It’s been a weird offseason for the Dodgers and their fans, with longtime stars Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger departing in free agency along with less-longtime but still important stars like Trea Turner and Tyler Anderson. It’s also been weird for the players remaining in Los Angeles, as Dodgers utilityman Chris Taylor said on Tuesday when he was a guest on Access Dodgers.
“It’s a little different feeling, for sure. It’s sad to see a lot of those guys go. Obviously, some of my best friends and longtime teammates and I’m going to miss them. I wish them all the best in their new homes.”
Still, Taylor understands the reasons behind letting those players walk, including that L.A. has a very deep farm system and some young players ready to make their marks in the big leagues.
“But, yeah, I think it’s exciting for a lot of, some of our younger players that have been doing really good things in our minor league organizations for a long time and are well overdue for, to get their chance in the big leagues and create their legacy.”
It’s a delicate balance to walk, having a “youth movement” while also trying to compete for a World Series title. For example, the Dodgers have five veteran starting pitchers (Julio Urias, Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, and Noah Syndergaard) along with three young starters who’ve seen big-league action (Ryan Pepiot, Michael Grove, and Andre Jackson) and two top pitching prospects (Bobby Miller and Gavin Stone). On the position-player side, they have Miguel Vargas, Michael Busch, and James Outman who are all ready to play in the big leagues, although Vargas is the only one they’re currently fully committed to.
But Taylor believes in L.A.’s system and expects the young players to make their mark with the team in 2023.
“I really think those guys are going to step up for us. We’ve had one of the best organizations top to bottom in baseball for the last six or seven years and I think that’s a big reason why we didn’t bring back some of those guys that obviously we all wanted to keep. But, we’ve had these guys waiting and they’ve been working their a**** off to get to this point. So, I think they’re going to step up when their name is called.”
There’s less certainty in Los Angeles than we’ve had in a while, but there’s tremendous upside that could kick off the next ten years of this extremely long competitive window.
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