The Dodgers are essentially bringing back the same core team that got them one win away from a World Series Title in 2017. Is that a bad thing?
Being a part of social media, you begin to see what most fans are thinking as far as the off-season goes. There is a good variety of opinions online when it comes to the Dodgers. Some fans freak out over the relative lack of activity for the Dodgers and ask why the Dodgers aren’t trying to improve like the Astros and Giants are. It’s understandable but the Dodgers have an eye on not just this season, but for many seasons to come. They know by staying under the luxury tax this year they can really pursue high impact free agents next off-season.
Not only can they pursue players who will make a big impact next off-season, but the Dodgers returning team is pretty darn good. Outside of a few personnel changes like Brandon Morrow leaving and the likely departures of Tony Watson and Yu Darvish, the team is pretty much the same as last year. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
According to Fangraphs, the Dodgers overall roster has the best WAR when it comes to pitchers with a 22.6 rating. The Astros rank second behind the Dodgers with a pitching WAR of 21.4 even after the addition of Gerrit Cole. While the signings of Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta could swing the ratings a bit, the Dodgers are guaranteed to be one of the top pitching teams in baseball for the 2018 season.
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When it comes to hitting the Dodgers rank third in the major leagues behind the Astros and Cubs. When you combine the hitter and pitcher WAR the Dodgers rank second in all of the baseball trailing the Astros by a couple points. As the free agent market currently stands, the Dodgers are a surefire top three team in baseball. While other teams have improved, the Dodgers haven’t gotten any worse, thanks in large part to shrewd trades and depth signings by the front office.
Besides, it’s not like the Dodgers went on a fluke run to get to the World Series. The Dodgers were lead by Justin Turner, Clayton Kershaw, the emergence of Chris Taylor, and the young core of impact players such as Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger. If anything, it’s likely that the young players will continue to improve especially if Cody Bellinger can learn to lay off the off-speed pitches low and inside. Chris Taylor had the only out of nowhere type season but he held up over the entire season which shows it was not a fluke.
The Dodgers also had some injuries in 2017 that hurt their team. Clayton Kershaw once again missed time due to a back injury, and Logan Forsythe was ineffective for most of the regular season as he battled through a broken toe. Andrew Toles also went down with a significant injury and Julio Urias should return by July from his shoulder operation. Yimi Garcia is another player coming back from injury who could bolster the Dodger pen if he can make a triumphant return. The Dodgers had a deep roster in 2017 and it could be even deeper in 2018 if Toles, Yimi, and Urias come back strong.
The Dodgers biggest question mark is probably the eighth inning but the trade for Scott Alexander and the newest free agent flier signing in Tom Koehler could go a long way in filling the eighth inning setup man role. That also is leaving out Pedro Baez who has demonstrated the ability to be Kenley Jansen’s top setup man for periods of time. The Dodgers will, for the most part, return the same team in 2018 and while that may be boring for some fans, it isn’t a bad thing when you have one of the best most talented rosters in baseball like the Dodgers do.