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What Kind of Season Will 2023 Be?

The 2023 season begins at Dodger Stadium in 15 days. March 30th, the Dodgers will face the Diamondbacks at home. So what is in store for the fans and the boys in blue. We already know there will be several changes in what will be the starting lineup. And we know Gavin Lux will not be a part of the team for the entire season.

Estimates by the different services have the Dodgers winning in the 85-92 game range. Most have the Padres finishing ahead of the Dodgers and winning the West. Right now, we are not even sure who will comprise the 26-man opening day roster.

Some fans are even calling for a trade before spring training is over to bring in either a power hitting outfielder, preferably from the left side, or an everyday SS. They are of course not listening to all the chatter or reading some of the daily updates.

The outfield is at this point in time, the biggest mystery with only one position locked up. Right field, where Mookie is ensconced for at least the next couple of years. He will have the occasional start at second since he really enjoys playing there and is more than adequate defensively.

Freeman is going to play first 99.9 percent of the time, his slight hammy pull notwithstanding. Vargas has been pretty good at second. Rojas and Taylor are going to split time at SS with Rojas getting the bulk of the starts. Muncy is settling in at third. Since this is his first full season at the position, I will cut him a little slack until he has enough reps under his belt to make a real evaluation.

We know Peralta is making the team, and even though many fans do not want him, Thompson is pretty much assured a spot on the roster too. Why? Well besides Mookie and Taylor, he is the only other RH bat out there. It also looks like the Dodgers are going to open with Heyward as one of the outfielders. I think he has a short runway though. Maybe 45 games or so to prove he is playing at a higher level than he has been for the last several years.

I really believe James Outman is going to make the team. As a matter of fact, I would be surprised if he does not. He has had a brilliant spring. Barnes will back up Smith. And JD is the DH. SO with five outfielders, Peralta, Betts, Heyward, Outman and Thompson. Two catchers, Barnes and Smith. Then the four starting infielders, Freeman, Vargas, Rojas and Muncy. Taylor as the Swiss Army Knife, that is 12 position players.

JD Martinez is the 13th position player. The only way that Outman does not make the team is if they decide they need another infielder. And the choices are limited. The only infielder besides the starting four is Hernandez. He fits the bill as a versatile infielder although he has never hit much. He is having a pretty good spring with the bat.

Neither of the non-roster infielders has a shot at making the team. I think Heyward is the only non-roster player with any shot at all. Of course, AF could surprise the hell out of all of us and make a last minute trade. Something I have seen him do only last year.

Luke Williams is the most versatile of the non-roster guys, But even though he has two spring homer’s, his BA is nothing to write home about.

On the pitching side, the starters would be all set except Gonsolin does not look like he is going to be ready by opening day. Kershaw, Urias, Syndergaard and May have all looked pretty good this spring. Kersh makes his second spring start on Wednesday against the Rockies.

Grove has impressed enough to fill in for Gonsolin for a couple of starts if need be. Gavin Stone has not been built up enough to start yet, so I believe he will be at AAA OKC come opening day. Ryan Pepiot looks pretty good and ready to start some games. Then there is Andre Jackson. He has some nasty stuff and has opened some eyes this spring. He has shown much more control than he did in his short stints.

Without a set closer, the bullpen should still be pretty good. I have to believe that Evan Phillips will get a lot of the closer work. When he is healthy, Daniel Hudson will get the call too. The two lefty’s out of the pen figure to be Ferguson and Vesia. Gonzalez showed some improvement his last outing, but is not at the level he was in 2020.

I have not seen Almonte pitch yet, but reports have been that he is almost ready for game action. He has only pitched one inning this spring. That is one of the reasons I think Jackson could sneak onto the staff. They gave Shelby Miller a one year deal, and right now, he is stinking up the joint. His ERA is over 16.

Graterol is a lock, and Phil Bickford has had a good spring. I do not think any of the non-roster pitchers are going to make the team. They do not have to release anybody to get Heyward on the roster, he can be added when Buehler, Lux and Treinen go on the 60-day IL. I also have to believe that Jimmy Nelson has put himself in a great spot to be on the roster. So if I had to go with 8 relievers, one of them being the swing man and spot starter it would be, Phillips, Hudson, Vesia, Ferguson, Graterol, Nelson, Bickford and Jackson. The five starters would be for now anyway, Urias, May, Kershaw, Syndergaard and Pepiot. Grove is on the OKC shuttle.

Miller I believe is in a position where he might be sent to the minors if he agrees, or cut. I think the Dodgers will be a different kind of offensive team than we have seen the past several years. I do feel that they really need to reduce their strikeout rate. If Chris Taylor and Muncy can rebound and come close to their most productive years, the offense will improve a lot.

I can see Vargas as hitting somewhere in the .240-260 range with maybe a dozen homers. If he does better, good for him. I hope Mookie can improve his batting average. He is much too talented a player to be hitting in the .260’s. Freddie will be Freddie. And if Rojas hits in the .260’s with his defense, that will be just fine. They need improvement from all of the outfielders and James Outman needs to prove he is a big leaguer.

I expect Will Smith to hit more than 20 homers again, and Austin Barnes to surprise once in a while. I believe JD Martinez will do much better than he did last season. He is just too talented not to. I believe the Dodgers will surprise some people and the Padres are not going to just walk away with the division. It is going to be a close race. Maybe even coming down to the last week.

I also think that the balanced schedule, with each team playing all of the other teams is going to end up being huge the last month when rivals normally play each other a lot. The Dodgers last 11 games are all against Western Division rivals, but none against the Padres. They have 7 with the Giants and 4 with the Rockies including a doubleheader at Coors on the 26th of September. They finish up on the road in San Francisco. Their last game against San Diego is September 13th, at Dodger Stadium.

It should be one hell of a ride.

 

 

 

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Jeff Dominique

I apologize for the delay. I thought that I pushed the publish button last night.

Oldbear48

Freddie back in camp says he will be ready for opening day. Yesterdays game was rained out, so Kershaw is pitching today against the Rangers. Snowing again here in Canon City. Heading for LA on the 28th of March. No biggie Jefe.

Last edited 11 months ago by Oldbear48
SandyIsTheGreatest

Vargas should hit better than .240-.260. I’d rather he focus on contact rather than worry about power. Agree with all the other stuff, especially Grove over Pepiot if Gonsolin’s injury is short-term. We need a AA or AAA OF to step up this season so if we need reinforcements, we’re covered. Still a lot of talent here. JDM will be a key bridge between the top and bottom of the lineup.

Oldbear48

Giving the kid a little leeway by not expecting too much and if he is better, that is great. I could see Outman hitting in that range also with more power.

Oldbear48

Diaz to have an MRI on his injured knee. Suffered the injury celebrating. I guess some teams are going to ban that after this.

SandyIsTheGreatest

Maybe just don’t lean on key players.

Bumsrap

One of the blogs proposed a trade for Anderson with Busch being the prime member going to White Sox.

Taylor is having a terrible Spring. Roberts says he is out of whack. If the Dodgers kept between $5MM and $10MM of Taylor’s contract times years remaining, could he be included in the trade for Anderson? That would add offense and then Rojas would replace Taylor as infield depth.

Heyward looked good for awhile but is quickly reverting to what got him released by the Cubs even though they had to eat $22MM due to him for 2023. If the Dodgers trade for Anderson, maybe his best role is to help Anderson be a better teammate and clubhouse presence. Otherwise send him to Oklahoma on his existing minor league contract.

Muncy is having a decent Spring. I still worry about him.

Oldbear48

I would love to see them get Anderson. The guy has some serious game and he brings speed, energy and serious skills to the game.

Oldbear48

Diaz is having surgery to repair a torn patella tendon. Recovery time is usually about 8 months. Most likely, he is out for the year. Mets take a huge blow.

Jeff Dominique

I still do not blame the WBC for Freddie’s injury, but NYM fans have a serios reason to be pissed at the WBC. All Puerto Rico did was beat DR and advance to the Quarterfinals as the second place team to Venezuela. Nothing to celebrate. NYM’s $100MM closer is done for the year. I can see teams tell their players to STAY AWAY from pile on celebrations at the WBC. Fluke? Sure. But still stupid and unnecessary.

Badger

Anderson? He’s been an All Star the last two years, though last year was an off year for him. $14 million, team option next year. Who’s idea was this?

I’ve believed for a while now the team will start with Heyward and Thompson on the roster, eliminating the need for Outman. It’s not my choice. Actually the Peralta slot is where I would have Outman. Dodgers didn’t do that. Now it’s possible they release Heyward, but, will they?

Gonsolin should be healthy enough to go into the 5 slot, but he may just skip the first rotation and slide into the second. Who knows at this point. I have no idea how much throwing he’s done. I would think he doesn’t need much. He knows how to pitch and could probably throw 75 pitches without too much trouble.

I still have mid 90s as my guess for wins. Same guess for San Diego. Should be close. Might be better for us if it is.

Last edited 11 months ago by Badger
Bumsrap

Anderson thinks he deserves more money based on the contracts being given to shortstops. He is 30 and wants an extension from the Sox. The Sox have a $14MM option for 2024. If Lux is capable of returning to short in 2025, Anderson would fill the 2023 and 2024 hole. Anderson would want an extension from the Dodgers instead of becoming a free agent in 2025 at age 32. He might not be happy as a Dodger if he doesn’t think they will want him past 2024.

I think the Dodgers need one more proven bat in the lineup that isn’t a rookie or a comeback player of the year candidate. Muncy, Taylor, Heyward, Martinez fall into that category. Peralta is a star on a sub 500 team and bench piece/insurance on a championship team.

Badger

“I’m on two option years, and we let it get here and it’s like, dang, I kind of want to know where my feet are going to be at the next whatever years it is and I want to know where I’m going to be at,” Anderson told MLB.com during a Wednesday interview. “I’m so comfortable where I’m at now. I’m kind of just really anxious to see what it is, and I would rather be comfortable as quick as I can.”

This guy sounds like an idiot. He wants to know where his feet are going to be? Look down dummy. He’s so comfortable where he’s at now but would rather be comfortable as quick as he can.

Look, just come out and say it. “I want the money and from wherever it comes I’ll be there – with my feet.”

He’s not the answer.

We could live with Rojas for two years if we get another bat in the outfield, or at third base, and we keep pitching like we have.

Last edited 11 months ago by Badger
Bumsrap

He is not Mr. Clubhouse

Badger

He’s said some odd things. Fans have responded. I don’t know how popular he may be. He’s team controlled through ’24 so it’s doubtful they move him.

Jeff Dominique

LHRP Zack Britton will be showcasing his workout again in front of interested teams. This will be his third such workout since January. NYM will be very much interested in Zack. There is estimated to be 7 teams that will attend, and the Dodgers are expected to be represented. It sure seems odd that if Britton was pitching well, that some team would not have signed him instead of Matt Moore or Michael Fulmer. However we have no idea what he is seeking in terms of a contract.

SandyIsTheGreatest

I think we’re covered. Vesia, Caleb F., Gonzalez, Bruihl, NRI guys

On second thought, he could be a 3rd LHP

SandyIsTheGreatest

I just saw the Virginia/Furman ending in NCAAM basketball.

One of the worst decisions you’ll ever see a sportsman make.

SandyIsTheGreatest

Out of options [per MLBTR]:

Almonte–Health is only concern
Bickford–Definitely helps him make the OD roster
Phillips–No relevance
Thompson–Would have to be traded if not on team

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