The 2019 MLB season has officially been put to bed, thanks to a 6-2 win by the Washington Nationals over the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the World Series.
As Dodgers fans well know, it very well could have been the Dodgers, as Los Angeles was leading the game against the Wild Card Nationals in their own Game 5, when the bullpen once again gave up the lead.
The Nationals definitely had something special going on this season, a never give up attitude. While the Dodgers obviously didn’t want to give up, they did lack a certain pop, a certain player to put the team on his back and rally the troops.
Could an early exit to the postseason be the best thing to happen to the Dodgers? They had the rest of the postseason to sit and watch, mostly what the Nationals did right. I know that the Nationals were a bit of an outlier, but they relied on just six pitchers to get them through the whole World Series. But, as I’ve stated before, some makeup of the Dodgers needs to change. Somehow they have to have more players that don’t stop hitting in the postseason.
The majority of the Dodgers roster will be back next season. There are four players who became free agents today—David Freese, who will retire, and Russell Martin, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill. There is a chance that one or both of Ryu and Hill re-sign with the team. Regardless, this team is still good enough to win the west for the eighth-straight time. But, the rest of the National League is getting better, and the American League is still going to have two juggernauts in the Astros and Yankees for at least next season, if not longer.
There were a few bits of Dodgers roster news today, in addition to the four players that became free agents.
In a surprise to no one, Kenley Jansen chose not to opt out of his contract. He had two years and $38 million left on his contract and would have been unlikely to find better money elsewhere.
The Dodgers added southpaw swing man Victor Gonzalez to their 40-man roster. He rose quickly through the Dodgers’ ranks this past season, starting in Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and ending up in Triple-A Oklahoma City. This will protect him from the Rule 5 draft in December.
In closing, I caught a quote by World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg today. He said something to the effect of: “We’ve been punched in the face enough times we finally fought back and won it all.”
Let’s hope that the Dodgers feel this way for next season—that the jarring early exit prompts players and coaches and front office alike to get that key player or two to win it all.