As we look ahead to 2014, the first step is taking stock of the roster. The 40-man roster is currently full, but it’s really 45 when you include injured 60-day disabled list players. Here’s how this all breaks down:
Combined, these 11 guys account for about $166m for 2014. Billingsley, of course, is unlikely to be ready for Opening Day, while Beckett’s health (and effectiveness) is anyone’s guess until we get a look at him. We’ll be hearing rumors about trading one of the outfielders (and League, possibly) all winter long.
Signing Kershaw is obviously a huge priority for the winter, as he has one more year of arbitration remaining before free agency. I did see the report that indicated the Dodgers offered him $300m, but that doesn’t pass the sniff test for me — it’s insane for the team to have offered that, it’s more insane for him to have declined. I think it’ll get done for something like 8/$220m.
Elbert, who missed the season and had Tommy John surgery in June, is a potential non-tender candidate. (As are Butera & Moylan, and maybe even Baxter too.) The fact that Jansen is on this list for the first time shows what a ludicrous value he is, and how you never, ever, need to overspend on a “veteran closer”. (I should admit that I’m not 100% certain on Moylan’s status. If my math is right, he falls just barely a few days service time short of free agency.)
Under team control (14): Tim Federowicz, Dee Gordon, Elian Herrera, Justin Sellers, Scott Van Slyke, Chili Buss, Javy Guerra, Matt Magill, Paco Rodriguez, Chris Withrow, Stephen Fife, Onelki Garcia, Jose Dominguez, Shawn Tolleson
These are the younger players with less than three years of service time, who can simply be renewed for the minimum. Sellers & Herrera are easily DFA’d should roster space become an issue.
At 9am ET on the first day following the World Series — that’s November 1 if it goes a full seven games — these 10 Dodgers become free agents. Other than Marmol, Nolasco, & Young, who were traded for during the season, the Dodgers have the right to offer any of their free agents a qualifying offer, which would be $14.1m for one year. That seems exceptionally unlikely for any of them. It’s likely that two or three of these guys return, but the majority won’t.
Capuano has a $1m buyout of an $8m 2014 option that will all but certainly be declined, though it’s possible he returns at a lesser salary in a swingman role. Ellis has a $5.75m option that, despite his shortcomings, isn’t entirely unreasonable. If the Dodgers can lock down Alexander Guerrero, Ellis is likely gone, but that’s not certain yet.
Assuming both options are declined, the Dodgers will have 33 spots on the 40-man. If you figure they retain two or three of their free agents, add two or three prospects to protect them from the Rule V draft, and add a few new players, they’ll need to clear some room. Guys like Sellers and Herrera might be best served to not get comfortable this winter, though I feel like I’ve been saying that about Sellers for three years now.