Owner: Guggenheim Baseball Management, Mark Walter, net worth, $5 billion.
Dodgers World Series Titles: 1955, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, 1988, 2020.
Dodgers Best Players: P Sandy Koufax, OF Jackie Robinson, 3B Duke Snider
Division: West Division
Dodgers Payroll: 1st, $270,381,426
2022 Standings: 111-51, lost to Padres in NLDS, 3-1.
Dodgers General Manager: Brandon Gomes.
Dodgers Manager: Dave Roberts, 50, 655-381, 1 World Series title, 2020
Dodgers Home Stadium: Dodgers Stadium, capacity, 56,000.
Key Additions: The Dodgers brought in pitcher Noah Syndegaard who on most other rotations would be the third or fourth starter. He’ll be the fifth in L.A. assuming Dustin May, returning from Tommy John surgery can hold up. Syndegaard was 10-10 with a 3.94 ERA for the Phillies.
J.D. Martinez is the epitome of a professional hitter, averaging 22 home runs, 69 RBI and batting .288 with an OPS of .872. He will replace some of the pop lost the Dodgers lost with some serious losses in free agency. It’s odd to think that a team with payroll and resources of the Dodgers lost more than they added.
Key Losses: Speaking of losses, where to start? Shortstop Trea Turner signed an 11-year, $300 million deal with Phillies. Justin Turner, a fan favorite, and the Dodgers third baseman since 2014 left for Boston and two-year, $21.7 million. Centerfielder Cody Bellinger signed with the Cubs for $17.5 million. Reliever Craig Kimbrel wasn’t retained leaving the Dodgers with an established, lights-out closer. Tommy Kahnle went back to the Yankees.
If you’re wondering why the Dodgers lost so much but acquired so little, the answer is simple - Shohei Ohtani. The Japanese phenom is poised to be a free agent and the Dodgers are intent of signing him. It makes sense. L.A. is a great baseball town and has big Asian population. But that won’t help the Dodgers this season.
Key Injury: Hope is supposed to spring eternal but the Dodgers it brought heartbreak when Gavin Lux blew out his knee while running the bases in a preseason game. Lux, 25, had just established himself as the Dodgers shortstop of the future. He made 93 starts at second last season, posting a slash line .276/.346/.399 (105 OPS+) with 20 doubles, seven triples, six home runs, 42 RBI, 66 runs, seven stolen bases and 2.5 WAR. Veteran Miguel Rojas, 34, probably will start at SS but that’s in flux.
“It’s heartbreaking,” an emotional Lux told reporters as he tried to hold back tears. “You put in a lot of time and work and really enjoy the guys in the clubhouse -- the hardest part is just not being able to be on the field, for sure.”
Prospect alert: Diego Cartaya seemingly is the perfect package to emerge sooner rather than later as the Dodgers starting catcher. At 6-foot-3, 219 pounds he possesses the power ideally wanted from that position. He also is considered a natural leader and communicator according to published reports, even though he’ just 25. He was named the Dodgers Minor League Player of the Year. The flaws in his game are correctable, such as improving his 19-percent rate of throwing out baserunners, framing pitches and receiving all need work. The Dodgers are confident he’ll do it.
Scouting Report:Over/Under Wins: 96.5, 1st NL West: There is no question the Dodgers still have a ton of talent. From Mookie Betts to Freddie Freeman to Max Muncie, to Martinez, L.A. can score runs. And the pitching rotation can be the best in baseball if they hold up from a health standpoint. The first step was resigning Clayton Kershaw, who appears to be recovered from lower back injuries that hampered him last season. No wonder this franchise has won the NL West title eight of the last nine seasons.
So this is strange territory for the Dodgers; it’s called doubt.
What if Kershaw, 34, doesn’t hold up? Now that Lux is lost for the season, how does the infield shake out? Martinez is a proven hitter but he’s 35 and there has been some decline. His .790 OPS last season was his lowest since 2013.
Meanwhiles, the Padres only got stronger, healthier and off the suspension list.
Even if everything goes well for the Dodgers, we think the Padres have surpassed them as the best team in the West. The big question is this – is this a 2023 thing or has there been a changing of the guard.
BetBasics Best Bet: Betts is one of the most entertaining players in MLB. His love for the game is obvious. He has not had a 20-home run, 20-stolen bases season since coming to Chavez Ravine in 2020. Betts a career-high 35 home runs last season with 12 stolen bases. We like Betts to hit 30 home runs and steal 20 bases this season.