In one of the most bizarre offseasons for the Los Angeles Dodgers in recent memory, the team has watched Trea Turner, Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, Chris Martin, Tommy Kahnle, Joey Gallo and Craig Kimbrel leave. They've brought in Noah Syndergaard, JD Martinez, Shelby Miller and Jason Heyward to seemingly fill the voids, with Miguel Vargas, Gavin Lux and James Outman already here to do the same.
But it's obvious the team didn't get better. There's an argument to be had that LA didn't necessarily get worse, but with the goal each and every year being to win a World Series, treading water after another disappointing season certainly isn't the answer.
It's an open secret that the Dodgers are reluctant to spend given Trevor Bauer's contract situation, the organization's desire not to be repeat luxury tax offenders, and the great likelihood Shohei Ohtani is prioritized next offseason.
But are they really going to go into 2023 with this as their roster? Will it be able to compete with the San Diego Padres and the rest of the NL contenders? Hell, will the upstart D-Backs and Rockies give them more trouble than expected?
While the silence around transactions might be discouraging for some fans, general manager Brandon Gomes reassured this week that the Dodgers are still "exploring different avenues" to improve the roster for the 2023 campaign.
Dodgers GM Brandon Gomes says the team isn't done making upgrades
By "different avenues," Gomes is very clearly referring to the trade market materializing, because the Dodgers have watched all the top free agents sign elsewhere and there are no desirable options remaining, even if they were willing to spend.
This year's winter meetings, usually a playground for GMs to wheel and deal, mostly featured free agent signings. Just about two weeks ago, MLB insider Ken Rosenthal noted that fans probably wouldn't see any trades agreed upon until after the new year because the market has been lagging.
The Dodgers, whether legitimately or not, have been connected to players like Brewers shortstop Willy Adames, Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson, Mariners outfielder Jarred Kelenic, Diamondbacks outfielder Alek Thomas, and Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds. You'd have to figure other players from non-contenders like the Twins, Tigers, Royals, Athletics, Nationals, Reds, Marlins and Cubs could emerge, too. To name a few, Max Kepler, Gregory Soto, one of many Royals pitchers, Ramon Laureano, Ian Happ and others may become available as the weeks progress.
The Dodgers have a need for bullpen, outfield and infield help to varying degrees. They could enter 2023 with what they have and be totally fine, but is that really the necessary vibe as a new era of baseball dawns on Chavez Ravine?
Don't expect any blockbusters, but be on your toes for a couple of Dodgers upgrades in the month of January, assuming Gomes is leading us in the right direction.