Los Angeles’ riskiest MLB offseason move
The Los Angeles Dodgers have had a quiet offseason for the most part. Their primary MLB free agency moves revolved around the signings of OF/DH JD Martinez and SP Noah Syndergaard. Los Angeles later acquired INF Miguel Rojas from the Miami Marlins in a trade. The Dodgers made a number of other low-profile moves. But Martinez, Syndergaard and Rojas represent their standout acquisitions.
So what was the Dodgers’ riskiest MLB path of the offseason?
The Dodgers’ riskiest MLB offseason move
Miguel Rojas doesn’t offer much risk, but not much reward either. It’s a solid contact racquet that will be a capable option for short stops or in a versatile role. LA are expected to have Rojas and Gavin Lux at shortstop in the meantime.
Rojas, who began his career in Los Angeles with the Dodgers, is a career 260 hitter. He doesn’t offer much pop, but he’s also never struck more than 74 times in a single season.
The Dodgers gave up only one prospect in the form of Jacob Amaya to acquire Rojas from Miami. Amaya has the potential to become a premier big league infielder, but he didn’t fit the Dodgers’ current needs. They’ve already hired young players for big roles in Lux and Miguel Vargas.
The Rojas trade was a safe move for LA.
The signing of JD Martinez comes with some risk, but he’s just coming off an all-star campaign with the Boston Red Sox. Martinez will likely be the Dodgers’ DH this year.
He hit over .270 with .790 OPS and 16 homers in 2022. It wasn’t a spectacular season, but it was productive nonetheless. And in 2021, Martinez hit 28 home runs with an OPS of .867.
Martinez’s signing doesn’t come with much of a risk either. LA only paid $10 million to sign him, and if he struggles or gets injured, the Dodgers lineup can go on. But its ceiling is high.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Martinez had another All-Star caliber year in 2023.
So that leaves Noah Syndergaard.
Signing Noah Syndergaard isn’t the riskiest move ever. But he’s expected to play a big part in the Dodgers’ rotation.
Los Angeles eventually signed Syndergaard with a base salary of $13 million. The Dodgers are hoping he will have a Tyler Anderson/Andrew Heaney-type season and turn his career around. But Syndergaard has a worrying injury history.
He was able to serve in 25 games in 2022. But he only served in 2 games in 2021 and sat out during the truncated 2020 season. If Syndergaard struggles or gets injured, it could result in the Dodgers calling up one of their best pitching prospects. It would also put additional pressure on Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May to take over the rotation.
That being said, Noah Syndergaard could very well get back on track in LA. The Dodgers have a long history of getting the best out of their pitchers.
The Dodgers lost more star power during the offseason than they gained. But this is still a talented ball club that is more than competitive in the NL West.
In the end, none of the Dodgers’ offseason moves carry immense risk. But signing Noah Syndergaard is the riskiest takeover they’ve made.
It will be interesting to see how Rojas, Martinez and Syndergaard ultimately fare with the Dodgers in 2023.
*Stats via baseball reference.