The Los Angeles Dodgers put together one of the most talented teams in MLB history and the results played out in the regular season. LA coasted to a franchise-record 111 wins as they put together one of the most dominant regular seasons in MLB history.
The season was still a massive disappointment, though, as the team could only win one game in the playoffs, falling to the San Diego Padres in the NLDS. That made the 2022 season easily the most disappointing of the Andrew Friedman era.
That being said, Friedman has a lot of resources at his disposal this offseason with $111 million in projected luxury tax space (assuming the Dodgers remain under the $270 million luxury tax threshold). With those resources and the disappointment in the rear-view mirror, Los Angeles might be able to craft a lineup that’s even better than the one it had for the 2022 season.
Los Angeles Dodgers’ dream starting lineup for Opening Day 2023
- Mookie Betts, RF
- Trea Turner, SS
- Freddie Freeman, 1B
- Aaron Judge, CF
- Max Muncy, 3B/DH
- Will Smith, C
- Justin Turner, DH/Miguel Vargas, 3B
- Gavin Lux, 2B
- James Outman, LF
Not a lot of changes in this lineup, but the ones that are made will result in tremendous impact. There are only two new names here from last season: Aaron Judge and James Outman. One is the likely AL MVP, one is a prospect in the Dodgers’ system. Two ends of the spectrum!
While the Dodgers might not make this bold of a decision, there’s a chance the team simply lets Cody Bellinger walk a year before he is a free agent, especially if they can get Aaron Judge. Los Angeles has the payroll flexibility to bring in both Judge and Turner, so it might not actually be one or the other.
Of course, re-signing Turner and signing Judge would be a massive turn of events, but that’s why this is a dream lineup. If Turner ends up walking, the team could hypothetically still replace him with another shortstop like Dansby Swanson or Xander Bogaerts for a similar price. However, Turner is probably the best option for LA.
The other new face in Outman, who was mistakenly left off the postseason roster despite being the hottest hitter in the entire organization, was far too good last season in the minors for the Dodgers not give him a chance to start on Opening Day.
There’s another young player in Miguel Vargas, who should split time with Justin Turner in the lineup. The Dodgers can rework JT’s team option in 2023 so that it has a smaller competitive balance tax (CBT) hit. That can allow them to keep him on as a veteran bench bat that splits time with the rising stud.
Chris Taylor would be the team’s first player off the bench, as he would get plenty of playing time filling in for either Outman or Gavin Lux against southpaws (or for the occasional day off in the starting lineup).
This would leave the team with fewer funds to address a starting rotation that right now only consists of Julio Urías, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin. However, they can re-sign Clayton Kershaw to a one-year deal again and call up promising arms like Gavin Stone, Ryan Pepiot and Bobby Miller if they need to.
Plus, the Dodgers are the kings at signing pitchers for cheap (see: Tyler Anderson) and getting the absolute most out of them. Spending big on the lineup might be the way to go because of that.