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Dodgers: MLB Insider Gives LA a Mediocre Offseason Grade

It’s the MLB offseason and there’s a lockout, so naturally, the prognosticators are giving out offseason team grades. Jim Bowden of The Athletic released his grades for all the teams in the National League.

What grade did he give our Los Angeles Dodgers?

Dodgers grade: C

We passed! Wait sorry, channeling my high school math reaction. This is the Dodgers, so a C grade for the Dodgers is not acceptable. Let’s break down why.

“The Dodgers lost their 2020 NLCS and World Series MVP, Corey Seager, when he signed with the Rangers, then lost their ace, Max Scherzer, when he signed with the Mets. However, they were able to re-sign the versatile Chris Taylor on a four-year deal that includes a fifth-year option. The Dodgers plan to move Trea Turner to shortstop, his natural position, and give Gavin Lux the first shot at being their everyday second baseman. Los Angeles also improved its pitching depth by signing lefty Andrew Heaney and righty Daniel Hudson to one-year deals. The Dodgers’ biggest need remains starting pitching, but it’s more likely to come from trades than free agency at this point. They’ve talked to both the Reds and A’s about their available, proven starting pitchers, and I would anticipate they might be able to make a deal with one of those teams after the transaction freeze is lifted.”

Can We Apply For Extra Credit?

Breaking down Bowden’s insights, there are some alternative ways of looking at some of them. Yes, losing Corey Seager definitely hurts. This blow can be lightly softened by moving Trea Turner back to shortstop, however. Turner and Seager’s OPS+ and OPS were virtually identical in 2021, give or take one or two points apart. Sliding in a mixture of Chris Taylor/Gavin Lux doesn’t make up for the lost production entirely, but overall the Dodgers are not losing a ton of offense with the loss of Seager. Just a little.

Defensively, one could argue Turner is a massive upgrade at shortstop.

Pitching is where this hurts the most. For all the opinions about Scherzer’s decline given his age, he has not exactly shown it. He still had a tremendous 2021, albeit his arm showed signs of decline at the end. Kershaw’s fate is undecided, but we would like to hope he comes back to LA. Heaney is a nice ‘upside’ pickup who could easily be the Dodgers’ 5th starter. LA did not have a real 5th starter for most of 2021. So if Heaney even throws 180 innings and posts something like a 4 ERA, that is as much as you can ask of your 5th starter.

Hudson will likely set up Blake Treinen. It’s feasible that they fight for the closer role, but Treinen as a Dodger has certainly earned the right to keep it. This hinges on Kenley Jansen leaving in free agency, as most pundits agree he will.

Unfair Grade

In reality, the grade is unfair. If this were a true test from a teacher, the more correct version would be “incomplete.” The MLB lockout put a freeze on the Dodgers front office, so for all we know Andrew Friedman had a couple of big tricks up his sleeve. Many Dodger fans were dreaming of a Freddie Freeman for Christmas as well as a top-tier starter.

Dodger fans will just have to wait.

NEXT: What Would a Trea Turner Contract Extension Look Like?

31 Comments

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  1. Have you not learned AF is best Baseball Ops Pres in the game? You do realize the off-season is not remotely close to being completed!

    AF will have an A+ when it’s done…start re-writing your hit piece!

  2. To the owners and the players: Baseball fans worldwide would appreciate it if you two sets of characters would quit postering and sit down with the intent of actually settling your differences. What separates you is not unresolvable.
    The off-season is very important to true fans of the game. It’s when we get to watch our front office build next year’s team. It’s all about strategy, and more important, hope. Freezing transactions and floundering negotiations steal hope from your loyal fan base.

    I suppose the best we can hope for is talks to resume in January.

    • Usually the biggest sticking point is “revenue sharing” with the weakest worthless owners of laughably bad teams crying that they’re “small market” and don’t make enough money to spend as much as the Dodgers, Yankees, and rest of the top 10. Meanwhile, those top 10 owners complain that if the worst bottom 10 teams in baseball would actually put a good product on the field by investing better in talent by spending the money necessary, then more people would show up to their games so that they earn their own revenue instead of latching onto the bigger spenders. It’s always a “haves” vs “have nots” and that’s the problem with baseball.

  3. I can see why you got a C in high school math. Sorry. Chris Taylor/Gavin Lux were part of the starting lineup through most of the season, along with Corey Seager. How is it then that “overall the Dodgers are not losing a ton of offense with the loss of Seager”?

    • PAPARULEZ – Corey was injured and didn’t play a lot last year. CT3 played a ton, and gavin quite a bit. So overall we are not losing a ton of offense with the loss of Seager

  4. It will be when it’s over but you can’t say that right now during a lockout. At least wait until after

  5. It gets so old that ‘insiders’ keep saying what a loss Seager was for us. Corey was not really much of a loss. He was good but there are good shortstops out there that are better at the position (TT?). For the price that he got signed for… well, the Rangers are going to regret that one. Kinda like they regretted Arod back in the day. Corey is never going to be worth 32+ a year.

  6. Once we get Freddie Freeman, Kris Bryant, Carlos Rodon, Zach Davies, and 3 time World Series champion Jon Lester, our grade will go up.

    • Problem is Prince, they broke up the band and don’t have any talent in the farm. The should have been dynasty is over, the economy is doomed with the brain surgeon and party that’s inflating the country. These owners know it’s hard times coming, they also know they’ll make as much money with attendance and their HUUUUUUUGE TV deal that they won’t be spending like they did. You have to Buy a championship, and the FO tried, it was dwindled away by the greatest winning manager of all time. It is what it is but reality says Friedman and the money purse is reverting back to the 2012 days of relying on the developement of players, and managing the salary cap/luxury tax threshold ……Don’t be surprised when Kasten starts taking over the mic and trying to convince the fan base they are offering these players incredible contracts, and the players choose to leave. It’s just the business B.S. He realizes the window has closed and so is the should have been dynasty…

        • Let’s hope Paul that the FO tells Drrrrrrrrr it’s basically rebuild mode, and he wakes up to the fact that his super 280 million dollar team won’t be able to win in spite of his fife moves any longer. A great example would be Joe Maddon, he was given the super team, won the World series no matter how bad he was, then the Org said they were doing a rebuild of their atrocious contracts. Joe knew he would be exposed, he then used his Ring for his own big new contract, went to the Angels and the “Real” Maddon is exposed. Hopefully for the good of this Org, Drrrr’s arrogant will seal his own ticket out knowing he now “REALLY has no chance without the BIg Money team”.

      • Kirk the team is loaded with prospects many of whom are ready for the majors and should be given a serious opportunity when baseball resumes. Miller, Pepiot, and Jackson will compete for the roster in the spring (if there is one) with Vargas, Busch, and Knack coming later in the year. Andy Pages and Diego Cartaya are special players in the making with Maddux Bruns, Brandon Lewis, Clayton Beeter, and Jimmy Lewis potential climbers.

        I agree with you the team will cut back spending while infusing young talent but believe it’s exactly why the window will remain open. Adding ridiculously overpaid veterans should only be considered at the deadline for specific in-season need. That said if Freeman somehow became serious option …

        • Bum I agree with you on everything except the MANY prospects that will be Major league ready. The team had that philosophy with EVERY guy they brought up this past season. None could catch fire, and Friedman traded the One guy that looked OK for the future pitching staff. Mckinstry was a big disappointment, so was Neuse, Raley and even Lux wasn’t what he was supposed to be. But their definitely in a slight rebuild because they still need to rebuild the bench, need 2 starters and now losing Knebel and Kelly, they need those guys replaced as well. I agree the over paying of some of these guys is ridiculous . Resigning a burned up Kershaw should be nothing more than farewell tour. Kenley could help the team but not sure he’s got much left in the tank. Lot’s and Lot’s of innings on these guys arms. I sincerely hope they do play the young up and coming guys, and I also hope they bring up some Minor coaches that know how to play to the strengths of the players etc. The current manager won’t have a clue…

  7. It is far too early to give a grade. A full season of Trea Turner will offset the loss of 60% of a season of Cory Seager. [He had a broken hand and could not recover from that for a very, very long time]. Sign Freddie Freeman and the team should score as many runs in 2022 as it did in 2021. Even without Freeman, having the Lux of September 2021 and the Bellinger of the playoffs should help, if those players show up, not their earlier in the season selves. A bigger problem is that without signing Kershaw and Rodon, or making some really good trades, and even if doing so, they are very likely to give up significantly more runs than last year, due to lesser quality starting pitching. They are losing 1/2 a season of Bauer and 1/3 of a really great Scherzer performance too. [They won all 11 of his starts, how do you replace that?] They have done nothing to replace those key starting pitching losses. That is the key for the rest of the off-season, when it starts up again. And they should have won several more games last year based upon their best in MLB run differential. That is where manager strategy comes into play. They refuse to fix that. The best way to increase the number of wins next year is to replace Roberts. If they had Kapler as manager last year, they would have won 112, not 106, games. Signing Kenley Jansen would likely improve their chances of winning an extra couple of games in 2022. His 70 innings could be very helpful and have a ripple effect throughout the bullpen. With him on board, they can pull a failing starting pitcher an inning earlier in many games. Let Treinen pitch the 8th inning instead of closing. Don’t move into the 8th inning relievers best used in the 6th and 7th, etc.

  8. I am also a 65 year (actually 67) Dodger fan from the mid west. I have never seen more frustration on the part of Dodger fans than I have this off season. However, communication was not available for the vast majority of those 67 years like it is today because the “pony express” was not as fast as social media is today. From my stand point, this platform enables all of us to discuss our beloved Dodgers and I, for one, really appreciate the opportunity to listen to (or read) my Dodger’s brothers and sisters opinions. What a great way to pass the time until it’s “time for dodger baseball”!

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