Dodgers Spending Big to Bring Back Core

In a weak free agent class, no team looked as vulnerable to being picked clean in free agency like the Dodgers; by our rankings, they were potentially set to lose the #2, #6, and #8 free agents in this class, in Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, and Rich Hill. Last week, they made sure they’d bring back at least one of the three by signing Hill to a three year, $48 million contract; today, it sounds like they’re going to get the other two as well.

In prior years, the Dodgers preferred to eschew free agency, making trades to round out their roster instead, often taking on salary in order to build up their base of young talent. This year, the Dodgers are just using their hoards of cash to keep their roster together. The three will cost about $50 million per year for the next three years, then Jansen and Turner will cost about $35 million per year for the final two years of their deals, so clearly, the Dodgers resources are being put to use here.

But it’s also worth noting that, for what they’re getting, these seem mostly like pretty good deals. I had Turner and Hill rated as my top two free agent bargains headed into the winter, and that was at presumed prices of 4/$82M for Turner and 2/$48M for Hill. In the end, they got both for significantly less than what I expected.

You can certainly quibble with giving $80 million to a reliever; the odds of Jansen still being a lights out reliever in a few years are pretty slim. That one is definitely a win-now move with some likely long-term pain associated with the cost of acquiring an elite bullpen arm. But whatever overpay you think Jansen might be getting, Turner is likely to offset that with his expected savings.

At 4/$64M, Turner is getting just a bit more than Josh Reddick, but, uh, Turner is a lot better than Reddick.

Our projections from the Top 50 free agents post.

Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Dave Cameron 4 $20.5 M $82.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 4 $17.2 M $70.9 M
Median Crowdsource 4 $17.0 M $68.0 M
2017 Steamer Forecast
Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
32 560 8.3% 17.5% .284 .353 .466 .352 120 12.5 4.5 3.6
15. Josh Reddick, OF
Contract Estimate
Type Years AAV Total
Dave Cameron 3 $15.0 M $45.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 4 $13.7 M $49.3 M
Median Crowdsource 4 $14.0 M $56.0 M
2017 Steamer Forecast
Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Off Def WAR
30 525 9.0% 13.9% .271 .337 .451 .337 109 7.3 -3.4 2.2

Turner is not that much worse of a hitter than Edwin Encarnacion, only he can also play the field. The power isn’t the same, and teams continue to pay less for singles and doubles than home runs, but Turner gets to a similar overall value, and when you toss in the ability to play third base, 4/$64M in this market seems like a steal.

We’ll have more on these signings once they become official, but the Dodgers have made it clear that they’re going for it again, and this time, they’re just doing it the old fashioned way.

We hoped you liked reading Dodgers Spending Big to Bring Back Core by Dave Cameron!

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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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The Puck
Member
The Puck

For the next 5 years, Jensen will get a quarter of a million dollars per inning pitched. Great work if you can get it.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip

I’m personally hoping they pay him about $80 million per world series ring.

Anonymous
Member
Anonymous

You can probably find one a little bit cheaper on ebay