EDITOR’S NOTE: I have been running these by division, then in alphabetical order by city name. I’m altering that a bit for today since the Cubs are playing the Dodgers tonight, and I figured it would be useful to have some information on them today. The Colorado Rockies installment, which otherwise would have run today, will run tomorrow.
KEY ADDITIONS: Trevor Bauer, Corey Knebel, Blake Treinen, Tommy Kahnle
KEY SUBTRACTIONS: Pedro Baez, Enrique Hernandez, Joc Pederson, Alex Wood
The Dodgers won 100+ games in two of the previous three full seasons, and had a .717 winning percentage in the 60-game sprint of a 2020 season. That would have translated to 116 wins in a 162-game season, although it’s more likely they would have “faded” and won, say, only 108 or so.
To that they have added Trevor Bauer, who won the NL Cy Young Award in 2020, and three solid relievers who can back up Kenley Jansen at closer.
The Dodgers led the NL in runs in 2020. They led the NL in fewest runs allowed in 2020. They won the World Series.
And then they got better.
They’ve got at least six quality MLB starters in addition to Bauer (Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, David Price, Dustin May, Julio Urias and Tony Gonsolin), a really good bullpen and an offense with stars at almost every position. Joc Pederson, who will start for the Cubs, was at best LA’s fourth outfielder.
Just give them the division title right now and let them sit around and wait for October.
Of course, that’s not how it works, and the new-look Padres will likely give them at least a run at the top spot. Kershaw and Price (who opted out of 2020) are older and Kershaw hasn’t made 30 starts in a season since 2015.
But I would be surprised if this team does NOT win 100 games (presuming we have a full 162-game season). The only real question for the Dodgers is whether Bauer, who has had only one other season close in quality to his 2020 season, will regress, or worse, give them some embarrassment on Twitter or some other off-the-field issue.
The Cubs and Dodgers are scheduled to play seven times in 2021:
May 3-4-5 at Wrigley Field
June 24-25-26-27 at Dodger Stadium