Monday is a pretty bad day for Los Angeles Dodgers. They are said to have lost their best hitters and best pitchers to free agency, like Corey Seager agrees to 10-year deal with Rangers and Max Scherzer accepts a three-year contract with a record salary from the Mets. And to make matters worse, Max Muncy revealed a ligament tear in his elbow was not healing as quickly as he would have liked.
“I didn’t recover as quickly as I would have liked, but that’s what happens when you do some serious damage to your body.” Muncy said in an interview with the MLB . Network. “UCL tearing is a slow process.”
So that makes for a pretty bad day, huh? The Dodgers won 106 games this past season, and you could do much worse than starting your team with Mookie betting, Trea Turner, Walker Buehler, etc Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, and Chris Taylor Still a free agent.
There’s no way to replace Scherzer, still one of the game’s best pitchers, and the only way to completely replace Seager is to sign a contract. Carlos Correa, it seems not all of that. Even beyond the sign-stealing hostility, if the Dodgers are willing to spend what it takes to sign Correa, they’ll re-sign Seager. I think Correa is a non-grata person.
Here, for posterity, is what the Dodgers’ current starting lineup looks like (focusing on the names, not necessarily the polish order):
- RF Mookie Betts
- SS Trea Turner
- 1B Max Muncy
- 3B Justin Turner
- NS Will Smith
- LF AJ Pollock
- CF Cody Bellinger (does the boy need him to have a big rehab season now)
- 2B Gavin Lux
- Pitcher’s spot
If the elbow forces Muncy to start 2022 on the injured list, the Dodgers will have Matt Beaty and Sheldon Neuse is their top first base option. They could move Bellinger back to first place, although that would just move the formation problem from first base to center court and it would be a lot easier to find an effective first defender than An effective midfielder.
Additionally, the upcoming collective bargaining agreement is expected to make DH permanently universal, and as deeply as it is, the Dodgers have no clear DH candidate at the moment. Adding a first sentry to protect from Muncy’s elbows and also to fill that DH slot when he’s healthy seems like an obvious need and an easy way to level up the squad.
Two names immediately come to mind: Freddie Freeman and Matt Olson. Freeman grew up in Southern California and it would only cost money (and a draft) to sign him. Will the Dodgers offer a 32-year-old first player a big-money long-term contract after refusing to hand a deal to 27-year-old Seager? Probably! I still feel like Freeman is destined to come back brave in spite of.
Will the Dodgers sign? Trevor’s story? They know him well after watching him with the division’s opponents Rockies six years, and he wouldn’t be asking for a big deal like Correa and Seager. His market is better suited to Javier Báez () and Marcus Semien ( ) limit. Sign Story, move Turner to second, put Lux in a super utility role? It can be done.
The post-Scherzer rotation is a more pressing issue than the post-Seager era of the roster. The current roster is good enough to compete with and I’m confident Los Angeles will find a chance to flourish with or without Jansen. Rotation though? Eh, that worries me. Post-season was a huge war of attrition before, so depth is crucial, and here’s the Dodgers’ current rotation:
- RHP Walker Buehler
- Film Festival Julio Urias
- RHP Tony Gonsolin
- Film Festival Andrew Heaney
- Film Festival David Price
- RHP White Mitch
In all capacity Trevor Bauer will be subject to a suspension order under MLBnext season’s domestic violence policy, so don’t count on him to return. Price made 11 starts in 2021, mostly on limited pitches and he’s best suited as a guy playing a half or two at this point in his career. His days as a 200 inning horse were over. Buehler and Urías were great! The rotation behind them is sketchy.
Re-signing with Kershaw should alleviate some concerns about rotation depth but only slightly, because he ended last season injured and his current condition is unclear. It was another forearm problem, his second of the year, and forearm problems were a precursor to Tommy John surgery. Not always, but often enough that elbow reconstruction is a legitimate concern.
Free Agent offers only one reliable feed at this time (Marcus Stroman). Apart from Stroman, there are some kind of high risk/high reward like Carlos Rodon and Yusei Kikuchi (and Kershaw). Los Angeles has brought about a kind of reclamation project in Heaney. Do they really want more than one of those people in the spin at once? That is really risky.
As noted earlier, player A has three starters to qualify for arbitration (Bassitt, Manaea, Montas), plus Red is said to be open for trading Sonny Gray. Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle as little as that, but at least you have to ask. NS Marlins well worth the call. They have the arms to spare and need in the squad. How about Lux cho Pablo López, then re-signed with Taylor to play second? Just an idea.
Dodgers are still good – very well – although they now have more list questions than they could have at any point in the past 5-6 years. They went from having too many starts in spring training to needing a poor warm-up, and Muncy’s injury created a lot of instability early and in the middle of the roster. That was some really bad news on Monday.
The good news is that the season is still relatively young, and the Dodgers have weeks to come up with a solution. The bad news is that a lockdown is imminent, which will halt all major league activities. The Dodgers can offer solutions but will not be able to implement them until a new collective bargaining agreement is in place. They will be stuck in limbo like everyone else.
There’s no way to sugarcoat it: Scherzer and Seager’s departure as a free agent was a devastating blow to the Dodgers. They were almost irreplaceable, and the news that Muncy’s elbow wasn’t healing as quickly as hoped was salt in the wound. The Dodgers are very good and smart, and I would never underestimate them. Right now, however, they’ve suffered massive losses and face the uncertainty of being locked in trying to pick up the pieces.
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