The Los Angeles Dodgers thought they'd built a new-and-improved version of the 2022 111-win team by leaning on grit and tenacity in 2023, and look how far it got them.
Despite Dino Ebel's proclamation that the '23 Dodgers were better suited for October than their predecessors, they went less far, flaming out in a first-round sweep at the hands of the Diamondbacks, who wanted it more. Maybe next time, Dino Ebel will listen to his brothers, Hearno Ebel and Speakno Ebel, and just keep quiet.
Turns out it doesn't really matter how gritty you are if you can't pitch a single scoreless inning, and the playoff Dodgers found themselves behind the eight ball repeatedly in the NLDS. First, Clayton Kershaw sank them with a singular postseason meltdown. Then, just when fans had shaken it off, Bobby Miller poked a hole in the balloon. Finally, Lance Lynn toed the rubber, remembered he'd allowed 44 home runs during the regular season, and decided to do what he did best.
Any way you slice it, the Dodgers' 2023 ending was an outright disaster. This time around, the knee-jerk reactions demanding massive turnover are probably ... well, pretty close to accurate. This Dodgers team is about to lose a lot of free agents. Some will be shoved aside in favor of headline-grabbing names. Some will receive raises elsewhere. Some might just back off from the limelight of their own volition.
Either way, the 2024 Dodgers will look much different, as the vast majority of their free agent class departs.
Dodgers Free Agency: Rumors predict massive roster shakeup
Dodgers Free Agent Who Will Leave: JD Martinez
JD Martinez lived up to his "Just Dingers" moniker in this year's postseason, even when the rest of the Dodgers morphed into Just Dribblers.
The Dodgers' DH homered once in three games against the Diamondbacks after a resurgent regular season where he posted a 134 OPS+ and 33 bombs while sharing a locker room with his preferred offensive guru, Robert Van Scoyoc.
Unfortunately, if the Dodgers are going to pursue Shohei Ohtani with vigor this offseason -- and, at this point, there's zero excuse not to -- then the 36-year-old Martinez is guaranteed to be a casualty.
Even if the Dodgers come up short on an Ohtani contract, Martinez had enough of a bounce back season that it's hard to envision him waiting around for LA to sift through the fine print with the Japanese slugger. Surely, he found the Dodgers experience comforting this summer, with his familiar hitting coach and old teammate Mookie Betts by his side. But ... comforting enough to turn down multi-year pacts elsewhere in case the Dodgers whiff on Ohtani? Not so much.