Just under a week ago it was announced that the Dodgers were going to exercise their club option on second baseman Logan Forsythe.
Even though Forsythe did not produce anywhere near the level that the Dodgers would have hoped after trading for him last offseason, the move was a no brainer. Just take a look at the free agent market for second basemen and it should be immediately apparent as to why the Dodgers did what they did.
Darwin Barney (32)
Andres Blanco (34)
Chase d’Arnaud (31)
Danny Espinosa (31)
Ryan Flaherty (31)
Phil Gosselin (29)
Howie Kendrick (34)
Cliff Pennington (34)
Brandon Phillips (37)
Jose Reyes (35)
Chase Utley (39)
Neil Walker (32)
The only names that are remotely intriguing in that list are Neil Walker and Jose Reyes. Both are essentially the same player stats wise. Walker hit 14 home runs in 2017, Reyes hit 15. Walker had a better batting average, on base percentage, and slugging. Reyes had more steals. Overall they would bring about the same level of productivity to Los Angeles.
Assuming that 2017 was just a down year for Forysthe, who dealt with a number of injuries, it would be reasonable to expect him to bring the same level of productivity as either of the two above mentioned players. Not only could Forsythe match their production, he has the talent level to exceed either of those players.
You may be thinking, “Why not trade for another second baseman instead of bank on a come back season from Forsythe”? Well, even the trade market for second basemen is thin. There are likely a number of players that are available, but few that are intriguing enough for the Dodgers to part with prospects. The list of players the Dodgers would be willing to send prospects for likely only includes Brian Dozier, Ian Kinsler, and Dee Gordon, with the latter even up for debate.
If last year is any indication, Dozier is unlikely to be traded to Los Angeles. The Twins asking price was simply too high and the Twins and Dodgers could not come to an agreement. A year removed from his first 40+ home run season and a year closer to free agency, his value has likely dropped a tick, but not enough to drop the asking price dramatically. In fact, with such a thin second base free agent market and another solid year under his belt, proving his consistency, his value may even be higher.
Kinsler, once a serious power threat, saw his production fall off in 2017 with career lows in batting average (.236), on base percentage (.313), and slugging percentage (.412). He did hit 22 home runs last season but that was a drop off from his 28 in 2016 and he only 25 doubles, his lowest total since 2010. Entering his age 36 season, it is likely that Kinsler’s numbers will only decline more.
It has been reported that Dee Gordon is available as part of the Marlins plan to lower payroll down to $90 million. The former Dodger had a successful season, finishing with a .308/.341/.375 slash line. He also led the league with 60 stolen bases and racked up over 200 hits for the second time in the last three seasons (only played in 79 games in 2016 due to his suspension). However, the Dodgers already parted ways with Gordon once and likely would not bring him back as he does not represent a clear upgrade from their current situation.
Without a a clear upgrade available, the Dodgers likely made the right choice in exercising Forsythe’s option. The only question now is who will be backing him up at second base?