2. Take Championship-Caliber Depth More Seriously
Shortly after they won the World Series in 2020, the Dodgers let Joc Pederson, Kiké Hernandez, Alex Wood, Jake McGee and Pedro Baez leave in free agency. And hardly added anyone to replace that lost production, especially that of Pederson and Hernandez.
Why? We don’t really know. Pederson made it clear Andrew Friedman called him and said to explore other opportunities, for whatever reason. Hernandez wanted a starting job, but couldn’t the Dodgers have convinced him to stay to be an integral roving piece on a championship team (he pretty much played the same role in Boston!)?
The Dodgers seemed dead set on adding more star power than simply maintaining the unmatchable depth they had built over the last five years. Pederson went on to win a World Series with the Braves. Hernandez had an historic postseason with the Red Sox before they were bounced in the ALCS. Wood and McGee played front-facing roles on the 107-win Giants. Baez was the only one who didn’t do anything, and it was because he was injured.
Are we saying the Dodgers should’ve kept all of these guys? Not at all. They upgraded over Baez and then maximized Chris Taylor’s role even more in wake of Hernandez leaving. But you can’t let all of these pieces leave and expect similar or better results, especially in October.
As the injuries mounted, the Dodgers had few answers, and that’s when their lineup went silent and their pitching staff unraveled. And it came at the worst possible times.
This offseason, they may not have a lot of depth departing, but they need to keep the important pieces and continue to add, because Albert Pujols, Luke Raley, Matt Beaty, Steven Souza Jr., Zach Reks, Billy McKinney, Yoshi Tsutsugo, and Sheldon Neuse just better not happen again.