With a ton of work to do this offseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 2023 roster and starting lineup is expected to look a lot different than the 2022 version that won 111 games. Declining play, free agents and contract options will have Andrew Friedman and the front office working from the day the World Series ends until the start of next season.
The ledes to most of these articles are very similar, but that’s what happens when you’re in a holding pattern waiting for the hot stove action to begin. Truth be told, Friedman and the Dodgers rarely ever “lose” offseasons and/or trade deadlines, but the landscape has changed.
The Mets are now the league’s biggest spenders. The Phillies opened up their wallet and got to the World Series. The Braves are built to contend for the next seven years. The Padres took the next step. And that’s just the NL!
In the AL, you have a frustrated Yankees team in desperate need of making impact moves. The Guardians are way ahead of schedule in their rebuild and have money to spend. The Orioles have finally turned the corner and will be a threat in free agency. The Mariners have a nice core and are expected to add to it. The Astros are the Astros.
As you can see, the Dodgers are no longer one of a few premier destinations. Many exist now, which leaves the door creaked open for a potential “disaster” situation by LA’s standards in the coming months.
Dodgers worst-case scenario Opening Day lineup for 2023
The Dodgers almost never drop the ball when it comes to free agency/trades, but let’s explore a world in which they do:
- RF Mookie Betts
- 1B Freddie Freeman
- C Will Smith
- 3B Max Muncy
- DH Justin Turner
- 2B Chris Taylor
- SS Gavin Lux
- CF Trayce Thompson
- LF Joey Gallo
With all due respect … YUCK! This is not going to happen — mark our words — but it’s never irresponsible to plan for doomsday.
The worst-worst-case would be Cody Bellinger returning here too, but that’s just far too much to handle. In this specific instance, JT’s player option is picked up, Gallo is re-signed due to a largely top-heavy outfield market, and Lux slides over to short after Trea Turner departs in free agency.
With Belli gone, Thompson would shift to center, Gallo can get his starting reps in left, JT will take over full-time DH duties in the final year of his contract, and Taylor will be the full-time second baseman. Manager Dave Roberts can shift him to the outfield, Muncy to second base, and others to the DH spot when he wants to be flexible.
If this were to happen (please, no), Dodgers fans can only hope the front office did a flawless job with adding both starting and relief pitching — another aspect of the roster that desperately needs attention.
Other teams are expected to act fast out of the gate in free agency, which would have the Dodgers’ options dwindling. Friedman may not let it get to that point, but if it does, this lineup isn’t too farfetched if things go way wrong for LA.