As I was writing the article I had previously started, there was some breaking news happening. At first I believed it was an April Fools joke, but it is not.
So now the Dodgers could turn to Kimbrel to close games after the franchise leader in saves, Kenley Jansen, was signed by the Atlanta Braves.
Kimbrel is set to make $16 million this year, while Pollock is making $10 million this season and has a $10 million player option for 2023 that includes a $5 million buyout.
Pollock had a nice 2021 season, hitting 21 homers with an batting average of .297 and appearing in 117 games. Kimbrel, who has been one of the best closers in the game for quite a while, spent 2021 with the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox.
The 33-year-old, who is a former eight-time All Star, could slide directly into the closer’s role. In 63 games last year, Kimbrel posted a 2.26 ERA and posted 24 saves. Some of you may remember he was part of the Cubs combined no hitter, which was against the Dodgers.
Kimbrel posted a 0.49 ERA with the Cubs in 39 games; however, once he was traded to the White Sox his ERA was 5.03 throughout 24 games.
So now the Dodgers, who hadn’t named Jansen’s replacement, get their closer, while the White Sox get their right fielder.
Last season, I came so close to accurately predicting the Dodgers regular season record. In 2020, I fell short by two games, and in 2021 I feel short by one game. While that isn’t a bad track record, I’d like to make progress and do it right on the spot this year.
It’s no secret the Dodgers are expected to be among the favorites to win the World Series this year, as has been the case for nearly the last decade.
This offseason the Dodgers lost a couple of big names such as Corey Seager, Jansen and Max Scherzer. While those are players you certainly do not want to lose, but if a team can afford to lose players of that caliber and still contend, it is the Dodgers.
The Dodgers lose a former World Series MVP in Seager to the Texas Rangers, so what do they do? They add a former N.L. MVP and one of the best hitters in the game in Freddie Freeman.
The Dodger clubhouse now carries three former MVPs, and two former Cy Young winners. Part of the reason the Dodgers can afford to lose players such as Seager and still contend is due to their developmental system. The Dodger farm system was ranked fifth in the league by MLB.com, and has fiddled or been in the top 10 for quite a while now.
In each of the last two full seasons, the Dodgers have won a franchise record 106 games. Even though last season was a carousel of injuries with several key players missing an extended amount of time, the Dodgers managed to have the second best record in the MLB.
So, where does that leave the 2022 squad? I see them winning around 100 games again. Yes, it is no easy task, but I think they can get it done again.
In the NL West Division, the Dodgers are the favorite after the Giants won 107 games in 2021. It is highly unlikely that will be replicated.
My official prediction for the Dodgers 2022 season record is 102-60. We’ll see what happens, and we certainly hope the team can stay healthy this year.