The only thing that remains constant in baseball is change. The Dodgers have made the postseason in 10 straight years and won the NL West in nine of those, but during that time, 253 different players have played at least one game for Los Angeles. We all remember Clayton Kershaw and Justin Turner, but what about Red Patterson and Onelki Garcia, Mike Freeman and Kevin Quackenbush?
Unsurprisingly, there are former Dodgers all over the league, including some fan favorites. As we head into 2023, let’s take a look at some of these former Boys in Blue and how they did last year.
Hyun Jin Ryu
Ryu signed a four-year deal with the Blue Jays as a free agent after the 2019 season, and in his first year he posted a 2.69 ERA and finished third in the Cy Young voting. Unfortunately, it was downhill from there. His 2021 ERA was 4.37, and in 2022, he made just six starts with a 5.67 ERA before needing Tommy John surgery.
Ryu, who will be 36 in March, has one year left on his contract with Toronto, but he’ll miss most of the season.
Joc had his best offensive season in 2022, posting a, .874 OPS (144 OPS+) and knocking 23 homers in just 433 plate appearances. He also had his worst defensive season, playing a sloppy left field when the Giants bothered putting him in the field at all. After the 2022 season, Joc was one of two players to accept a qualifying offer, so he’ll remain with San Francisco for at least one more year.
Los Angeles traded Stripling to Toronto during the 2020 season, and he struggled in his first two seasons there but really blossomed in 2022. Strip posted a 10-4 record with a 3.01 ERA in 134.1 innings for the Blue Jays, then headed into free agency at a good time. Stripling got two years and $25 million from the Giants.
Seager had a solid first season in Texas, posting a .772 OPS (119 OPS+) for the Rangers while playing solid defense at shortstop. A career .297 hitter coming into the season, Seager batted just .245 in 2022, in part due to the shift. Sports Info Solutions identified Seager as the hitter most affected by the shift, estimating that he lost nearly 30 hits to the shift.
With the shift being banned in 2023, we’ll see if Corey can bounce back. The Rangers certainly hope so, as he’s under contract for nine more years.
Los Angeles traded Maeda to the Twins in early 2020 for Brusdar Graterol. It was originally part of the Mookie Betts trade, which was supposed to be a three-team deal, but Boston decided they didn’t want Graterol so the Dodgers just swung two separate trades instead. Maeda finished second in the AL Cy Young voting in his first season in Minnesota, but he had a lackluster 4.66 ERA in 2021 and was shut down in August of that year with forearm tightness that eventually led to Tommy John Surgery. He didn’t pitch in 2022.
The 34-year-old Maeda has one year left on his contract and is expected to be healthy for the start of the season.
Kiké has had two seasons in Boston since signing as a free agent after winning the 2020 World Series with the Dodgers. Hernandez posted a .786 OPS (108 OPS+) in 2021, good for a career-high 4.9 WAR. He took a big step back in 2022, though, posting just a 75 OPS+ with defense that wasn’t quite as good, either.
Hernandez is 31 and has one year left on his contract.
Hill was also on the Red Sox in 2022, starting 26 games in his age-42 season. He wasn’t great — 8-7 with a 4.27 ERA — but he was good enough to earn a one-year deal with the Pirates for 2023. Hill has been in the big leagues for 18 years, and his 1,294 career strikeouts are ninth-most for any pitcher with fewer than 85 career wins.
Let’s stick with the Red Sox and talk about Verdugo, who was involved in the Mookie Betts trade prior to the 2020 season. Dugie had a great first year in Boston, posting an .844 OPS (123 OPS+) and playing very good defense in right field, earning a few down-ballot votes on the MVP ballot.
After being moved to left field, though, Verdugo has struggled both on offense and defense. Both hit a lot spot in 2022, when he was barely average offensively (102 OPS+) and lousy ond efense, The end result was a 1.2 WAR at age 26 that has people feeling pessimistic about his future.
Jansen is on the Red Sox now, but in 2022, he spent his first season outside the Dodgers organization closing out games for the Atlanta Braves. Kenley led the league with 41 saves, although some of his other numbers — 3.38 ERA, seven blown saves, etc. — were among the worst of his career. After the season, Jansen hit free agency again and signed a two-year deal to be Boston’s closer.
One of the most polarizing Dodgers players in recent memory, everyone had a strong opinion about Grandal, but few of those opinions matched. Yasmani played four years for L.A. after coming over from the Padres in the Matt Kemp trade. After a year in Milwaukee, Grandal has spent the last three years with the White Sox.
Grandal had the worst season of his career in 2022, posting a miserable .570 OPS (64 OPS+) with relatively poor defense behind the plate. Baseball-Reference has him worth -1.4 WAR last year, and he has one year ($18.25 million) left on his deal with Chicago.
Wood spent four years with Los Angeles before being traded to the Reds with Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp after the 2018 season. After one year in Cincinnati, he came back to L.A. and won the 2020 World Series with the Dodgers. He’s spent the last two years pitching for the Giants, and after a solid first year in 2021, Wood was 8-12 with a 5.10 ERA in 2022.
Wood, who will turn 32 next week, has one year and $12.5 million left on his deal with the Giants.
Which former Dodger do you miss the most?
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