Historically, the Los Angeles Dodgers dominate the free agent market. That was the case last season when they big-footed the race to sign Freddie Freeman.
Since the close of the 2022 season, Friedman and Gomes have signed, re-signed or extended 17 players. This time, however, the results have been less laudatory.
To complicate matters, they also lost a dozen players to the free agent process, among them big names of the stripe of Trea Turner, Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner.
The combined impact of those arrivals and departures has set the Dodgers back nearly two games in the standings.
The exception was Clayton Kershaw, whose contract expired at the end of 2022. Nobody really expected Kershaw to leave L.A., and Friedman-Gomes were able to come to terms with their ace on a one-year, $20 million arrangement.
Kershaw has been his usual self, going 10-4 with a 2.55 ERA in 16 starts. That values out to +2.4 WAA. But what did you expect? He’s Clayton Kershaw.
As for the rest of the free agent world, the news has been not so good. The Dodgers signed Noah Syndergaard and got a 7.16 ERA in 12 starts. They re-signed backup catcher Austin Barnes and he’s been terrible: a .101 average in 101 plate appearances.
Max Muncy re-signed, this time to replace Justin Turner at third, and he’s slumped to .189. The fact that the power is still there (Muncy has 18 home runs among his 42 hits) keeps his WAA at 0.0 instead of solidly in negative numbers, but the Dodgers expect more than neutral production from Muncy.
Meanwhile Cody Bellinger, Chris Martin, Justin Turner and Trea Turner have all gone elsewhere and succeeded.