The Dodgers fell to the Nationals 7-3 in 10 innings in Game 5 of the NLDS Wednesday night, a bitter end to what was otherwise another terrific season in Los Angeles. The loss was, in part, due to yet more mismanagement of the bullpen by manager Dave Roberts. There was some consternation that, despite the Dodgers’ sustained success in recent years, Roberts could be on the hot seat.
Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times reports that Dave Roberts will remain the Dodgers’ manager in 2020. The skipper signed a four-year contract extension with the Dodgers last December.
Under Roberts, the Dodgers have gone 393-256 during the regular season, winning the NL West all four years. They reached at least the NLCS from 2016-18, and lost in the World Series in ’17 and ’18 before Wednesday’s heartbreaking loss to knock them out of the Division Series.
The Dodgers figure to return in 2020 with a roster that’s largely similar to the one they put together this year. Despite some expensive players like Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner, and Kenley Jansen, a large percentage of the active roster is either pre-arbitration or going through the arbitration process. According to Cot’s Contracts, without accounting for those arbitration-eligible players’ salaries, the Dodgers have $112 million committed for the 2020 season. The Dodgers could make plays for some big name free agents if they wanted to, giving Roberts even more to work with.
Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.
There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.
The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.