Dodgers: Friedman Knows LA Will Take a Step Backward in 2023

The Dodgers won 111 games last year, and team president Andrew Friedman recently acknowledged the obvious truth that they’re unlikely to repeat that.

The Dodgers won a franchise-record 111 games in 2022, steamrolling through the National League West before running into a buzzsaw in the NL Division Series. Whether that buzzsaw was the Padres or the sight of their Los Angeles teammates standing in scoring position, we’ll leave for the reader to decide.

But the point is that, in the regular season, LA was really, really good. Only four teams have ever won as many games in a season, and there have been a lot of seasons over the years. And of those four teams to win 111+ games, not a single one has done as well the next year.

The closest was the 1907 Cubs, who won 107 games the year after winning 116. The 2002 Mariners followed their 116-win 2001 season with 93 wins. The Yankees dropped from 114 wins in 1998 to 98 in 1999. And the Indians went from 111 wins in 1954 down to 93 the next year.

So it wasn’t exactly newsworthy when Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, with his tongue firmly in his cheek, acknowledged the obvious on Wednesday:

“I think it’s always safe to assume that you’re going to take a step back from 111 wins.”

Even if Los Angeles had done everything the fans wanted them to do this offseason, 111, they’d still be likely to regress. The Yankees brought everyone back from 1998 to 1999 except David Wells, whom they traded for Roger Clemens, and they still got 16 games worse. It’s just nearly impossible to win that many games two years in a row.

But the next thing Friedman said is pretty obvious, too, even though a lot of people seem to not believe it:

“I think we’re going to be a really good team that has very, very legitimate championship odds.”

That’s what matters. The 1999 Yankees were 16 games worse than the year before, but they went 11-1 in the postseason to win their third World Series in four years. If the Dodgers drop to 95 wins in the regular season and then roll through the postseason on the way to the World Series title, no one will care.

Los Angeles has more uncertainty than most years heading into the season, simply because they have 23-year-old Miguel Vargas slotting in as the everyday second baseman as a rookie, 25-year-old Gavin Lux transitioning to the starting shortstop role, and 25-year-old James Outman expected to get a lot of playing time in center field as a rookie. Every team with a great farm system has to occasionally rely on those youngsters to go from prospect to starter; it’s just that most teams with great farm systems have mediocre big-league teams, so no one worries about it.

With all of that youth, LA still has a core of former MVP Mookie Betts, former MVP Freddie Freeman, two-time All-Star Max Muncy, two-time robbed-of-being-an-All-Star Will Smith, five-time All-Star JD Martinez, and more. On the pitching side, they have former MVP and three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, reigning ERA champ Julio Urias, last year’s breakout star Tony Gonsolin, young budding star Dustin May, and former All-Star Noah Syndergaard, plus a very good bullpen that returns most of its most important pieces from last year.

The Dodgers are in a somewhat unique position of having a great farm system and a great major-league team, and what we’ve seen this offseason is the result of that.

Read More 

Back to top button
Generated by Feedzy