The Dodgers have won seven consecutive division titles, averaging 96 wins per season over that span. They’ve played in two World Series in that time, losing both (though at least one of those losses is now tainted).
Their World Series-winning drought is now getting into the territory where it can actually be noticed — 32 years. That’s after being in 16 World Series in a 48-season span from 1941-88, winning six times.
So what do they do? Go out and add one of the best players in baseball to what was a 106-win team during the 2019 regular season. Mookie Betts didn’t have quite the season in 2019 that he did in his MVP year in 2018, but it was still good enough for 6.8 bWAR and an eighth-place finish in MVP voting.
Betts will take over in right field, with Cody Bellinger moving to either left field or center. This will leave a couple of players who were productive for the Dodgers over the last couple of seasons, Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez, as Ben Zobrist-type supersubs. That’s also the case because top prospect Gavin Lux is likely to take over at second base, where Hernandez played much of 2019.
The Dodger rotation will look different, too. Gone are Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill, replaced by David Price and Alex Wood. Wood, who pitched for the Dodgers from 2015-18, returns to L.A. after injuries limited him to just seven starts with the Reds in 2019.
And I haven’t even gotten around to mentioning two of the best pitchers on the planet, Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw.
One thing that hurt the Dodgers last year was their bullpen. Even Kenley Jansen, who had two utterly dominant seasons in 2016 and 2017, has been more ordinary the last two years. To address this L.A. signed Blake Treinen, who had one of those “utterly dominant” years in Oakland in 2018, but who was bad last year. The Dodgers will hope Treinen can return to his 2018 form and be a good setup man for Jansen .
The rich get richer, is all I can say in conclusion about this team. It won’t make a bit of difference in the regular season — L.A. should win this division easily. The moves were all made with an eye to winning the World Series.
KEY ADDITIONS: Mookie Betts, Alex Wood, David Price, Jimmy Nelson, Brusdar Graterol, Blake Treinen
KEY SUBTRACTIONS: Kenta Maeda, Alex Verdugo, David Freese, Rich Hill, Russell Martin, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Jedd Gyorko
The Cubs will face the Dodgers May 4-5-6 in Los Angeles and August 17-18-19-20 at Wrigley Field.