As the calendar moves closer to December, things are certainly heating up internally for the Dodgers’ front office. Of course, I say internally because LA usually operates as quietly as possible in the offseason.
With so many free agents from last year’s team on the open market this winter — including five of the top 50 — there is a lot of work ahead of Andrew Friedman and company. The team’s president of baseball operations has spoken this offseason about wishing and hoping to bring back everyone that played a key role on the team last season. However, he admitted that might not be as realistic as everyone may want.
As it stands, if there is any one area of pressing need for the Dodgers that can be filled by bringing back players from last season, it’s in the starting rotation.
Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer are currently free agents. For Kershaw, it seems as though the club will welcome him back whenever he decides to return. That is if he decides to. But with Scherzer, the market seems to be much hotter for the three-time Cy Young award winner. This week, MLB.com’s Will Leitch said he feels that the Dodgers are the most likely to sign the free agent this winter.
Clearly, there’s a fit here. Scherzer and the Dodgers were an obvious match when they traded for him, and he was magnificent there. He has already won a World Series title, but who wouldn’t want another one, and there’s no better bet in baseball to get one than Los Angeles. The Dodgers like short-term, expensive contracts, for which Scherzer is an ideal candidate. There’s nothing broken about this relationship. Why fix what isn’t broken?
The Giants, Angels, Yankees, and Astros round out the top-5 suitors in the eyes of Leitch. The Cardinals have been linked to the right-hander as well.
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It’s easy to agree with the sentiment for sure — particularly with the “why fix what isn’t broken” angle. In 11 starts following a trade to Los Angeles, Scherzer outright dominated for the Dodgers. The team won each of those 11 starts while he went 7-0 with a 1.98 ERA. In the postseason, however, things caught up to Mad Max and the Dodger pitching staff that, after a season of covering for injuries and losing starters for extended periods of time, simply ran out of gas in October.
Scherzer pitched in relief in game 5 of the NLDS while the team attempted to limit the innings of an admittedly tired Julio Urias and that set into motion a series of events where the pitching staff fell apart in the NLCS.
With all that in mind, it shouldn’t leave a sour taste in the mouths of fans or Scherzer or the team. The partnership worked extremely well when properly utilized in the regular season. And it can again in 2022.