Happy Holidays to our loyal readers!
I should start by saying that I didn’t expect to be writing after the 2022 season. Nothing because of what happened with the Dodgers over the course of the year, but rather my own personal schedule and priorities. Writing full time professionally during the last two years has left me with little mental energy for creating content in my spare time, even if it’s about my favorite sport and team.
However, after recently celebrating this site’s seven-year anniversary, it’s really tough to walk away from everything in the blink of an eye. So, a few weeks back, Andy and I decided to contribute content for the site several times weekly. We’re not sure if those posts will increase in frequency over the course of the season, but we remain committed to giving you all something to read and discuss at least a few times per week for now.
Many of the fan sentiments lately have revolved around the team’s dismantling of some of the club’s core players. We saw it begin a few years back when players like Corey Seager, Joc Pederson, Hyun Jin Ryu and Kenley Jansen headed for greener pastures, but this offseason hit especially harder when long-time fan favorites Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger landed with different clubs.
Even though the team did capture a World Championship during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign and appear in three of the last six World Series, many expected much more success, particularly when considering the level of talent compared to many other teams that competed in the playoffs during the same time frame. The idea is the departure of the core players will lead to a new corps of stars that will enjoy an even higher level of success.
Nevertheless, the offense will still be anchored by stars like Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith and Max Muncy, with an already loaded rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias, Noah Syndergaard, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May.
Some pundits feel the team’s depth could be a bit thinner than usual, but this may be by design, as it appears the club is opening the door for a whole slew of young players to get their fair chance in 2023. Names like Miguel Vargas, James Outman and Michael Busch could emerge in the daily batting orders, while there’s a good chance that Ryan Pepiot, Michael Grove, Bobby Miller and Gavin Stone might surface as legit rotation options by season’s end.
Of course, the biggest news lately was Trevor Bauer’s suspension reduction and subsequent reinstatement. The team has until January 6 to either activate him onto the 40-man roster or flat out release him. Unless the Dodgers can find a potential trade partner, the club will be on the hook for the remainder of Bauer’s 2023 salary.
That total is approximately $22.5 million, which coincidentally puts the team right at the luxury tax threshold. Many felt that the team’s posture so far this winter indicated that it was preparing to try to stay under that mark and avoid a whopping 50% in luxury taxes.
Whatever the case may be, we could end up seeing a much more competitive NL West in 2023 than what we witnessed last year.
Here’s wishing all our dedicated readers a blessed year loaded with happiness, joy and some really good baseball.