The "final," pre-injury replacement versions of the 2023 All-Star rosters dropped on Sunday evening, and the Dodgers added a few more feathers in their cap.
If JD Martinez rebounding under the tutelage of his old hitting coach and earning the starting DH job wasn't enough to make you proud, the Dodgers will also send Will Smith to his first ASG, Mookie Betts to his first Derby, and Clayton Kershaw to his 10th All-Star Game (he won't play). Freddie Freeman is also in Year 2 of taking annual trips to represent the Dodgers at the Midsummer Classic.
On the flip side of franchise pride, however, two notable former Dodgers have made All-Star leaps from unexpected places. One seemed to be hitting a rut in LA only to rebound elsewhere and reframe fans' high standards in the process. One seemed to be a worthwhile sacrifice in the Dodgers' dogged pursuit of a championship, only for the fruits of his particular trade to depart without glory.
Josiah Gray, now of the Washington Nationals, was shipped to DC by Keibert Ruiz's side in exchange for Trea Turner and Max Scherzer. "Win-Now" trades don't get more obvious than that, especially with the 2021 Padres breathing down the Dodgers' neck during the negotiations. Unfortunately, both Turner and Scherzer have left town ringless, while Gray would be an effective rotation stabilizer this season in Hollywood (with the Dodgers bracing for Julio Urías' free agency).
Do the Dodgers print minor-league pitching? Absolutely. Would a fully-formed Gray have been a better 2023 option than Emmet Sheehan or Bobby Miller? Seems likely.
Dodgers prospect Josiah Gray earns All-Star nod with Nationals; Kenley Jansen rebounds on All-Star roster
Gray's emergence is likely to make most Dodgers fans proud rather than frustrated. That was a deal that had to be done. It worked until it didn't. Kenley Jansen's 2023 All-Star Game nod with Alex Cora's Red Sox? That's a bit more frustrating.
As the Dodgers' bullpen flounders, Jansen was named the sole representative of the last-place Sox. It's his fourth career All-Star nod (and it's likely the right-hander was even better last year in Atlanta, a season for which he wasn't honored). Jansen suffered from unreasonable standards during his time in Los Angeles. He wasn't Mariano Rivera, but, armed with a 97 MPH cutter, he was as close as anyone in the next era was bound to get (and even the great Rivera was far from perfect). If Jansen had been brought back to the Dodgers on a two-year deal, he would be huffing, puffing, occasionally struggling, and worth every penny, especially compared to the team's current back-end output.
Of course, there's one more obvious former Dodger of note. No, not Yordan Alvarez; that trade has been re-litigated enough already. Not Nathan Eovaldi, either, though we hope he's doing well.
It was plenty nice seeing Corey Seager sock a few ceremonial home runs at Dodger Stadium last summer after bathing in a warm ovation from the crowd, but ultimately, after the break, he was headed back to toil in Texas for an under-.500 club with limited prospects. He looked better in Dodger Blue. It would've been very nice to keep him, but hey, the decision was made, and Los Angeles was unlikely to cross paths with their 2020 World Series MVP anytime soon.
Now? A World Series looms, potentially, over the next few years, and Seager's new team just might just have the upper hand in a theoretical matchup (as well as a theoretical Clayton Kershaw chase). Gulp. The full tale of this particular ex-Dodger has yet to be written.
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