As a Dodgers fan, offseasons of the past can most commonly be remembered for big additions and signings rather than losses. This is not something most teams have the luxury of, looking at you Reds fans.
While all fan bases struggled and toiled in the silence of news and absence of hope for a new deal, Dodger fans were facing a new challenge less familiar.
Left stewing over some significant losses to the team, we spent months hopelessly refreshing Jeff Passan’s Twitter with the only baseball keeping us company were highlights of previous seasons and players no longer with us.
World Series MVP Corey Seager departed in free agency (FA) to join the Texas Rangers in the biggest FA deal of the winter.
Star pitcher Max Scherzer, who most Dodger fans will admit they fell quite fond of in a very short space of time, joined the Steve Cohen super team in New York. The Mets have committed $258.5 million on FA alone. That doesn’t even take into account the signing of Chris Bassitt via trade from the Oakland A’s.
Mercurial relievers Corey Knebel and Joe Kelly have joined the Phillies and White Sox respectively. Kenley Jansen, who had a brilliant bounce-back season in 2021 after a weaker 2019 and 2020, entered free agency, and while he confirmed the Dodgers did try to re-sign him, he joined the Braves in a massive $16M contract.
GM Andrew Friedman clearly targeted retaining players over looking to integrate lots of marquee free agents. Chris Taylor was signed before the lockout, and Kershaw was back for his 15th year in blue mere days after baseball resumed.
The major addition to the clubhouse is generational first baseman Freddie Freeman, who has guaranteed his financial future for the next six years with his hometown team. I’m not going to go too deep into details on how superb Freddie Freeman is; that will have to wait for the infield preview.
The only other major free-agent addition was Andrew Heaney who just had a well-below-average season for a pitcher with an ERA+ of 76; That’s 24 points below the average pitcher and less than a win above a replacement-level pitcher.
Starter Tyler Anderson was added through free agency coming into spring training, and veteran reliever Daniel Hudson moved north from San Diego to find space in the new-look Dodgers bullpen.
Senior batters Hanser Alberto and Kevin Pillar were late spring training additions, the former of which necessitated Matt Beaty being designated for assignment, who subsequently got picked up by the Padres.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have a nine-season consecutive playoff appearance streak, with eight of those seasons coming with a National League West divisional win as well. Of the last six (full) seasons, the Dodgers have passed 95 wins three times. In this nine-season streak, the NLCS has been reached six times, with half of those appearances continuing into the World Series, with, of course, one ‘Piece of Metal’ Commissioner’s Trophy. It wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that the Dodgers are in a postseason dynasty.
For the upcoming 2022 season, the expectations shouldn’t be lowered. Anything less than an NLCS appearance should be considered a poor season. But who are the players that will make the most impact? Who will surprise us the most?
As the team takes good shape and free agency settles down, now seems the time to project on the team and what the 2022 season might hold. In the upcoming days, I’m going to be projecting on the key units of the team and how they might help and what roles they might play in this season as the Dodgers hunt for their 8th World Series championship.
Featured image of Full moon over Dodgers city by Albert Valles/Getty Images
Freddie Law-Keen is one of the growing team of writers at Bat Flips and Nerds. Follow him on Twitter @FLK_Sports