The Los Angeles Dodgers have not really done anything yet this winter, leading to plenty of disappointed fans who think this team does not have enough.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have won seven consecutive National League West titles and are coming off a franchise-best 106-win season but you would think that the team is one of the worst in the league with how the reception has been around the team this offseason.
The Dodgers did not sign any of the big-name free agents and did not retain Hyun-Jin Ryu. And while there is still an opportunity to trade for Francisco Lindor or Mookie Betts, we don’t think a deal happens until the deadline, so chances are that the Dodgers don’t make a single big move this winter.
This has lead to a lot of disappointment in the fanbase and the sentiment that the team is not good enough to win the World Series. Daniel Preciado of Dodgers Nation penned that the roster is not good enough to win a World Series, which inspired us to look at the glass half-full and explain why they absolutely are good enough.
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Preciado never actually breaks down what about the Dodgers’ roster is not good enough to make the World Series, so we decided to briefly breakdown each area of the roster and remind fans just how good the Dodgers are.
The Los Angeles Dodgers were second in starting pitcher fWAR last season and should be fine without Hyun-Jin Ryu. Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw were both in the top-30 in WAR and the top-15 in ERA last season.
The young duo of Julio Urias and Dustin May are very exciting as well. Urias was the exciting pitching prospect before Buehler came around and had hte ninth-lowest ERA in the league last year among pitchers with 70 innings pitched. May has elite stuff and could easily be a mid-three ERA guy.
The most important thing is depth, which is what people seem to forget. Most teams have below-average pitchers as their fifth-best starter, the Dodgers have above average players.
Kenta Maeda is a solid innings-eater who would be the second-best pitcher on most teams and he is someone who may be the fifth-best guy. Ross Stripling and Tony Gonsolin will also provide rotational help as well as help in the bullpen, both of which would be the third-best starter on most teams.
There is a concern about blown saves and Kenley Jansen but the Dodgers have somewhat addressed the bullpen. They added a lot of help in Blake Treinen to a bullpen that actually finished tied for the best ERA in the National League.
Most fans do not realize that because the bullpen is like the wifi in your house: you only notice it when it isn’t doing its job.
Some fans’ desperate desire for Francisco Lindor is underselling how good this infield is. At first base we have Max Muncy, who over the last two seasons, has the second-highest WAR among first baseman only behind his teammate, Cody Bellinger.
At the hot corner is Justin Turner, who is getting older and his fielding is getting worse, but he is still a hitting machine. Turner is eighth in WAR among third basemen since 2016 and is third in batting average.
Corey Seager is the one that is getting criminally underrated the most as he had a “down year” in 2019 that still resulted in 19 home runs, 44 doubles, 87 RBIs and a .272 batting average. Imagine that being a down year.
The fact of the matter is that Seager still ranks fourth in WAR since his MLB debut among shortstops despite missing nearly an entire season because of Tommy John Surgery. If he had as many plate appearances as Lindor, who has the highest WAR, he would be second, trailing Lindor by 0.9 WAR.
Finally, we have two young studs in Gavin Lux and Will Smith. Lux was the minor league player of the year last season and could absolutely slug 20 home runs with 20 doubles and a .300 batting average in his rookie season.
Smith already proved that he can hang with the big-league club by smashing 15 home runs and driving in 42 RBIs in 54 games. That is a 40-home run and 116-RBI pace for 150 games.
Barring any big changes, the Dodgers outfield is insanely impressive. Leading the way is Bellinger, who is coming off of an MVP season and has hit 111 home runs and driven in 288 RBIs while having a .928 OPS in three years. Some complain that the Dodgers don’t have a star, forgetting about the star they already have.
Joc Pederson is a solid left-handed slugging option who does just that: hit bombs. Not every player is going to be multi-faceted and to have Pederson fit into that role while hitting 30+ home runs a year is great.
Alex Verdugo is the youngest outfielder with the most potential. He hits both left and right-handed pitching and is a gap-to-gap hitting machine. He plays above-average defense and as he progresses could absolutely be an all-star-caliber outfielder.
Finally, A.J. Pollock, who is getting a lot of bad rep because of his poor postseason but he was really good at the plate in the second half of the season. At worst, he is a reliable bat to use against left-handed pitching, as he hit .323 against southpaws last year.
When Pollock is your fourth-best outfielder then you know you are probably a great team. Just think about that.
The team also has depth. Enrique Hernandez and Chris Taylor are both super-utility players that would start with 90 percent of the league. They also have Matt Beaty, who proved to be a clutch left-handed bat off the bench.
So why haven’t they won the World Series:
The best argument for naysayers is that the Los Angeles Dodgers have not made any big moves and have not won the World Series, therefore, the team is never going to win the World Series with this strategy.
It is smart arguing as you technically cannot prove it wrong, but the two things are not mutually exclusive. Bringing in stars is not the way to win the World Series every time, especially when you have a team like the Dodgers.
The fact of the matter is that the front office has to build a tea, that is good enough to get to the playoffs. They have done that. From there, it really matters on who gets hot at the right time. The Washington Nationals were that team last year and nobody would have said the Nationals had a better roster than the Dodgers.
Does adding a star help that cause? Absolutely. But more times than not, these massive contract come back to hurt a team and the front office recognizes that. They still offered Gerrit Cole what would have been a record-setting contract, so we cannot say they didn’t try.
I am not against adding a big star. I would love to see Mookie Betts in Dodger blue. However, just because they didn’t add that big star, let’s not pretend like they are not more than good enough to win the World Series. Right now, in December, the Los Angeles Dodgers are still the best team in the National League and its not even close.