The Los Angeles Dodgers, possessors of a Super Rotation and unparalleled depth at the start of the 2021 season, somehow have a lot of work to do to maintain continuity out west.
After all, they were already humbled this fall when the San Francisco Giants ended their streak of NL West titles. In order to start a new one, they’ll need to make several upgrades at supposed positions of strength, as well as maintain continuity.
These rumors, if they come to fruition, will make it much harder to Andrew Friedman to stay supreme.
Before we dive in, let’s assess the Dodgers’ offseason wishlist again, shall we? LA needs to:
- Figure out a plan for Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw, which might include simply dumping a truck full of cash at their feet.
- If Scherzer strays or Kershaw retires, they need to figure out a non-Andrew Heaney Plan B ASAP.
- Either woo Chris Taylor, or figure out an effective Swiss Army knife replacement at a lower price.
- Retain Kenley Jansen or let him walk … but build around Blake Treinen if he does.
- Flesh out the bullpen regardless.
- RIGHTY. POWER. FOR. THE. BENCH.
There. That’s easy enough! It’s also fairly simple to see how this all could get derailed.
If Scherzer and/or Kershaw pick somebody else as their next landing spot (or, gulp, Kershaw retires), the next tier of options isn’t nearly as impressive, and could leave the Dodgers scrambling for “potential” (like Heaney).
If Taylor walks, there’s … well, really no one who can completely replicate his skill set, and the Dodgers could see their depth at several positions dip all at once thanks to his departure. It’ll also put more of an emphasis on retaining all of their other rotational outfield pieces.
And, if Jansen leaves and Joe Kelly finds a new home … get to work.
As far as we see it, these are the three rumors Dodgers fans should be crossing their fingers won’t come to fruition.
These 3 rumors could crush the Dodgers’ offseason.
3. Cody Bellinger Trade at a Huge Bargain
Hopefully, the 2021 postseason did everlasting damage to the “Trade Cody Bellinger” bandwagon. Quite simply, the outfield isn’t in a comfortable-enough place for us to be tinkering with 2019 MVP at the moment, even after the NLCS provided a blueprint to interested parties for how Bellinger could “bounce back” after an offseason of introspection.
Still, though, you’re going to hear his name brought up in numerous “reclamation project for reclamation project” deals all offseason long — especially by Yankee fans. Now is not the time to sell low, especially with the outfield in flux. Forget about future contract issues and extension conversations. We need Bellinger’s elite defense and possibly fixable offense in LA more than we need Gleyber Torres holding down second base.
Despite the fact that the ex-MVP was worth -1.5 WAR during the regular season and theoretically created the gap between LA and San Francisco all by his lonesome (cool thing to think about), we received shades of Throwback Belli all postseason long, highlighted most plainly when he turned around a higher-than-high fastball to even up Game 3 of the NLCS in the blink of an eye. Perhaps most importantly … the depth chart looks bleaker than bleak without Bellinger; in fact, it looks fairly bleak with him.
Beyond the AJ Pollock-Mookie Betts-Bellinger triumvirate, there’s nobody locked in place. Zach McKinstry, Luke Raley, and Gavin Lux in left field, come on down!
Willingly sacrificing Bellinger from that group feels foolhardy, especially with his trade value at an all-time low. Worry about extension talks later. Maintain the status quo today so you can go about building elsewhere.