Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2021
Everyone thought the 2021 Dodgers would repeat as world champions, but from the beginning of the 2021 regular season, it was obvious that it was not meant to be. On Opening Day, Justin Turner passed Cody Bellinger on base paths, erasing Bellinger’s first home run of the year. The bad luck continued to follow the Dodgers, though the team won 106 games, through the postseason.
Counting the playoffs, every regular, except Will Smith, spent time on the IL. While the Dodger organization will never make excuses, the injuries derailed the Dodger magnificent season. No one saw the San Francisco Giants winning 107 games to earn the National League Western Division. At no time, the Dodgers were at full strength. If Max Muncy could have played during the postseason, the Dodgers might have repeated.
Injuries decimated the Dodger starting rotation, and they could not put away the eventual world champions Atlanta Braves. Both Walker Buehler and Julio Urías performed marvelously during the regular season, but they ran out of gas during the NLCS against the Braves. While President Andrew Friedman tried to obtain starters during the season, only Max Scherzer panned out, but Scherzer did not enjoy his time with the Dodgers, complaining the team did not use him correctly after signing a megadeal with the New York Mets.
Although Friedman re-signed Chris Taylor, he lost both Corey Seager to the Texas Rangers and Scherzer. Signing Andrew Heaney will not help to rebuild the brilliant Dodger starting rotation since his statistics are not good. While the Dodgers hope Dustin May will return at some point during the 2022 season, he will not be ready for Opening Day. Tony Gonsolin needs to return to his 2020 form. Even if some miracle that Friedman re-signs Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers need another frontline starter. Lefthander David Price has shown he cannot perform well at the Major League level.
The Dodgers need to replace the offensive production of Seager and the uncertainty surrounding Muncy’s torn UCL. Since the Braves seem reluctant to re-sign their All-Star Freddy Freeman, the Dodgers should sign Freeman as soon as the lockout ends. The Dodgers also need to rebuild their bench even with Edwin Ríos returning from shoulder surgery if they want to return to the World Series.
The Dodgers lost two icons in 2021 when Tommy Lasorda and Don Sutton died within two weeks of each other. In 2022, Jaime Jarrin, their longtime Spanish broadcaster, is retiring after 63 seasons. Jarrin was Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998. As Fernando Valenzuela’s translator, Jarrin gained nationwide recognition and popularity.