Play Ball

Thursday, March 10, 2022
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2022

On its ninety-ninth day, the Major League Baseball lockout ended just a couple of hours ago, and Opening Day is slated for April 7th.

The new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) gives players a higher minimum salary, raises the luxury tax threshold, expands the playoffs to twelve games, and gives the National League the designated hitter. Within 45 days, Major League Baseball can decide on the pitch clock and bigger bases. There is talk about eliminating the shifts.

Having the universal designated hitter is good for baseball. After the abbreviated 2020 season when the universal DH was implemented, the pitchers had become awful hitters. With modern-day analytics that show there is almost no benefit from having a player sacrificing a runner to the next base. Watching a pitcher hit is often boring and gives fans a chance to have a bathroom break.

Having twelve teams in the playoffs will increase the excitement surrounding baseball postseason. Since the owners get most of the revenues from the national televising from the postseason, they want more areas of the country to be interested in the postseason. The players wanted to keep the importance of the 162-game regular season, so they fought to limit the number of teams allowed in the playoffs. Now, it appears that each division in both the American League and the National League will send two teams.

As the focus of this website is on the Los Angeles Dodgers, they have much to do before spring training begins on Sunday. Major League Baseball must decide on what they want to do with Trevor Bauer. Last July, Major League Baseball put Bauer on administrative leave after a woman asked for a restricting order. Although there are no legal charges remaining against Bauer, many women have come forward to accuse him of being violent during their romantic encounters. If Major League Baseball chooses to suspend Bauer, the Dodger starting rotation needs help.

Clayton Kershaw remains a free agent. At the end of the 2021 season, Kershaw sustained a forearm injury. Although the doctors did not believe he needed Tommy John surgery, he received a PRP injection, but no one knows if he will be ready for Opening Day or able to pitch the full regular season. Does he want to pitch for the Dodgers where he has spent his entire professional career again?

Currently, the Dodgers have three experienced starters. In 2021, both Walker Buehler and Julio Urías hurled the most innings of their careers, and they ran out of gas during the playoffs. These talented young pitchers have had major injuries during their careers and being overused last season makes them more prone to injuries. David Price, 36, has seen his better days behind him.

Before the lockout occurred, the Dodgers signed a mediocre right-handed Andrew Heaney. He has not ever reached his Major League potential, and he does not belong in a Dodger uniform with its great tradition of pitching. Coming off an injury-riddled and disappointing performance in 2021, Tony Gonsolin hopes to earn a spot in the Dodger starting rotation. However, after last season’s playoff debacle, the Dodgers need to add at least one superb starter.

After Corey Seager left for the Texas Rangers, the Dodgers need to find a great left-handed power hitter to replace him. There have been several rumors that the Dodgers have interest in free agent Freddy Freeman. This would be awesome, particularly when the National League has a universal DH. The uncertainty surrounding Max Muncy, who suffered a torn UCL on the last day of the 2021 regular season, the Dodgers must have a reliable left-handed power hitter.

While Major League Baseball threatened to cancel games, they will have a 162-game. The Dodgers should be one of the best teams in the National League. Unless the San Francisco Giants surprise everyone again, the Dodgers should win the National League Western division.

Let us play ball.

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