- Scott Spratt, Baseball Info Solutions
Sixteen months ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers didn't have Hanley Ramirez. They didn't have Adrian Gonzalez or Carl Crawford. Yasiel Puig wasn't yet a major league phenom. He wasn't even a minor league phenom. Hyun-Jin Ryu was pitching for the Hanwha Eagles in South Korea. The Dodgers had some star players such as Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp, which was enough for them to win 30 of their first 43 games of the season and build a seven-game lead in the NL West over the eventual champion San Francisco Giants.
Still, everything changed for the Dodgers following their $2 billion sale and subsequent record-setting television contract. The Dodgers didn't simply join the elite-spending teams. By Opening Day 2013, they had more than doubled their 2012 Opening Day payroll, according to Cot's Contracts, and seemed no longer constrained by a budget.
Even if the Dodgers have no budget, they still are financially constrained. There are just 25 major league roster spots to work with. The Dodgers already have filled nine of them with players under contract in 2014 for $7.5 million or more -- Gonzalez, Crawford, Kemp, Ramirez, Zack Greinke, Josh Beckett, Andre Ethier, Chad Billingsley and Brandon League. As international signings, Puig and Ryu are locked up long-term at lower costs. In addition, they will still have Kershaw and Kenley Jansen at pre-market prices. Between those 14 signed players and the other six roster spots that will likely be filled by relievers, there is only so much the Dodgers can do this offseason.
Scott Spratt takes a look at the potential offseason facing the Los Angeles Dodgers and which elite free agents they could target.