As we saw in the Los Angeles Dodgers fourth and final loss to the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS on Saturday, it wasn’t meant to be two years in a row. On the heels of a 106-win season and a dramatic comeback against the San Francisco Giants (at least they beat them?), it definitely hurts to not be able to run it back all the way. However, there’s obviously plenty of reason for optimism heading into 2022. But they will have to make some major moves in the offseason.
Let’s focus on the trade market. The Dodgers utilized trades in a big way in 2021, as they nabbed Max Scherzer and Trea Turner from the Washington Nationals in exchange for a couple big-time prospects in Josiah Gray and Keibert Ruiz, but ultimately the lack of impact from those two (Scherzer’s health, Turners subpar performance) were big contributors to the Dodgers loss to Atlanta. Given that LA would obviously like to give up less of their blue-chip prospects and also find lower-salary, high-upside talent in future trades, what should they look for?
The most pressing area of concern is starting pitching. Despite having one of the best pitching staffs in baseball in 2021, the Dodgers will likely let go of Trevor Bauer (for obvious reasons), and either one of Scherzer or Clayton Kershaw to free agency, and they certainly don’t want to rely on Walker Buehler and Julio Urias to repeat the massive workloads they each saw this year. So, finding some durable, quality arms will be imperative.
Additionally, LA needs someone to fulfill the spark plug utility role that guys like Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernandez have played in years past, as they will likely only be able to keep one of Taylor or Corey Seager given their pending free agency. That means finding a versatile, underrated bat on the market who won’t cost much. That’s hard to do.