Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says “word is” the Dodgers may try for “another big free-agent starter.”
And it’s pretty easy to believe those whispers.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the Dodgers have $210.1 million in salary commitments for 2013 and will pay another $22 million in luxury tax (for a total sum of $233+ million). But their new 25-year local television contract with FOX Sports West is going to bring in over $240 million per season and so they’re still — as amazing as it might sound — operating with great comfort financially.
The Cardinals, for comparison, make under $30 million annually from their television rights deal with FOX Sports Midwest, which is locked in through 2017. Their player payroll in 2012 was just over $110 million.
The Dodgers could sign Anibal Sanchez, or Kyle Lohse, or finally work out an agreement with Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-Jin, knowing full well that the club will still be highly profitable. Big national television money is coming, and Dodger Stadium hosts three million fans practically very summer. Then there’s the high-dollar revenue from things like merchandise, concessions and parking.
Handing a record-breaking free agent contract to a guy who’s not even an ace seems crazy, but it simply isn’t for the Dodgers. And they’re not done yet.
Free agent outfielder A.J. Pollock has landed on the Dodgers’ radar, and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal says the two appear to be in discussions regarding a deal for 2019. Terms of any prospective deal have not been released, but interest is presumed to be fairly high as he checks two boxes on their wish list: that of a right-handed hitter and an experienced centerfielder.
Pollock, 31, rounded out a seven-year career with the Diamondbacks in 2018. While he was sidelined for nearly seven weeks after fracturing his left thumb on a dive gone wrong, he finished the season batting a hearty .257/.316/.484 with a career-best 21 home runs, 13 steals (in 15 chances), and 2.5 fWAR across 460 plate appearances. He received a $17.9 million qualifying offer from the club at the end of the year and elected to enter free agency in hopes of a better deal, which some have estimated at five years and $80 million.
So far, it’s not clear whether teams are willing to meet those terms. Pollock profiles as both a solid hitter and defender, but he hasn’t played a season in full health since 2015, which may be a deal-breaker for those in search of long-term talent. Even with that caveat, however, the Dodgers are far from the only club willing to enter negotiations with the outfielder this winter. The Braves have been linked to Pollock since December, and the Mets and Reds have expressed varying levels of interest as well.