid reduction corps.

    A two-year, $20 million provide appears admire intelligent market worth for Jansen. Originate that provide, feel free if he accepts it and pass on if he does now not.

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    Ask: Will there be any long-time duration extensions handed out?

    The Dodgers own made it a indicate buy their own high free brokers in recent years, and they furthermore signed Mookie Betts and Max Muncy to multiyear extensions sooner than they reached free company.

    They’ve a series of more pressing issues to support to, but shortstop Trea Turner and true-hander Walker Buehler are every high candidates to discuss a long-time duration extension with this winter.

    Turner has one closing year of arbitration final in 2022 sooner than he hits the starting up market, and if the figuring out is to let Corey Seager lope this offseason, locking up Turner would must be a high priority.

    Buehler, 27, signed a two-year, $8 million deal final February to rob out his first two years of arbitration, but he aloof has two more years of arbitration final in 2023 and 2024 sooner than he reaches free company sooner than his age-30 season.

    Neither player will arrive cheap, but every are indispensable gadgets of the crew’s long-time duration plans. It’d be helpful to now not now not up to build up the ball rolling on extension talks this spring.

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    Ask: Is Corey Seager leaving a foregone conclusion?

    It turn out to be alluded to in the final skedaddle, however the replace reduce-off date deal to carry out Trea Turner from the Washington Nationals looked to arrive with some unmistakable writing on the wall that Corey Seager’s days in a Dodgers uniform had been numbered.

    In spite of missing 65 video games with a fractured hand, Seager had but another terrific season in 2021, hitting .306/.394/.521 with 22 doubles, 16 dwelling runs and 57 RBI whereas tallying 3.7 WAR. Since the starting up up of ultimate year, he has a 147 OPS+ and 5.8 WAR in 147 video games.

    Even the deep-pocketed Dodgers can’t abet everyone, though.

    A heart infield of Gavin Lux and Turner could aloof be among the league’s most productive, especially if Lux could make off his solid offensive carry out to the year. The 23-year-extinct hit .360/.467/.500 in his closing 60 plate appearances, and he is controllable the total arrangement thru the 2026 season.

    Given his age and production, Seager could dispute a deal in the ballpark of the 10-year, $300 million deal Manny Machado signed with the San Diego Padres. Or now not it’s difficult to fit that style of commitment into the Dodgers’ long-time duration yelp if Turner goes to be sticking round.

    Let him lope, buy the draft hold and hammer out a long-time duration take care of Turner.

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    Ask: How remarkable is goal too remarkable for Chris Taylor?

    A mountainous motive Enrique Hernandez walked final offseason turn out to be to pursue an day after day feature, one thing he had now not been afforded right thru his time with the Dodgers and could now not be promised in 2021. He finally signed a two-year, $14 million take care of the Boston Crimson Sox and produced a stellar 4.9-WAR season.

    For a Dodgers crew that values defensive versatility as remarkable as any membership in baseball, shedding Hernandez and fellow Swiss Military knife Chris Taylor in consecutive offseasons would be a tricky pill to swallow.

    Taylor, 31, turn out to be an All-Wide title for the major time this season whereas enjoying double-digit video games at five varied positions and hitting right thru the Dodgers lineup. He posted a 110 OPS+ with 25 doubles, 20 dwelling runs, 73 RBI, 92 runs scored and 13 steals in 14 attempts, and under the ground he slashed his strikeout rate from 28.7 p.c to a career-low 20.9.

    For an encore, he hit a lope-off dwelling speed in the NL Wild Card Game and had a three-homer game in Game 5 of the NLCS.

    With his arrow pointing straight up and his versatility making him a fit on any crew in baseball, the marketplace for his companies and products goes to be sturdy, and the four-year, $56 million deal that Ben Zobrist signed when he joined the Chicago Cubs appears to be like admire an inexpensive place to starting up in negotiations.

    He’s to boot-known as any player on the Dodgers roster, and the front verbalize of business must be ready to fulfill or exceed any provide within motive that he gets on the starting up market this winter. If that implies going to a fifth year or eclipsing $15 million per annum, so be it.

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    Ask: How will the Trevor Bauer danger be resolved?

    On July 2, the Dodgers placed Trevor Bauer on seven-day administrative ride away following allegations of sexual assault. That ride away turn out to be extended a number of cases and finally thru the pause of the 2021 postseason, but a decision on his future will must be made one day this offseason.

    On Aug. 31, Jeff Passan of ESPN wrote:

    “In spite of whether Bauer is charged with a crime, sources round the sport told ESPN they search knowledge from the league to levy a main suspension against the 30-year-extinct. Extra, front-verbalize of business officials search knowledge from now not lawful whether the reigning Nationwide League Cy Younger Award winner will return to the enviornment with the Dodgers but whether any crew in MLB will be appealing to roster him after a number of ladies folk own accused him of abuse.”

    The Dodgers will owe Bauer $35.3 million in 2022 if he decides to opt into the 2nd season of the three-year, $102 million deal he signed final offseason, though a suspension would affect his pay. On the other hand, previous the monetary commitment and any doable suspension is the search knowledge from of whether he would be welcomed aid to the Dodgers locker room.

    Passan wrote: “Inner the Dodgers clubhouse, they’ve roughly moved on. … That talked about, there turn out to be a definite pocket of veterans on the crew who did now not need Bauer anyplace come them again. There turn out to be furthermore a group of gamers who would own welcomed Bauer aid. The gamers had been now not unanimous of their judgment, but when ever there could be a degree at which Bauer tries to return, those in opposition are inclined to make their voices heard louder than the comfort.”

    There just isn’t one of these thing as a sense speculating what a suspension could ogle admire or if he’ll ever pitch for the Dodgers again, but there must be some clarity to Bauer’s future in Los Angeles this offseason.

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    Ask: Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw or every?

    Dawdle ahead and pencil Walker Buehler and Julio Urias into spots in the Dodgers rotation in 2022. The assorted three spots…

    Dustin Could well perchance likely could now not be ready for Opening Day after present process Tommy John surgery in Could well perchance, leaving Tony Gonsolin as potentially the most productive obvious in-dwelling candidate for a situation. Worn David Value would furthermore be an possibility to return to a corpulent-time starting feature. That makes the decision on what to cease with future Hall of Famers Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw in free company potentially the most compelling of the offseason.

    Scherzer, 37, will likely hit the starting up market because the 2021 NL Cy Younger winner after posting a 2.46 ERA and 0.86 WHIP with 236 strikeouts in 179.1 innings. He turns 38 in July and ranks fifth among interesting pitchers with 2,536.2 career innings, so a long-time duration deal is now not in point of fact.

    On the other hand, a two-year, $74 million contract to make him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball is now not out of the search knowledge from. That could now not be an overly dreadful pass for a Dodgers crew with money coming off the books in the short time duration.

    Kershaw, 33, uncared for more than two months with elbow inflammation and wound up staring at from the sidelines right thru the postseason whereas going thru forearm discomfort. He turn out to be aloof efficient when wholesome, though, posting a 3.55 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 144 strikeouts in 121.2 innings over 22 starts.

    He lawful wrapped up a three-year, $93 million deal, which represented a minor pay reduce relative to his previous contract. Yet one more shrimp pay reduce to one thing in the ballpark of a three-year, $75 million deal will be a lawful heart ground for all aspects.

    Except varied groups are appealing to roll the dice on additional years, search knowledge from the Dodgers to cease what it takes to abet every pitchers round for 2022.

    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.

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