2. Replacing Kenley Jansen with Craig Kimbrel (and Losing AJ Pollock)
The Dodgers seemingly dragged their feet with Kenley Jansen in free agency (if we’re to believe what he said) and he signed with the Braves for one year and $16 million. The Dodgers lost their legendary closer just like that.
With ninth-inning guys so hard to come by, there was no way this loss wasn’t going to hurt the Dodgers. Even if, at the time, they were getting another very good and experienced reliever in Craig Kimbrel.
Turns out, they didn’t get that, though. Kimbrel reverted back to his White Sox self, just like how Gallo remained his Yankees self, and the right-hander was left off the NLDS roster. The Dodgers’ bullpen was largely a skeleton crew come playoff time, and manager Dave Roberts determined he had no use for his closer for most of 2022. That speaks to a failure in the front office.
The Dodgers paid the same amount for Kimbrel that the Braves paid for Jansen, who finished second in MLB with 41 saves. Not only that, but the Dodgers killed their outfield depth by sending AJ Pollock to Chicago in the deal. In one fell swoop, Friedman replaced Jansen with Kimbrel and Pollock with Thompson/Gallo. And nobody here would be out of line to say the Thompson trade with the Tigers was “lucky.” By definition, it was. Friedman said it himself!
Pollock didn’t have the best of seasons with the White Sox, but that team was poisoned from start to finish. He was a very good Dodger who shook off his postseason woes with good showings in last year’s NLDS and NLCS.
More importantly, though, Kimbrel was a hated Dodger. Fans celebrated his exclusion from the postseason roster. That’s how you know it was an abject failure.