Capturing the NL West will once again be a tough task for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2022, regardless of how many star players are on their roster.
The regressing contributions from Justin Turner and Max Muncy, as well as Cody Bellinger’s continued struggles, are dragging this team down. Injuries haven’t helped either, with the rotation and bullpen both suffering major losses over the last few months.
Once again, despite top-tier talent and one of the highest payrolls in MLB, the Dodgers and Andrew Friedman will likely have to make a number of moves at the trade deadline to help make up for lost production, as well as replace missing piece such as Blake Treinen and Walker Buehler.
Last year, it was Max Scherzer and Trea Turner who arrived in a blockbuster deal. But do the Dodgers need to go to those kind of lengths to get what they need? Maybe one impact starter, sure, but for the rest of their needs, some struggling former Dodgers might just do the trick.
These guys all excelled in LA and are now having a tough go in 2022, whether it’s a change of scenery, an incapable roster around them, or general nerves in another contract year.
Perhaps these possible reunions can benefit both sides, helping the Dodgers take control of the division and raising the price tag on the players with a crucial few months ahead to rebuild their stock.
The Dodgers should consider re-acquiring these former players at the trade deadline
3. Corey Knebel
The Dodgers figured out a way to maximize Corey Knebel’s talents post-surgery and his lone year in LA featured a 2.45 ERA, 2.90 FIP and 0.97 WHIP in 27 games (25.2 innings). After that resurgent campaign, he hit free agency and the Phillies signed him to be their closer.
But as most relievers know, ending up in Philadelphia’s bullpen is a sort of death sentence. It’s a cursed place and nobody makes it out alive.
So far in 2022, Knebel is 2-5 (an insane record for a reliever) with a 3.62 ERA, 4.92 FIP and 1.54 WHIP in 28 games (27.1 innings). And it appears there’s a big reason why (aside from the Philly Bullpen Curse).
Last year, the Dodgers had Knebel throwing far fewer fastballs (like they do with most of their pitchers). Here’s his pitch breakdown from 2021 to 2022:
- 2021 – Fastball (58.1%) and Curveball (41.9%)
- 2022 – Fastball (70.7%) and Curveball (29.3%)
The Phillies should’ve perhaps just followed the blueprint they were given. And if they do a re-tool at the deadline should they find a better bullpen upgrade, the Dodgers should call about re-acquiring Knebel.