The lockout is here. A few boring months lie ahead. The bad news? The Los Angeles Dodgers have a lot of work to do. The good news? They have plenty of time to prepare and strategize.
Even more advantageous? The in-demand Dodgers who hit free agency are already gone. Corey Seager signed with the Rangers and Max Scherzer joined the Mets. Corey Knebel, who was a sneaky high-upside reliever, joined the Phillies as well.
The more glaring issue with LA this offseason was the amount of in-house players they had ready to hit the open market. Fans were concerned if too many of them departed then the fabric of the team would be greatly compromised and that seriously heavy lifting would have to be done elsewhere to make up for the losses.
Seager’s already been replaced in the form of Trea Turner. And if the Dodgers add a high-profile first baseman (Freddie Freeman?!), then Max Muncy can shift over to second base and the offensive production is no longer lost. As for Scherzer, he’ll be missed, but that was a rental and the Dodgers likely knew they would have to determine next steps, especially with Trevor Bauer’s situation still hanging over their head. There will be answers on the trade market.
But for now, let’s focus on keeping the band together.
These three Dodgers can still return to LA after the lockout.
3. Albert Pujols
Tio Albert! Por favor! The glowing reviews from both manager Dave Roberts and a number of players revealed the importance of Pujols’ presence in the dugout, even if he was only contributing minimally.
After the Dodgers picked him up when he was released from the Angels, Pujols enjoyed a bit of a resurgence, hitting .254 with a .759 OPS (and above-average 101 OPS+!) in 85 games with LA. He mashed lefties and provided invaluable mentorship to the younger players and even the veterans.
Pujols participating in the Dominican Winter League for the first time in his storied baseball career revealed he was keen on returning for a 22nd MLB season in 2022. At this point, it feels like the Dodgers’ only competition here would be the St. Louis Cardinals given Pujols’ history with the franchise.
We’d bet LA has the upper hand because of its pedigree and clear role for the 41-year-old, which was a success in his short stint. The Dodgers like it. Pujols liked it. A reunion here is very realistic.