Lesser Expectations Equals World Series Appearance
The last time the Dodgers reached the World Series in a full season of play was 2018, when they were bounced by the Boston Red Sox. Believe it or not, that roster only won 92 games, which seems like an underachieving number for LA from 2017-present day.
That was probably the last time the expectations surrounding the Dodgers didn't feel overwhelming. Since then, they've been the presumptive World Series favorites every year. But not this time, according to PECOTA and other pundits/analysts!
Great, just the way we like it. There's no question the departures of Trea Turner, Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Tyler Anderson, Chris Martin, Tommy Kahnle and others, in addition to the injury to Walker Buehler, will hurt, but this team still has a core of Clayton Kershaw, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, Chris Taylor and Muncy. Nearly half the active roster has All-Star potential.
So while the Padres have Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis dancing around in the outfield while inserting themselves into the most salacious trade rumors, the Dodgers will likely chug along and quietly boast a better roster than most. You could argue it's already better than the Phillies, Braves and Cardinals. Only the Pads and Mets might have them on paper in the NL.
Let all those teams grab the headlines while the Dodgers handle their business. After all, the Dodgers don't have to boast or show off their flashy assets. They've been a model of consistency for over a decade. They're expected to make deep playoff runs every year. But lower stakes never hurt, which might've been part of the organization's offseason plan when they conducted a partial teardown.