As Spring Training comes to a close and our roster becomes solidified, I wanted to create a quick recap to the major moves of the past offseason with some commentary.
Free Agents: Kenley Jansen, Rich Hill, Brett Anderson, J.P. Howell, Joe Blanton, Jesse Chavez, Justin Turner, Chase Utley, and Josh Reddick
Nov 7 – Dodgers extend Turner and Jansen the QO.
Obvious good move here. Turner has put a great past 3 seasons here in LA, and the red-headed third baseball was a key piece to our lineup especially last season. Jansen is invaluable as a top-3 closer in the MLB. His value may not be high on a metrics base using WAR, but the series against Washington (and pretty much every postseason series last year) showed the power of a closer during the playoffs.
Nov 11 – Howie Kendrick traded for the Phillies for first baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf and minor leaguer Darnell Sweeney.
As much as I love Howie, I saw this move coming for two reasons. 1) Huge decline in production and lack of power (0.5 WAR, 0.691 OPS and only 0.366 SLG last year) and 2) Howie likely wanted out because of negative feelings towards the FO last year offering the QO to him last year by which ruining his contract negotiations. The Dodgers save a decent amount of payroll, which is a necessary to keep offering those massive contracts. Looks like the FO’s plan is to platoon 2nd base at this point in the offseason.
Dec 1 – Chris Hatcher, Scott Van Slyke and Charlie Culberson agree to one-year contracts for 2017.
Yay! I love me some Culberson (needs work, but I see the potential) and Van Slyke always has that potential to smack the crap out of lefties if he stays healthy. Hatcher got a lot of well-deserved hate last year, but there are worse relievers.
Dec. 5 – Free agent starting Rich Hill signs a 3-year, $48 million contract to return.
Rich Hill’s War Numbers the past 5 years of his 30s: 0.8, -1.2, 0.2, 1.6, 4.1. Rich Hill is an awesome story of how to reinvent oneself as a MLB-caliber pitcher, but I’m a bit worried about this contract. We are paying for 1 or 2 good seasons from the soon to be 37 year old-only-two-pitch master. He pitched phenomenally for us after the trade deadline last season, so I’m looking forward to him keeping up that sort of production (JUST PLEASE STAY HEALTHY AND NO BLISTERS FFFFFF).
Dec. 23 – Third baseball Justin Turner signs a 4-year, $64 million free agent contract (!!!)
Justin Turner is the current de facto leader, heart-and-soul of this baseball team’s offense. After a monster two last years (4.1 and 5.6 fWAR), it was a key move to secure Turner even if a slight overpay was required. This contract was more than we could have asked for. Turner could have commanded $20 million in the 3rd baseman-devoid market. I remember some had projected a $100/5 year deal. Fangraphs has the ginger giant projected to 3.8 WAR, which would be valued at an amazing $4.21 million/WAR.
Part 2 will go over the Jansen, Romo, and Utley signings and the Logan Forsythe trade!