Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2021
The Los Angeles Dodgers lost both Max Scherzer and Corey Seager. The New York Mets gave Scherzer a three-year $130 million deal, and the Texas Rangers gave Seager a ten-year $325 million deal. Both players are represented by Scott Boras, and Dodger president Andrew Friedman does not have a good working with Boras.
What do the Dodgers do now?
First, the Dodgers must be congratulated for not overpaying for either Scherzer or Seager giving them payroll flexibility. During the playoffs, particularly during the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves, Scherzer had a dead arm. While most baseball-knowledgeable people think Scherzer’s dead arm is nothing, he will be 38 next July, and he has not had a major arm injury during his 13-year Major-League career. After hurling about a million pitches, Scherzer has more likelihood of having an arm injury than most starters. In 2021, Dodger fans had witnessed how difficult it is to find an adequate replacement starter during the season.
Now, the Dodgers have Walker Buehler and Julio Urías in their starting rotation, and they need more starters to have an elite starting rotation in 2022. Both Buehler and Urías are coming off a great 2021 season while setting career highs in innings pitched, and both have had major arm injuries in their professional baseball history. They might struggle in the 2022 season with trips to the IL.
The Dodgers have left-handed David Price who can start on their 2022 roster, and in the recent past, Price had been a splendid starter in the American League. However, after electing to sit out of the abbreviated 2020 season, Price did not perform well in the 2021 season with a 4.03 ERA. Price may perform better during the 2022 season when he knows he will be a starter. Price probably has seen his better days behind him, but the Dodgers will hope the 36-year-old lefthander can recapture some of the magic that he had displayed earlier in his Major-League career.
At some point during the 2022 season, Dustin May will return from Tommy John surgery, and he will give the Dodger starting rotation a boost. Yes, May will have some degree difficulty upon his return since every pitcher who returns from Tommy John surgery. However, he has unbelievable pitching talent, and he will be an incredible force in the Dodger starting rotation for 2023 and beyond.
The Dodgers hope Tony Gonsolin will have a fantastic 2022 season after a disappointing 2021 season. Gonsolin played a major role in the 2020 world championship season; however, he could not play an integral role in the 2021 season. He had right shoulder inflammation. While Gonsolin made the Opening Day roster, he toiled during spring training with his control and did not pitch before early June. He did not have good control and went on the IL on July 31st with shoulder inflammation. He returned in September but did not perform well. In the playoffs, he pitched four innings but allowed five runs.
The Dodgers have both Mitch White and Andre Jackson coming up to be parts of the starting rotation. If they continued to develop normally, they will play integral roles in the rotation.
The elephant in the room is Trevor Bauer. Since July, the Dodgers do not know if Bauer will play for the Dodgers or in the Major Leagues again. His enormous contract probably prevented the Dodgers from
either Scherzer or Seager.
Hopefully, Clayton Kershaw will feel healthy to pitch during the 2022 season and will choose to resign with the Dodgers. While he is not the same pitcher as he was in 2014 when he earned the National League Cy Young Award and MVP, he will bring experience to the Dodger starting rotation, which will be young unless Friedman either signs or trades for a veteran starter.
Reportedly, the Dodgers signed right-handed reliever Daniel Hudson to a one-year $7 million deal. He had an awful year with a 5.21 ERA. In 2018, Hudson was a Dodger and performed satisfactorily. While the Washington Nationals traded Hudson to the San Diego Padres in July, he could not perform for the Padres because of a strained elbow.
The loss of Seager is a heartbreaking for many Dodger fans, but the Dodger organization would not have given Seager what the Rangers did. In 2016, Seager was won the National League Rookie of the Year, and in 2020, he won the NLCS and World Series MVPs. However, away from having Tommy John and hip surgeries, Seager has been plagued with hamstring and back injuries.
The Dodgers simply move Trea Turner to his natural position shortstop. However, they must replace Seager’s offensive production, and it will be difficult. As a Dodger, Seager hit .297 with 104 home runs and 364 RBI. Freddie Freeman, the Braves’ longtime first baseman who is a free agent, would be a perfect fit for the Dodgers. He is a .295 left-handed hitter with 271 home runs and 941 RBI and has a Gold Glove. While Max Muncy is a great first baseman, he is recovering from a torn UCL and can play second base, a need for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers must make re-signing Chris Taylor a top priority. Without Seager, they need a good backup shortstop, and Taylor is. He can play anywhere and has demonstrated a unique ability to hit in clutch during the 2021 postseason.