In recent years, Dodgers fans have watched the 2020 World Champions follow up their storybook shortened season by adding superstars like Freddie Freeman, Trea Turner, Max Scherzer and (gulp) Trevor Bauer.
Entering 2023, only one remains in Freeman, and a good deal of the rest of the roster has been turned over to top prospects like Gavin Lux, Miguel Vargas, and (probably) James Outman next season.
Of the 2020 title-winning Game 6 lineup, only Mookie Betts, Max Muncy, Will Smith and Austin Barnes remain. Clayton Kershaw still anchors the rotation. Julio Urías, once a bullpen stalwart, stands alongside him. Walker Buehler, midway through his rehab, will return someday.
That won't reassure fans who feel like the 2020 champs are disappearing one by one like Michael J. Fox's "Back to the Future" photo.
Dodgers CF Mookie Betts misses key 2020 World Series teammates
According to Betts, his emotions will run heavy, especially when the Dodgers and Red Sox link up:
""I mean, it sucks. But, you know, it’s part of the business. You see stars come and go, and it’s hard to get over the emotional aspect of it. They both will be greatly missed. You never know what can happen. We could end up playing again.""- Mookie Betts
That's what happened with JD Martinez, after all, whose arrival in LA has helped Betts cope just a bit:
""Teammates or not teammates, he’s one of my better friends," Betts told Fox News Digital. "We always talk and communicate but to have him in the locker room again is definitely very special.""- Mookie Betts
The Dodgers will enter 2023 in unfamiliar territory, for more reasons than just the lack of 2020 pedigree. For the first time in quite a while, the Padres have both won the offseason in the NL West and can lay claim to superiority on the field, too, considering they upended the 2022 Dodgers in a shocking NLDS.
LA won't exactly be starting from a hole, but the Padres have stolen both the headlines and the Dodgers' mojo. When Betts and Co. take the field to try to take back what's theirs, they'll be battling alongside a noticeable lack of battle-tested names. Ideally, Martinez and Noah Syndergaard can help fill the recognition void.
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