The theme of the day is… change. The 2021 season was a steady chant of #RepeatLA, even though replicating the absurdity of the 2020 season was impossible. Now we look to the big offseason changes brewing for the Dodgers, and what those big shifts might mean for the franchise.
Change is coming for the still-talented Dodgers. But how much? Writes Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic, “the Dodgers are, without hyperbole, in the midst of one of the most impressive extended runs in modern pro sports history.”
Kenny Kelly at Beyond the Box Score asks, “Was this the beginning of the end of this Dodger dynasty?” Fair question, Kelly writes, if you don’t understand how baseball seasons work, but admits the farm system requires a bit of work: The Dodgers hurtle towards less certainty
Jorge Castillo at The LA Times writes The grind to repeat as champions proved to be too much for Dodgers. Despite 106 regular season wins, in any other year a victory, this season felt like a grind the entire way. Walker Buehler, interviewed after the NLCS Game 6 loss:
“I don’t think losing in the NLCS is as big a letdown as everyone is going to make it out to be. We won 106 games. We won a couple of playoff series. This was a special team in a lot of ways, and it just so happened that we are not going to win the World Series this year. That’s part of this game.”
J.P. Hoornstra says: “The Dodgers who lost the National League Championship Series to the Atlanta Braves were not the same Dodgers who won 106 games during the regular season.” I don’t agree with this sentiment. The team struggled all year to find fill-ins and replacements for powerhouses like Justin Turner, Mookie Betts, and Max Muncy to take days off or recover from injury. And on those days, when players were brought in for their major-league debuts or a real chance at staying on the roster, the results were lackluster. Zack McKinstry made a case for himself early on in the season before quickly getting injured. Chris Taylor made just about every position look easy, but he’s already a pro and we all knew that. Outside of that, the Dodgers were not able to replace bats or defense in any consistent way this season. The NLCS was a continuation of this season-long effort, and it finally broke. That’s something they’ll need to work on before next year — and they absolutely will. Hoornstra has more at the Inside the Dodgers newsletter: The final word on the their NLCS loss
Joel Reuter on, “Answering the Dodgers’ Biggest Offseason Questions After NLCS Playoff Exit” at Bleacher Report
As Baseball Considers Its Future, Parity Isn’t the Problem, writes Tyler Kepner at The New York Times