Dodgers Rumors: 2022 NLDS Loss Created ‘Internal Soul-Searching’ About Building Yearly ‘Superteam’

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The 2022 Los Angeles Dodgers were the superteam that was supposed to win it all, and for most of the season, they were meeting those expectations as heavy World Series favorites.

Multiple superstars headlined the roster in Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Trea Turner, Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler, and they were surrounded by young talent, quality veterans and players having breakout seasons. It would have been nearly impossible to construct a more complete team.

The Dodgers won a franchise-record 111 games, which was the most wins a National League team has recorded since the 1906 Chicago Cubs won 116 games, and it tied them as the fourth-winningest club in MLB history. But once the playoffs began, their dominance fell off.

L.A. scored five runs in the first three innings of Game 1 of the NL Division Series, but they were not able to add on once the San Diego Padres took Mike Clevinger out of the game, and they just barely held on to a 5-3 victory.

From there, the Padres won three consecutive games as the Dodgers’ offense faltered to end their season, creating one of the most disappointing ends to a year in professional sports history.

After the short playoff run, some members of the Dodgers front office began to question if trying to build a juggernaut team every season is worth the cost, according to Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrted:

According to one team source, the crushing exit created some internal soul-searching about the cost of “trying to build a superteam year after year after year.”

One of the biggest complaints of the Dodgers this past season was their lack of energy and sometimes boring demeanor. They seemed to let their talent carry them every game, and when the intensity turned up during the playoffs, getting by on talent alone was no longer possible.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts cited their lack of intenstiy as a potenetial reason for their postseason struggles and compared it to the Padres, who had no shortage of emotion.

During this offseason, the Dodgers have remained largely quiet. They signed Clayton Kershaw, Shelby Miller, Noah Syndergaard and J.D. Martinez, but they have also watched Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Tommy Kahnle, Chris Martin, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, Joey Gallo and Craig Kimbrel join new organizations.

The Dodgers were reportedly pursuing Justin Verlander, but he ultimately signed with the New York Mets, and they missed out on all the top available shortstop and center field options. They seemingly plan on letting their young players and prospects get an opportunity, which would likely also allow them to stay below the luxury tax threshold.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman remains confident the team will be in position to win the 2023 World Series, and there’s a case to be made for his optimism after the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros won by using a similar strategy.

Still, at a time when the Padres are one of the most talented teams in baseball and are set to add Fernando Tatís Jr. and Xander Bogaerts to their lineup, the Dodgers are no sure bet to win the NL West anymore. Their path through the NL is also tougher than ever with the Braves and Mets possessing two of the top teams in baseball.

They’ll likely find themselves in the playoffs again matched up against some of the best teams around the league, but this time they’ll try to move on without a superteam of their own.

Dodgers front office undecided on Trevor Bauer

Late last month, arbitrator Martin F. Scheinman reduced MLB’s record suspension of Trevor Bauer from 324 games to 194 and immediately reinstated him from the restricted list.

The timing of the ruling reportedly caught the Dodgers by surprise, but they now have until January 6, 2023, to add Bauer to their 40-man roster or part ways with him.

The consensus around baseball is L.A. will ultimately release Bauer if they can’t find a trade partner. However, the possibility of Bauer returning to the Dodgers can’t be ruled out, either as the front office is currently undecided on what to do with the right-hander.

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