Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers tied a franchise record with 106 wins last season, but fell short of their goal of repeating as World Series champions after being eliminated by the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series.
Although the Dodgers lost Corey Seager, Max Scherzer and longtime closer Kenley Jansen in free agency, they are still projected to win the most games in baseball this season and have the best betting odds to return to the Fall Classic.
The addition of Freddie Freeman has since heightened expectations, and manager Dave Roberts raised them when predicting a 2022 World Series win during a recent appearance on “The Dan Patrick” show.
The Dodgers are used to having a target on their back but Roberts believes the team must change their perspective in order to get back to where they want to be. “It’s always the same. But I’ve been thinking about that,” Roberts said of the team possibly being more of a target after his World Series guarantee.
“We have to kind of change it because to be quite honest, we’re not the National League champions, we’re not the National League West champions, we’re not defending World Series champions. So for us to think that we’re always the hunted, I would argue that we better flip the narrative and the script and start being hungry.
“That goes to my thoughts earlier, because I feel this is a team that has to prove something. Yeah, the roster is great, but there’s a lot of great rosters that don’t hold the trophy at the end of the season.”
Since his first season as manager in 2016, the Dodgers have won the most games in baseball under Roberts and always are among the World Series favorites. “It is the same thing over and over in the sense that our goal is to be the best team in Major League Baseball every single year,” Roberts explained.
“But the tricky part, the unique thing about our guys, is that it’s still fresh and guys still have that drive each and every day to be the best team at the end of the year.
“I think that’s why you see teams that fall off and are inconsistent year in and year out. But if you look at our club, we understand it’s not easy and it takes a lot of work to kind of put ourselves in that position.”
Roberts: Dodgers adding Betts and Freeman a big boost
Always looking to improve the roster, the Dodgers have made a habit of adding elite players each year, from Mookie Betts in 2020, to Scherzer last season and Freeman this year. “It does,” Roberts said if the yearly blockbuster acquisitions help keep the energy level in the clubhouse high.
“Energy level, pure talent, absolutely. But there’s still a lot of players that are not earning what those guys are earning that really keep us afloat and lead us to where we’re at. So I think the easy look is there’s superstars, but there’s other guys that play huge rolls for our ballclub.”
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