Is this the year Andrew Friedman's practices and processes are exposed after we just witnessed the Texas Rangers defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks in the World Series? One young, upstart team vs a big spender and aggressive trader that mixed in some prospects? One of those should be the Dodgers.
And what timing ... because Friedman's contract could be coming to an end soon. He signed an extension after the 2019 but the details weren't disclosed. His previous deal was five years in length, and if that was the case the last time around, that would mean he'll be a free agent after 2024.
Might the Dodgers' ownership group ponder a change after witnessing what the Texas Rangers did with an assortment of former Dodgers players? With the type of free agency and trade market aggression the Dodgers are supposed to possess but don't? Powered by the fearless attitude the Dodgers should embody?
Maybe ownership has a hand in the Dodgers' extreme caution when it comes to spending. Maybe the organization is content with Friedman constantly keeping the team in contention without the proper preparation for a lengthy World Series run and triumph. We'll probably never know.
But the Dodgers getting ousted by the Diamondbacks, whose younger players and veterans were better tasked for the assignment than their Dodgers counterparts, and then the Rangers cruising to their first World Series in franchise history has to spur some changes.
Reckoning might be coming for Dodgers' Andrew Friedman after 2023 World Series
Corey Seager. Former Dodger. Doesn't know why the team didn't re-sign him. He led the Rangers' offensive surge in October every step of the way and captured the World Series MVP. Not only did Friedman let Seager go, but he didn't re-sign Trea Turner to replace him.
Josh Sborz. He closed out the World Series went on a tear during the postseason (one earned run in 12 innings). The Dodgers dumped him off the roster when they signed Trevor Bauer. Sborz was traded to Texas and the rest is history.
Andrew Heaney. Though not the most impressive Dodger, definitely somebody they could've used in 2023 because of their horrific starting pitching depth and lack of experience. Heaney won Game 4 of the World Series and appeared in the most games of his career in 2023.
Nathan Eovaldi. A former Dodger over a decade ago, but Friedman had the chance to reunite with the right-hander last offseason, again, when LA badly needed pitching. They passed, Eovaldi inked a two-year, $34 million deal with the Rangers, and he orchestrated another legendary October run (the Dodgers saw his last one up close and personal in 2018).
How about the missed trade acquisitions this year? The Rangers swiped Max Scherzer, Jordan Montgomery, Aroldis Chapman and Chris Stratton before the deadline to patch up their loss of Jacob deGrom in the rotation and to help an ailing bullpen. Did the Dodgers have to pull off all of those moves? No. But Kiké Hernández, Amed Rosario, Joe Kelly and Lance Lynn, in hindsight, weren't even close to what the team actually needed.
Some of these impact moves are obvious, which is part of the point here. Perhaps Friedman and his front office are more concerned with finding the next great cheap reliever or the next Max Muncy rather than crushing the softball right in front of them. In theory, such moves of greater magnitude should be easier for an organization like the Dodgers, but Friedman's gotten less and less aggressive ever since 2020.
The amount of money the Dodgers spent of failed relief pitching projects could've funded a mid-size contract or a large payroll addition at a given trade deadline. The lone long-term deals given to Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman aren't enough, and were never going to be. The extension for Chris Taylor (and stopping there) has proven to be a bit of an oversight. The move for Trevor Bauer arguably set this franchise off course the moment he was suspended. The callous attitude that seemingly shrouded the Seager, Hernández, Joc Pederson, Cody Bellinger, and Justin Turner departures felt very wrong. Passing on guys like Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, Zack Wheeler, Dansby Swanson, Justin Verlander, Kevin Gausman, Gerrit Cole and others. Trading Yordan Alvarez. The list goes on.
Friedman played a role in gradually deconstructing a winner after the 2020 season and has made countless missteps since. Miss out on Shohei Ohtani and/or the few other game-changing names that will be available this offseason, and the 2024 conversations surrounding Friedman and the Dodgers might turn quicker than we could've ever expected.