Hindsight is 20/20, yes, but any loyal Los Angele Dodgers fan can remember expressing some sort of apprehension over the years as the front office has seemingly remade this roster three times over (still, for reasons unknown).
The Dodgers had a winner. They had a bonafide contender coming off a World Series, even though it was the shortened 2020 season. But the front office gradually took steps to alter the chemistry, which has clearly shifted the balance of power.
Injuries struck at the worst time in 2021 ... but that's why you probably don't let valuable depth pieces leave in free agency despite their desire to stay, while importing a clubhouse disruption (we'll get to that soon). The 2022 season saw a historic 111-win team, but a silent offense in the postseason (as well as a shaky bullpen) was the death knell. And then there was 2023 -- a surprising 100-win roster that was devoid of depth and, again, postseason mettle.
There's always some form of roster turnover each and every year, but the magnitude in which the Dodgers have suffered since the conclusion of the 2020 season certainly has something to do with their most recent, glaring failures.
Which ones can we pinpoint as the most detrimental?
4 front office mistakes that have crushed Dodgers playoff hopes last two seasons
Signing Trevor Bauer
This is the importation of a clubhouse disruption. Bauer, regardless of his talent, was always some sort of a headache no matter where he played. Legendary manager Terry Francona had him traded, which is probably all you need to know about his character.
The Dodgers swapped two postseason stalwarts in Kiké Hernández and Joc Pederson for Bauer, who had a 4.00 ERA at the time of his signing. The Dodgers bought high on fool's gold, giving Bauer a ridiculous three-year, $102 million contract. They then allowed the right-hander to parade around and act as if he invented short-term, high AAV deals.
Bauer made 17 starts with the Dodgers before being hit with the largest non-lifetime ban in MLB history for violating the league's domestic violence policy after a number of sexual assault allegations came to light. The Dodgers were left to pay millions to Bauer despite him being inactive, and it restricted their spending elsewhere.
There was obviously no way to predict this worst-case scenario, but any front office with a shred of awareness in regard to the human element of the game probably would've been able to put 2 and 2 together.