Congratulations, 2021 Los Angeles Dodgers who are still here! You (hopefully) get to be a part of a Hollywood ending that wraps up with a title defense!
But just because you’re here today doesn’t mean you’re going to make it to 2022. Don’t get too haughty texting with Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray, yet. It could come back to haunt you.
This Dodgers roster, once thought to be overstuffed with talent, actually had to acquire some reinforcements at the deadline in order to reach their considerable ceiling. When the campaign began, most believed LA would battle the Padres down the stretch before ultimately pulling away with their superior (and more experienced) offensive depth.
Not many people factored in the rise of the San Francisco Giants, though, which forced the front office to not just reinforce the roster, but do so with the likes of Max Scherzer and Trea Turner. That’ll help.
So congratulations to the remaining Dodgers who made it past this important threshold and — thanks to the lack of an August waiver deadline — are here to stay … ish.
Once the campaign ends, though, no promises. Andrew Friedman has a ton on his docket this offseason. Will he need to reassign money for a Max Scherzer extension after this two-month engagement goes swimmingly, and he becomes essential? Is Corey Seager going to be a Dodger for life? If not, does LA’s braintrust want to explore the rest of the shortstop market, including the disgruntled Trevor Story and eternal enemy Carlos Correa (shudder)? Will the team have to clear more cash after being saddled with Trevor Bauer’s contract?
For either cost-effective reasons or a change in confidence regarding a player’s level of talent, these three Dodgers aren’t necessarily a part of next year’s plans even though they made it to Aug. 1.
These 3 Dodgers might not make the 2022 roster.
3. AJ Pollock
Controversial opinion, sure, but it very much seems like the Dodgers should pay Chris Taylor this offseason, no matter the cost. Perhaps Seager will be receiving a big-money extension, too.
In that case, wouldn’t it make sense to offload Pollock, who’s making $13.75 million per year, has a player option for 2023, and is in the midst of his most sustained hot streak in Los Angeles to wrap this season?
If Pollock has a red-hot, value-boosting October, this almost seems like a guarantee.
As recently as June (a .222 month), the righty outfielder seemed like a prime candidate to be involved in a supplementary salary-matching trade, perhaps with a team like the Yankees that was lacking for both depth and lottery tickets. In July, though, Pollock made himself seemingly indispensable — to this year’s team, at least. He turned on the jets, hitting .371 with a robust 1.121 OPS to lock down an outfield spot as the 2021 Dodgers attempt to reach their collective ceiling.
We still suspect the Dodgers would choose Taylor (and a healthy Cody Bellinger) over him, though, and when Taylor’s cost rises, paying Pollock as depth seems a bit less tolerable.