The Los Angeles Dodgers tendered contracts to Austin Barnes, Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler, Dylan Floro, Corey Seager and Julio Urias prior to the deadline. Scott Alexander was also eligible, but he re-signed with the club on a one-year contract.
Unlike last year when the Dodgers cut Yimi Garcia loose, the team did not non-tender any players. It didn’t come as much of a surprise, though there was speculation Alexander or Floro would become a free agent.
Barnes, Bellinger and Urias are both going through the arbitration process for a second time; and Alexander would have as well. Meanwhile, it’s a first for Buehler, and final time for Seager.
The Dodgers and their arbitration-eligible players are permitted to negotiate contracts, and salary figures will be exchanged in January should both sides fail to come to terms on a new deal.
L.A. went to an arbitration with Joc Pederson prior to the 2020 season — their first since doing so against Joe Beimel in 2007. Max Muncy and Chris Taylor were headed down that same path, but each was re-signed to a multi-year contract extension.
Alexander won’t have to worry about that possibility as he is back with the team after going 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA over 13 games. Alexander was a late arrival to Summer Camp due to contracting coronavirus (COVID-19).
Barnes struggled through another inconsistent season but continued to make his presence felt behind the plate and with managing the pitching staff. He then found a rhythm at the plate during the postseason and it amounted to more starts, which shifted Will Smith to designated hitter.
Bellinger’s 2020 season was overshadowed by talk of a new swing and batting stance — which he regularly attempted to explain was not a drastic change from a 2019 MVP season. Despite falling short of expectations, Bellinger had his share of highlights both in the field and at the plate.
He underwent surgery to address a right shoulder that was dislocated during the National League Championship Series and is expected to make a full recovery in time for Spring Training.
Buehler’s history of being a slow starter was a factor again in 2020 and became more complicated not just because of the shortened season but the development of blisters. Initially reported as being one blister, it was later revealed Buehler dealt with two on his throwing hand.
He nonetheless managed to settle in down the stretch of the season and wound up peaking at the right time.
Floro started the season with 10 consecutive scoreless appearances and finished the year 3-0 with a 2.59 ERA, 2.66 FIP and 1.11 WHIP in 25 games.
Seager missed a brief stretch due to back trouble but otherwise had an MVP-caliber regular season. He rode that into the playoffs, helping carry to the Dodgers to a championship and collecting MVP in the NLCS and World Series along the way.
Urias earned what was to be a permanent spot in the Opening Day rotation for the first time in his career, but by the end of the Dodgers’ October run did his best work out of the bullpen.
Dodgers address bullpen with trade
Shortly after announcing Alexander was re-signed and arbitration-eligible players were tendered a contract, the Dodgers finalized a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers to acquire Corey Knebel in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Knebel missed all of 2019 while recovering from Tommy John surgery and pitched to mixed results this year before being put on the 10-day injured list with a hamstring strain. The right-hander was improved throughout September, and could emerge as a quality option for the Dodgers next season.
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