We'll simply let the chronological order of events allow Los Angeles Dodgers fans discern how they feel. But after this year's trade deadline, it's legitimately worth wondering if Andrew Friedman lacks the pull he once had or star players just aren't sold on LA as a premier destination any longer.
And we can't help but think this all started with ...
Feb. 2021: Dodgers sign Trevor Bauer to $102 million contract
July 2021: Dodgers trade top prospects Josiah Gray, Keibert Ruiz for Max Scherzer, Trea Turner
Nov. 2021: Dodgers let Corey Seager depart in free agency with deferred money offer
Nov. 2021: Max Scherzer signs with Mets, calls out Dodgers for usage in intro presser
March 2022: Dodgers let Kenley Jansen depart for Braves in free agency
April 2022: Dodgers trade AJ Pollock to White Sox for Craig Kimbrel
July/Aug 2022: Dodgers acquire Joey Gallo and Chris Martin to "supplement" league-best roster
Nov. 2022: Dodgers don't match Angels' $39 million offer to Tyler Anderson
Dec. 2022: Dodgers non-tender Cody Bellinger, cut off communication with Justin Turner
2022-2023 offseason: Cut spending, passed on a number of big names, and it was revealed they never talked to Trea Turner about a contract extension or contacted him in free agency. He signed with the Phillies.
Don't forget, the same offseason they signed Bauer, they spurned team legends in Joc Pederson and Kiké Hernández, which became a trend with how they treated Seager, Bellinger, Jansen and Turner. Business is business, yes, but sometimes it's personal?
Then we have this year's trade deadline, where it seemed apparent that Justin Verlander and Eduardo Rodríguez didn't want to join the Dodgers. Verlander's case was a bit more complicated, but how things materialized with the Astros rather quickly made it feel like he preferred to join Houston, or that the Dodgers weren't willing to pay up, both of which are equally maddening. And then there's Rodríguez, who invoked his no-trade clause to prevent a move to the Dodgers, citing that he wanted to be on the east coast and closer to his family (even though he's in Detroit, which is very much not the east coast).
But it's worth discussing all of these decisions because many of them seem to have been problematic or led to problematic outcomes. And baked in between were multiple playoff failures that left fans puzzled and heartbroken.
You might say Freddie Freeman's addition partially negates this argument, but since the Dodgers were reportedly his only other top suitor outside of the Braves, who hung him out to dry after the Matt Olson trade, it's kind of hard to truly view that as a situation where a big-name player sifted through a number of options and landed on the Dodgers as their desired choice.
Starting with Bauer, he was a problematic figure from a character perspective, and the Dodgers decided to take the plunge while ditching their World Series heroes in the process. They acquired Turner as a clear message to Seager that his successor was now in town, then barely put up a fight when the Rangers came in hot with a bigger offer in free agency. Whatever happened with Scherzer ... we don't know, but maybe he let Verlander in on his tiff with LA?
The Pollock trade reportedly disrupted the clubhouse, and was another bizarre dealing since the outfielder had just put up a great year. Meanwhile, Kimbrel was one of the most maddening Dodgers pitchers in recent memory. The Gallo trade seemed like an attempt to show the world they "knew better," but in the end, Gallo ended up being a disaster, and the fact he was never used in big moments down the stretch or at all in the postseason compromised the Dodgers' depth. It seems like they made the right decision not to pay Anderson, but at the time, fans were enraged because he had just put up an All-Star season and only would've cost $13 million per year. Some might argue they should've still made the move.
Non-tendering Bellinger and then failing to be transparent with JT might've been the final straw. Bellinger is now tearing it up with the Cubs and Turner's doing the same with the Red Sox, but it's not even about the player performance -- it's the fact these two deeply meant something to the Dodgers community and the front office had no problem kicking them to the curb, just like they did with Hernández and Pederson. And not really communicating with Trea Turner? Again, a move that may have turned out to be smart, but who do they think they are willingly passing on two of the best shortstops in modern day baseball history? Really?
The Dodgers coming away with Kiké Hernández, Amed Rosario, Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly should've been the appetizer. Instead, they were the entire prix fixe menu. And for the second year in a row, Friedman failed to make a true impact move to put his team over the edge when there were plenty of opportunities to do so, as evidenced by the countless moves other contenders made.
Since so many Dodgers fans are fully convinced Shohei Ohtani is signing with LA this season, perhaps this quick rundown will create some healthy internal debate for you, because the pedigree quickly isn't feeling like it used to.