What can the Los Angeles Dodgers do to make 2021 an even better place?
The calendar has turned over to a brand new year, and for the first time in 32 years, the Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves as the defending World Series Champions.
With a month before pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training, the Dodgers’ front office and their President Andrew Friedman still have plenty of moves to make, and regardless of what they do, they will be favorites to repeat as champions.
Just because they are the favorites doesn’t mean the Dodgers can’t be introspective like the rest of us and make some New Year’s Resolutions, though. Unlike the rest of society, keeping these resolutions past February should be a priority for the Dodgers.
Shut Out the Noise
The Dodgers haven’t picked up their World Series rings yet, and already the digital media world has lined up challengers to their crown. The San Diego Padres made the splashy moves this winter trading for pitchers Blake Snell and Yu Darvish, the New York Mets’ sale was finalized and billionaire Steve Cohen can splash his cash to turn the team around — in theory.
The Dodgers should resolve to shut out the media noise that is the baseball echo chamber of nonsense. This team doesn’t need to be worried about the Padres’ moves or the Mets’ new money; they can’t react to what other teams are doing and need to stick to their plans.
Make Sure Odd-Year Cody Bellinger Shows Up
It’s been only four seasons, but an odd pattern has emerged with the Dodgers’ outfield superstar Cody Bellinger.
In a given odd year, Bellinger plays like an All-Star. In even years, he plays significantly below that level.
Last year, coming off an MVP season, Bellinger was subpar at the plate; even in just 60 games, his OPS (.789) fell well below his career average (.911). Bellinger has stayed consistent in the field, but his play at the plate has to match that consistency. The Dodgers’ plans don’t include him taking a year off every other year. Expect him to show up again with his bat in 2021.
Not Show Friends, It’s Show Business
The Dodgers front office still has decisions to make about player personnel, including players who helped them win the World Series in October. There is a simple solution to their entire decision-making process. If the players who don’t fit their plans move along, they can simply provide a forwarding address so they can get their World Series ring.
It took 32 years to end their title drought. Repeating will be difficult, but what shouldn’t get in the way is sentimentality. If Justin Turner doesn’t fit anymore, then say thanks and move on. If Joc Pederson is going to hit .190 while being a part-time player, then make sure you put enough stamps on his ring box and say goodbye.
If the Dodgers stick to these New Year’s Resolutions, they’ll give themselves a great chance to not only repeat as World Series champions, but to forge a dynastic legacy that will carry them through another decade.