Dodgers: Gloom But Not Doom For These Dodgers

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: The Los Angeles Dodgers watch the eighth inning from the top step against the Houston Astros in game seven of the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium on November 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: The Los Angeles Dodgers watch the eighth inning from the top step against the Houston Astros in game seven of the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium on November 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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The Dodgers 2017 season came to a disappointing end in game seven of the World Series as the Dodgers fell 5-1 to the Houston Astros.  While everything right now seems to be doom and gloom, the future of the franchise still burns brightly.

One thing working in the Dodgers favor is the few amount of free agents they could lose.  Chase Utley, Franklin Gutierrez, Yu Darvish, Tony Watson, Brandon Morrow, and possibly Andre Ethier are the players the Dodgers could lose in free agency. The only significant loss out of those players would be Brandon Morrow, but the Dodgers will make a strong effort to keep him. Tony Watson and Darvish helped the Dodger playoff run, but they are easily replaceable if they depart.

The Dodgers also will be shedding approximately 40 million in payroll obligations this off-season, although that doesn’t factor in arbitration raises to the younger players.  Depending on how much the Dodgers want to get under the luxury tax threshold the Dodgers could spend that money or save it to use towards the 2018 off-season when players like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and Josh Donaldson are free agents.  The Dodgers will have more salary coming off the books after 2018, so the Dodgers are well positioned to sign some more All-Stars after next season.  In the immediate off-season, this should allow the Dodgers to fill their needs like bringing Morrow back and getting another arm or two for the rotation and bullpen.

Another plus for the Dodgers is that they have an excellent young core of players who are 28 years old or younger.  This includes Chris Taylor, Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Yasiel Puig, Austin Barnes, and Joc Pederson.  You could also factor in young talented players who missed time this season like Andrew Toles and Julio Urias.  Even with this great young core, the Dodgers have more young talent in the farm system, and a couple of them could break out next season. Alex Verdugo should compete for the left field spot in spring training, and Walker Buehler could win a rotation spot if there is no limited innings plan for him.

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Just as Yasiel Puig showed a big improvement this season the very young players like Seager and Bellinger should only become better hitters as they mature as baseball players.  Cody Bellinger will learn to lay off the off-speed pitch inside, and Corey Seager should hit for more power as his body continues to fill out with age.  Joc Pederson appeared to be a new player in the World Series so the Dodgers will find out next season if that was just a bottle of lightning or if he figured things out during his minor league demotion.

This Dodgers team is a very resilient group of guys.  They have lost Clayton Kershaw for at least a month in back to back season and were not fazed at all.  They lost Corey Seager in the NLCS and still beat the Cubs four games to one.  Justin Turner appeared to be playing on one leg in the World Series, and the Dodgers still fought for seven games.  Kershaw and Jansen blew leads in two games, yet the Dodgers shrugged that off and battled back to force a game seven.  Not only do they have a warrior’s mentality, but they also have the depth to withstand injuries that are bound to happen next season.

Then there is the front office and coaching staff.  Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi lead a smart and analytical front office team that tries to find every advantage they can.  They have gotten the Dodgers farther in the playoffs each year, and keep the current big league club elite while still developing a strong minor league system.  Add in Dave Roberts who has done an outstanding job of managing, and the Dodgers are great from the front office, down to the coaching staff.  While some may blame Roberts for his World Series moves, he went with moves that have paid off before.  The last game just didn’t pan out in the Dodgers favor.

Next: A World Series Would Have Meant the World

Take some time to mourn the end of the season, but this is not the end of the Dodgers run.  This Dodger team will only improve and use this tough loss as motivation to get back to and win the World Series.  One can blame coaches or players, but the fact of the matter is this team just didn’t get it done collectively this season.  That doesn’t mean they won’t get it done next October.