8 (Not So) Bold Predictions for the Next Decade of Dodgers Baseball

Colorado Rockies v Los Angeles Dodgers
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

As someone who had to write an essay in school about where I would be in the year 2000, I’m having a hard time comprehending that in two days we are entering the third decade of the 2000s.

Many blogs have dedicated posts to ranking the best Dodgers players, games and moments of the last decade. There definitely were some incredible things to remember. Being the huge Clayton Kershaw fan that I am, his no-hitter and his Game 1 World Series start will always stand out to me as special games. He also was the Pitcher of the Decade, which is so special to have had in your organization.

The 2010s also gave us the emergence of role players into superstars, ala Chris Taylor and Max Muncy. It gave us walk-offs to win divisions, to win playoff games, an epic World Series game, and just normal everyday games that made them that much more exciting. Players who started the decade with the team came back around at the end, in Russell Martin and Matt Kemp. There were two Rookies of the Year, Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger. Two NL MVPs—Bellinger and Kershaw (and I will forever believe Kemp was the true 2011 winner). Three Cy Youngs for Kershaw, and a Manager of the Year award for Dave Roberts. Seven division titles, two National League pennants, but alas, no World Series wins.

We all have a favorite player or moment from the last decade but I’m here to fearlessly predict what will happen in the next decade of Dodger Baseball.

Walker Buehler will win multiple Cy Youngs—This one is probably a pretty easy pick. Buehler has become more dominant in each of his seasons, and as the Kershaw’s and Scherzers and deGroms of the world begin their down side of the hill, Buehler is poised to become the next elite Dodger pitcher of this generation.

Buehler will throw a perfect game—This one is a little more tricky, because it’s luck that brings you one of those. But Buehler has the raw stuff and the pure competitive fire to achieve one of the most illusive achievements in sports.

Gavin Lux will win Rookie of the Year in 2020—Another seemingly easy prediction. There is a reason that the Dodgers front office is unwilling to trade their No. 1 prospect. He made a splash when he first was brought up from Triple-A and regressed into the playoffs. But with that experience and another spring training under his belt, Lux will show why the Dodgers brass were so unwilling to let him leave their organization.

Clayton Kershaw will retire a Dodger—If this one doesn’t happen, I will be devastated for the rest of my life. Kershaw will be 32 to start the 2020 season with two years left on his current contract. He specifically stated the last time he was a free agent that he did not want to sign a longer term contract, knowing where he was in his career. I think both sides will be open to working out contract(s) until the time Kershaw decides to retire that will keep him forever in Dodger Blue. He’s not what he once was, but he’s a once in a generation pitcher that deserves to stay with the only organization he’s known. He will also stick around the organization, giving advice like his mentor Sandy Koufax.

Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager will not always be Dodgers—We all know the trends of this ownership group and baseball in general now. The goal is to keep making money and stay under the (self-imposed) luxury tax level. This ownership group could absolutely sign any free agent they want at any time, but they don’t want to have to pay extra in taxes for them (all the while raising prices on tickets and other in game commodities, but that’s for another blog post). As such, they won’t keep all their current superstars when their time comes to test the free agent market. Kershaw was an anomaly because of the generational player he is. They have three current players who will hit free agency in the next few years, and the Dodgers can only “afford” one or two. I think Seager is the first odd man out, and I also see the organization spending first on pitching before hitting. They could do both Buehler and Bellinger, but will they? As their trend is to sign no-names and turn them into stars and use their young talent, I’m a bit skeptical.

The Dodgers will win multiple World Series in the 2020s—Many fans think the window is closing for the Dodgers to finally win that elusive ring, and maybe they’re right. But at least for the foreseeable future, they have as good a shot as any other team. While they’ve been quiet so far this offseason, they have the resources to acquire the players to finally help get them to the promised land. Even though ownership doesn’t want to spend, I do think they recognize on some level they need to make a Championship happen—and soon. I kind of think that once that actually happens, it will happen again. Wishful thinking perhaps, but something has got to give with them group.

Dave Roberts will still be manager at the end of the decade—I know quite a few fans that would be mad at this news. I agree that the bullpen management in playoff games has been suspect at best. But I also think that Roberts has the right temperament and style to manage a team like the Dodgers. I don’t know of any other person who could have handled all the big names, egos, and ups and downs of the last few seasons with such calmness and lack of gossip getting out about some of those players and egos. The Dodgers have long been an organization to keep their managers for long tenures, and when you find one that works with both the front office and with the players, you don’t get rid of him unless something catastrophic happens.

I will write many columns, stay up too late and complain too much about the Dodgers—Hopefully, you will all be right there with me, with the ups and downs (and hopefully more ups than downs). Thank you all for the last four years with this little blog—I’m very much looking forward to what the next decade of Dodger baseball will bring.

 

15 thoughts on “8 (Not So) Bold Predictions for the Next Decade of Dodgers Baseball

  1. I love your musings Andy, but the word superstar has a totally different meaning to me. Taylor and Muncy are at the most, very good players. The Dodgers have 2 players who could be categorized as superstars with one very close, Bellinger and Kersh. And Kersh is no longer that guy. Buehler is close. Arenado is a super star. So is Rendon. Scherzer, Strasburg also. Machado was when he was in Baltimore, not so much now. Yes, the team gave us a lot of thrills, plenty to cheer about, and no titles. It is how AF does business. If I am still around when this decade ends, I will be 82. Hopefully I will see at least 1 more World Series win. But I doubt it will be with Dave Roberts at the helm. That would be the 4th longest tenure by a Dodger manager in history. Behind Alston, Tommy, Robinson. I don’t think he has that kind of staying power. I also think that sometime before the next 10 years pass, Guggenheim is going to capitalize on their investment and sell the team. I think in 5 years, Friedman will be gone too. One can only hope. As for my favorite moments over the last 10 years, some stand out, the combined no no in Mexico over the Padres, Uribe’s game clinching homer in the playoffs against the Braves, Kike’s 3 HR performance in the playoffs against the Cubs. Cody’s game saving diving catch against the Brewers. The steady play of Turner. Kersh when he was on his game was always a highlight. And the 3 rookie walk off homers over the Rockies last year. Lots to look forward too. One more favorite moment, actually a couple. The arrival of the Wild Horse. He broke into baseball with one of the loudest bangs ever, and Max Muncy’s go get it out of the ocean homer off of the Mad Bum.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As good as the Dodgers were offensively last year. Their 1-8 not nearly as powerful as the Yankees. Twins are pretty potent too. NY bolsters it’s pitching and we do not. Toe to toe, the Yanks prevail.

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    1. I thought the team would be sold by 2020. Had that wrong. I thought we would have 1 WS Championship by now. Got that wrong too. I had Seager at third and Yelich in Blue. I traded Joc 3 times and I traded Urias for Hamels. What do I know. Smith .250 with 20 homers? I can see one of those happening, not both. If he OPS’s .750 I’ll be surprised. I still believe Ruiz is the better prospect. I believe May and Gonsolin will both be good. I believe Urias will throw 130 innings of 3.5 ERA. Kershaw will be good, but not great. We will win the West but not as easily as we did last year.

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      1. I obviously have more faith in Smith than most. But I watched a lot of games with that kid behind the plate. And I was at the ball park when he hit his first walkoff homer. And he hit 2 and came close in game 5 of the playoffs. Nothing rattles this guy, he did not let the slump affect his defense, which was stellar. Ruiz might be the better prospect, but until he comes on the scene and takes over, I like Smith.

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  3. I predict ticket prices and food prices in the stadium to rise significantly during the 2020s. I predict that after three more seasons of not winning a championship, the fans will show up with pitchforks at Dodger Stadium demanding that AF is turned over to the mob. I predict that DR is the scapegoat for AF and after failing to win the championship next season, DR is removed and another patsy is hired.

    “Run Away!!!” — Monty Python’s HOLY GRAIL

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    1. Prices are already too damn high for your average fan. Parking alone can be up to 40 bucks. That in of itself is ridiculous. Beer is outrageously high. Garlic fries are 9 bucks a pop, and Dodger dogs are closing in on 7 bucks. Why do that, I can get 2 for 3 bucks at AM/PM.

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  4. New info, it seems that the Dodgers were willing to sign Ryu to a 4 year deal, but they were not willing to give him 20 million a year. So for a mere 12 million over a 4 year period, they lost their Co-ace.

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      1. I think he might be good 2 of the 4 years if he stays healthy. The Dodgers obviously felt he was not worth 20 million a year. But they did not object to the 4 years. Considering what Wheeler got and what some of the others have received, he might end up being a bargain at 20 million a year. I think pitching in that park will be quite a different experience for him. And he doesn’t have to hit. So only time will tell.

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      2. Friedman has his own projection algorithms. I have no clue what they are. Maybe he’s only willing to pay $7 million per WAR and he figures over the next 4 years Ryu is only good for 7 WAR. Only 1 Blue Jay starter put up over 3 WAR and that was Marcus Stroman. Will Ryu be as good as him? Maybe. There are some pretty good hitting teams in that Division.

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    1. Kind of ironic that the Dodgers who are normally the team who wants the shorter contract at the higher AAV loses a really good pitcher by being willing to give him the years but not the money.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I thought so. It kind of makes you wonder what is the real plan. AF has retained his own more than he has gone off the reservation for talent. Who knows, he might want to bring Hill back. There are still some options out there. Not what the fans might like, but some options none the less.

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      2. The plan is to win the West and get into the playoffs with home field. Its the same plan every year and has worked pretty well for a long time. Without doing any more we are NL favorites. There are 14 other teams that wish they were in that position. We fans took some of what Roberts said and ran with it. The team wanted, maybe still wants, to make a few moves to improve, but if players don’t want to play here, imagine that, and GMs don’t want to be reasonable, how can that be, there is little Friedman can do but to say “oh well, let’s go ahead and beat ‘em with what we got”. I’m ok with that.

        The way I see it we come out the gate with young guns blazing and get out in front early. May and Urias will win early and often but might fade by late summer. As many of you know I’ve been an advocate of Nippon baseball model of more players on the roster and a 6 man rotation, keeping everyone fresh into October. If one looks around the planet their are socioeconomic models that just make a lot more sense than ours do. Maybe that’s a conversation more suited for a Stanford CEPA Conference, but you get the point. Nippon Professional Baseball structure is just one of many exemplary paradigms from which we could learn. We already followed one of their leads with the roster expansion and if there is any team’s construction that is ready for a 6 man rotation it is ours. Every year we have at least 10-12 starters because someone needs jacuzzi time come summer. Giving pitchers an extra day rest during the week just makes more sense, but the game is not about making sense, it’s about making money. But I digress….. the point is we play the first half with what we got, make a deadline move for what we need, and finish strong.

        It’s a good plan. Make it so.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I like your plan for starting the year with what we have and adding at the deadline. Only one potential problem. This off season’s plan was to go for a big gun (pitcher, hitter, whatever) and circumstances which you outlined prevented that from happening. What says the same circumstances won’t apply in July (GM’s won’t trade us the guy we want for the players we want to give them). We’ll have another chance at adding someone or someones this July but we should be ready for the same outcome we had this winter. All of this is under the assumption that no big trade is just around the corner in January.

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      4. Who’s plan was to go for a big gun pitcher hitter whatever? I never heard Friedman announce a plan. Roberts shot his yap off, but that doesn’t mean anything.

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