Woah, man. It took Justin Turner nearly 10 days to process the Los Angeles Dodgers’ early exit from the postseason. It’s unclear if LA fans, even after the San Diego Padres’ elimination, have been able to do the same.
The 111-win season went down the tubes, in part due to untimely injuries, poor managing, and cold bats. It’s the worst feeling. No wonder Dodgers fans approach every postseason with pessimism despite frequently being the most dominant throughout the regular season.
The 2023 campaign doesn’t exactly paint a better picture off the bat, either. The Dodgers have a lot of questions to answer in regard to their current cast of players in addition to others who are hitting free agency and may not return.
But most importantly, this team stands to lose a number of core players who have defined this era of Dodgers baseball. Though there aren’t plentiful World Series titles to show for it, the positive contributions that netted individual awards, consistent winning play, and national recognition deserve merit.
The Dodgers stand to lose talent … and also influential voices/leaders. The identity of this roster could be in danger.
These 3 longtime Dodgers might have played their final game in LA
3. Cody Bellinger
The cat’s been out of the bag here for the second straight offseason. Cody Bellinger has cost the Dodgers $17 million each of the last two years and has delivered next to nothing outside of very good defense in center field.
You might look at his counting numbers from 2022 and say, “Well, that’s an improvement from 2021!”, and you’d be right. However, he was worth just 1.2 WAR. His 78 OPS+ was 22% below average. The Dodgers benched him in the playoffs.
Since the start of 2020, Bellinger’s accumulated just 1.2 total WAR. He was among the literal worst players in baseball in 2021. His hitting mechanics have visibly changed, and they’re visibly worse. It’s a shame it’s reached this point, but it has. We wish it hadn’t.
As much as Bellinger was on his way to becoming a franchise legend, his last three seasons did the same in making him a near footnote. Do the Dodgers roll the dice on a $20 million salary for Belli in 2023 when guys like Aaron Judge, Brandon Nimmo and other superior options will be available? Not so sure about that.