Dodgers: Former fan favorites and where they are this October
Most current Dodgers have not been a part of the last seven years of winning the NL West. But many of those players still are active big leaguers.
With so much turnover since Andrew Friedman’s takeover, the Dodgers have had plenty of solid players who have abridged stays in Dodger blue. Not all of them were successful. Howie Kendrick, Logan Forsythe, and Brian Dozier, to name a few second basemen, were duds while Dodgers, despite having made the playoffs and having had solid seasons in other cities with other teams.
But many former Dodgers did have a really important role in helping the team make the playoffs as the Division winners in the West for so many seasons in a row. In what was a tumultuous time in Dodgers’ history, the Guggenheim group and Don Mattingly steered the Torre-less team into a new era of success in the shadow of the San Francisco Giants.
To name the biggest stars, Zach Greinke, Yasiel Puig, and other former Dodgers have gone on to succeed outside of Los Angeles, while others have dropped out of the game almost entirely.
In this article, I decided to take a look back at ex-Dodgers who were fan favorites and playoff heroes during their stay in LA.
Zach Greinke Dodger tenure- three seasons (2013-2015)
Everyone in LA loved Greinke. The 6’2 righty nearly won the Cy Young in 2015, ultimately winning the ERA title while losing the NL Cy Young to Jake Arrieta.
He was cerebral, and for the first time in his career he was in a major market. And he shined in that spotlight. He pitched 41.2 innings for the Dodgers in the postseason. He held off the red-hot Red Birds back in 2013, holding the Cardinals to two runs in what would be a 6-4 Dodgers win in Game 5 of the NLCS. In 2014, he beat the Cardinals again, needing only 76 pitches to go seven shutout innings with seven strikeouts.
Most notably, in 2015, he battled a smoldering Mets team that featured Daniel Murphy, in what would become one of the best postseason hitting performances of the 2000s. He held the Mets to two runs with eight strikeouts over seven innings in a win in game 2 of the NLDS to beat Noah Syndergaard.
In game three, he came up just short, losing the decisive game five by one run to Jacob DeGrom, 3-2. He allowed three runs in six and two-thirds innings, including a home run in the sixth by Murphy that sealed the deal.
No matter his dominance in the postseason though, everyone’s favorite Greinke moment came when he broke his collarbone whilst doing battle with the hated Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin (Here’s a link to that video for you, and then some analysis from Steve Lyons. Both are worth watching).
The Non-Playoff Dodgers of Note
Beyond Greinke, there are some players who were with the Dodgers who are in the playoffs. From Yordan Alvarez (never at the big league level) to Yasmani Grandal, plenty of ex-Dodgers are in the playoffs for other teams, but not many fan favorites.
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Many playoff heroes of old Dodger teams are retired or out of the game at the moment, from Andre Ethier to Matt Kemp, the latter an All-Star just last season playing in his first October Classic.
But of course there are a few still in the major leagues but on teams that missed the playoffs. Manny Machado and Yu Darvish are not playoff heroes, and may in the eyes of many Dodger fans be playoff villains, but both missed the playoffs this season. Beyond Yasiel Puig, one of the major heroes of the past few postseasons for the Dodgers, Alex Wood is another big cog on the outside looking in this season.
Though he was not quite a hero last season, he was important in 2017’s run against the Astros, especially in eating innings to help make up for Darvish’s mistakes.
All told, the Dodgers have had so much depth for the past few seasons, they could roster a near-All-Star team of past players, and yet they still have the second-best odds in the sport to win the World Series.