There is plenty of time in the long, dark offseason to second-guess and armchair quarterback what should have happened with the Dodgers in the 2019 playoffs, and what should happen over the coming winter.
This offseason has been especially hard on Dodger fans, as more and more evidence comes out every day about the Houston Astros. The eventual World Series winners may or may not have used technology to gain an unfair advantage in the 2017 season. Specific to Dodger fans, Game 5 of the World Series will haunt them forever. I wrote about this last week, and specifically how it makes me upset for Clayton Kershaw and his postseason legacy.
Earlier this evening, I was listening to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register on MLB Radio. Host Casey Stern suggested that the Dodgers were too stubborn in their plan of attack in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Washington Nationals. Plunkett took it further, saying they were too arrogant. They had a plan going into Game 5 and stuck with it regardless if their gut told them otherwise as the affair unraveled. They ran Kershaw out there too long, setting him up once again for failure.
So now, after seven failed postseason attempts in a row, the Dodgers’ front office must leave the arrogance behind.
Admittedly, so far the template has been very good. You don’t win seven straight division titles and reach the World Series twice in seven years on luck alone, along the way having two Rookies of the Year, two NL MVPs, and a farm system still full of young talent ready to help.
But, the fact still remains that they have yet to win it all.
This is one of the best free agent classes in a while. Realistically, the big names last season weren’t anyone that the Dodgers were going to sign, both position-wise and long term contract-wise. But this offseason, there is not one, but two premier arms on the market, plus an MVP finalist infielder.
The Dodgers’ front office and owners must recognize that they cannot remain with the status quo if they expect to win the World Series anytime soon. The Dodgers have been the best team, at least record wise, in the National League for the last three seasons, but there are a few teams that are closing in. Sure, as is, the Dodgers could easily win the NL West for the eighth straight year with just a few tweaks to the team. But that is not enough for the team or for the fan base.
There are many great suggestions out there as to how the front office can make this team better. The question is, how many moves does the front office finally make so that Kershaw is not called upon to go one too many batters again? So that they don’t have to throw a not-yet-rehabilitated Rich Hill as a starter? So that maybe there is another clutch postseason hitter?
This team is lead by many brains who have done a very good job so far. Fans now need them to do a great job.