Dodgers finish 2022 early with numerous questions, together with futures of Clayton Kershaw, Trea Turner

October 17, 2022

The Los Angeles Dodgers had been eradicated from MLB’s postseason on Saturday night time, shedding Recreation 4 of their Nationwide League Division Collection to the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers, who received a majors-leading 111 video games in the course of the common season, will now slink into the offseason with only a single postseason victory to indicate for his or her efforts.

As a substitute of spending their hours over the following week plotting the right way to win the NL pennant towards the Philadelphia Phillies, the Dodgers will now have extra (albeit undesirable) time to determine their winter plans. One of many key questions dealing with the Dodgers this offseason, the standing of longtime ace Clayton Kershaw for subsequent season, could have already been answered as a part of his post-game press availability. 

“Yeah I believe so, however. No buts, I believe so,” Kershaw told Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic about his intent to play in 2023. “We’ll see what occurs. Going residence and being round and being a full-time [parent] modifications your perspective on issues. However as of proper now, I would say I will play once more.”

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Presuming the Dodgers maintain the within observe on signing Kershaw — the Texas Rangers, the closest factor he has to a hometown staff, have lengthy been recognized in rumors as a possible suitor — that also leaves a number of urgent issues for Andrew Friedman, Brandon Gomes, and the remainder of Los Angeles’ entrance workplace to type by means of. Beneath, we have addressed three of these notable points in a useful subhead format.

Dave Roberts occupies an unenviable place within the baseball ecosystem: he is a possible future Corridor-of-Fame skipper who seldom receives present-day credit score for his staff’s accomplishments. What Roberts does obtain is lots of blame each time the Dodgers fall sufferer to October’s variance. Roberts has received 63 % of his regular-season video games since taking the reins in 2016. He is led Los Angeles to 3 pennants and the 2020 World Collection title. And but, right here we’re once more, writing about his job safety.

Even accepting that sudden issues occur on a regular basis in baseball, Roberts would seem like secure (the Los Angeles Occasions says Roberts is predicted to return in 2023). He signed a three-year extension again in March that stretches by means of the 2025 season. How’s that for job safety? In idea, the Dodgers may fireplace Roberts and eat the extension; in apply, why would they? Roberts is not the rationale their lineup went chilly. You’ll be able to query a few of his pitching-related choices, however let’s be actual: it appears unlikely that he (or any supervisor as of late) is working with out accepting some steerage from the entrance workplace on these issues.

Perhaps this can be a misinterpret of the state of affairs and the Dodgers do reverse course seven months after committing to Roberts for the foreseeable future. Our guess, although, is that Roberts will endure. Heck, he may even spur this debate once more subsequent fall.

2. What occurs at shortstop?

This is the place issues get attention-grabbing. The Dodgers have the means to retain impending free-agent shortstop  Trea Turner in the event that they so want. That Friedman and Gomes didn’t work out a long-term extension with Turner, the way in which they did with Mookie Betts after acquiring him in a commerce, makes us surprise if the Dodgers will at the least ponder a number of the different choices obtainable to them this offseason.

That is not a knock on Turner, who will likely be a sought-after commodity. This winter simply so occurs to boast one other good free-agent shortstop class. Dansby Swanson and Turner could possibly be joined by Carlos Correa and Xander Bogaerts, each of whom have the flexibility to choose out of their contracts in favor of testing the open market. The Dodgers may additionally flip to the commerce market, although the choices there appear extra restricted. 

Internally, the Dodgers’ high candidate is Jacob Amaya. He is a superb fielder who reached Triple-A over the summer time. He appears unlikely to be the reply, nonetheless, except the Dodgers are a lot greater on his offensive capability than anybody realizes. 

3. And the rotation?

We talked about Kershaw within the introduction. He is certainly one of three Dodgers starters heading free of charge company, becoming a member of Andrew Heaney and Tyler Anderson. Heaney and Anderson had been bargain-bin signings final winter (they made $16.5 million mixed), and each are in line for substantive raises following breakout campaigns.

Whether or not or not the Dodgers attempt to retain one, two, or all three of the above is to be decided. Clearly Friedman and Gomes have a penchant for figuring out veteran starters who may benefit from Los Angeles’ analytical and training insights, which means that they may simply unearth the following Anderson and Heaney and use the monetary financial savings elsewhere. 

Friedman and Gomes do not need to decide to a complete overhaul, the way in which that almost all groups would when 60 % of their rotation is doubtlessly on the outs. They’ve the posh of constant to make use of Julio Urías, Tony Gonsolin, and Dustin Might. It does not harm their peace of thoughts that Walker Buehler will likely be working his method again from Tommy John surgical procedure, or that the Dodgers have a wealth of younger arms who’re both big-league-ready or near it, together with Ryan Pepiot, Andre Jackson, Bobby Miller, and Gavin Stone.

In different phrases, the Dodgers are going to proceed to be good. It is only a matter of who and what their operation entails, and if it will maintain up subsequent October.