The 2021 MLB season will be over no later than one week from today, yet it still feels too early to have days without Dodgers baseball. That being said, the team has already begun preparations for the upcoming season and will try to figure out how to get back to the Fall Classic one year from now.
Ahead of what will be one of the most intriguing winters that the Dodgers have had in quite some time, President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman took some time to field questions on Wednesday afternoon at Dodgers Stadium. One of the day’s biggest topics was the impending free agency, which includes more than a handful of current Dodgers. When asked how the team would handle the winter discussions, Friedman gave insight into his process.
“I think each offseason feels that way to me when we’re mired in it,” Friedman said Wednesday, speaking with the media for the first time since the Dodgers’ elimination by the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series. “I get the focus on our pending free agents. Our focus will be there as well soon too. But we also have a really good core in place and a really strong group that’s returning with some players coming up that we feel really good about.
As much as fans would love to bring back all of their favorite free agents every year, this is rarely the case. This isn’t to say that players don’t want to play in Los Angeles, but they will go where opportunity lies.
The truth is that teams can’t afford to pay every player that hits the market, which is why building a strong farm system has always been as important if not more so than having deep pockets. And if there is one thing that has become apparent in recent years, it is that the Dodgers have an excellent track record when it comes to developing their prospects.
With Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer hitting the free-agent market once the World Series wraps up, starting pitching will be atop the to-do list for LA. Andrew Friedman isn’t worried about it being an issue, however, especially given the talent already within the organization.
We’ve got some really good guys in place. That being said, we’re going to need to address [the rotation]. We’ve got a really good group of young starting pitchers coming with Mitch White, Andre Jackson, Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot, Landon Knack.. who will all be upper levels or Major League [level] when we start the year. It really gives us a really strong foundation of depth, and so now rounding out the rotation will definitely be something that we’re focused on as we get into the winter.
While the team will almost certainly do everything possible to bring back Clayton Kershaw and potentially even Max Scherzer, it’s good to know that the future is bright even if they don’t. There is a reason that this team is consistently among the best in baseball, and it isn’t because of their money alone. Having the ability to find above-average replacements from within will always be the Dodgers’ greatest weapon.