If you haven't been confident in the Los Angeles Dodgers' offseason plan thus far, nobody would blame you. From letting franchise legends Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger depart (seemingly without a care in the world) to the report they considered keeping Trevor Bauer, it feels like things are a bit upside down in LA.
Their latest move to trade for Miguel Rojas raised some eyebrows, too. Rojas, who is sharp defensively, is entering his age-34 season and will be a free agent after 2023. The Dodgers traded a top-15 prospect in Jacob Amaya in the deal with the Marlins.
Was Amaya carving out a future role for himself? Not exactly. But he just reached Triple-A and showed improvement. Was this the right move to maximize his value? On top of that, the addition of Rojas creates infield alignment questions.
Is Gavin Lux not the starting shortstop? If he is, did the Dodgers just trade a top prospect for a backup shortstop? If he's not, then how were they so comfortable letting both Corey Seager and Trea Turner walk in free agency, even if the plan was always to go after Shohei Ohtani and then Juan Soto?
The Dodgers are never going to come out and say "we're resetting the payroll so we don't have to pay a higher luxury tax over the next few years," but please, don't tell the fans that you're banking on bounce back seasons from aging players who should be supplementary pieces at this point in their careers.
Dodgers GM Brandon Gomes thinks Max Muncy and Chris Taylor will bounce back
In speaking with Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, Dodgers general manager Brandon Gomes talked about how Muncy and Taylor having full offseasons to prepare for the 2023 campaign will play a big role in their improvements from 2022.
But that wasn't the issue last year. Muncy dealt with a torn elbow ligament and Taylor suffered a fractured foot, which cratered his second-half production. And even if the issue was the lack of a full offseason to prepare due to the lockout, is that really a paramount issue for established MLB veterans?
Both Muncy and Taylor will be heading into their age-32 seasons. They're not "old," but they're certainly not getting any younger. And if the Dodgers are optimistic that these aging options -- who will be called upon to play multiple positions -- will be able to get back on track, return to All-Star form, and propel the team after so many key players departed, then that's an unnecessary stretch.
Muncy, for as good as he's been, saw such success because of how stacked the Dodgers lineup was in previous years. Fans haven't necessarily seen him tasked with being an impact player without elite protection around him. As for Taylor, his defense is extremely valuable because of his versatility, but he's always been a strikeout-heavy bat and more of a lineup-lengthener than anything.
Now that the Dodgers lineup could feature Gavin Lux, Miguel Rojas, JD Martinez and Trayce Thompson as everyday starters, we could be looking at a universal dip in production from everybody, which is why any sort of "resurgence" from Muncy and/or Taylor should be viewed as minimal rather than life-saving.