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Dodgers’ Friedman/Gomes Discuss Roberts, Kershaw, Bellinger, Turner


The Dodgers have been baseball’s greatest staff within the common season, successful a franchise-record 111 video games. They cleared the next-closest staff, the Astros, by 5 video games and completed ten away from anybody else within the Nationwide League.

That didn’t translate to postseason success, nonetheless, as Los Angeles dropped three of 4 to the division-rival Padres of their Divisional Collection. As they enter the offseason sooner than hoped, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and basic supervisor Brandon Gomes met with reporters this afternoon (hyperlinks by way of Jack Harris of the L.A. Occasions and Fabian Ardaya of the Athletic).

The executives predictably expressed their disappointment with the early postseason exit, with Friedman suggesting it was probably the most painful sequence lack of his tenure atop baseball operations. But he rapidly downplayed the necessity for sweeping organizational adjustments, pointing to the volatility inherent in a brief playoff sequence. Whereas Friedman credited the Padres for outplaying the Dodgers through the Division Collection, he famous the shortage of situational hitting which plagued L.A. within the postseason is the kind of factor that tends to ebb and move all through a yr.

To that time concerning the staff not requiring any sort of drastic overhaul, Friedman confirmed earlier studies supervisor Dave Roberts could be again for an eighth season. “I really feel like Dave and his teaching workers did an unbelievable job through the common season to guide this staff to 111 wins,” Friedman mentioned, noting that the skipper would “100%” return to the position in 2023. “I don’t really feel prefer it’s a change that was then turned off or the gamers wanted a distinct voice in these (playoff) video games. That’s my private perception.

Friedman added he doesn’t anticipate there to be any adjustments to Roberts’ teaching workers, implying that everybody will likely be supplied an opportunity to return. Every offseason, groups run the chance of seeing a coach depart to tackle a extra impactful position with one other membership. Bench coach Bob Geren and first base coach Clayton McCullough every acquired some managerial consideration final winter, as an illustration, and it’s doable their names are floated once more in searches this offseason.

Turning to the taking part in personnel, Friedman and Gomes touched on just a few key selections they’ll must make early within the offseason. Los Angeles will see franchise icon Clayton Kershaw hit free company for the second straight winter. Final offseason, the Dodgers surprisingly elected to not make Kershaw a qualifying supply. Friedman later defined the Dodgers didn’t need to strain the longer term Corridor of Famer into making a call whether or not to return throughout the 10-day window allotted to certified free brokers. Kershaw didn’t decide till after the lockout, and he finally re-signed on a one-year, $17MM assure in Spring Coaching.

As a result of Kershaw didn’t obtain a qualifying supply final winter, he’s eligible for one once more. Friedman didn’t explicitly rule out the QO this time round however strongly hinted they’d once more choose towards it. “Like I mentioned final yr, I feel for him to take the time and put his head along with (his spouse) Ellen and determine what makes probably the most sense for his or her household is what we’re going to offer him time to do,” the Dodger president mentioned. Friedman known as it his “sturdy hope” that Kershaw elects to return for a sixteenth season in L.A.

This yr’s qualifying supply has been set at $19.65MM. That’s a wonderfully affordable value to pay for the three-time Cy Younger winner, who stays among the many greatest starters within the sport on a fee foundation. Kershaw pitched to a sterling 2.28 ERA throughout 126 1/3 innings this previous season, hanging out an above-average 27.8% of opponents towards an elite 4.7% stroll fee. He misplaced roughly a month apiece to hip and again accidents, however he didn’t appear to really feel any unwell results of the forearm discomfort that reduce his 2021 season quick.

Kershaw has said just a few occasions in latest weeks that he’s presently leaning in direction of persevering with his profession. Instantly after the sequence loss, he informed reporters that “as of proper now, I’d say I’ll play once more.” He added that spending time along with his household early within the offseason had the potential to vary his thoughts, nonetheless, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see Kershaw take his free company course of slower than most gamers do. Final winter’s choice appeared to return all the way down to a return to L.A., becoming a member of his hometown Rangers, or retiring. It figures to be an analogous story this winter, with each the Dodgers and Rangers positive to have vital curiosity in signing him. (Different groups would clearly name if Kershaw broadened his geographic vary, however that’d be fairly shocking).

Whereas the ball is primarily in Kershaw’s courtroom as as to whether he returns to Dodger Stadium, the onus falls on the staff to determine the right way to proceed with 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger. Bellinger is arbitration-eligible for a closing time this winter, and MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz tasks him to obtain an $18.1MM wage if tendered a contract. Solely Juan Soto has a better arbitration projection, a testomony to Bellinger’s early-career accomplishments. These earned lofty salaries early in his profession, and the arbitration system is designed in order that salaries virtually all the time escalate year-over-year.

Nevertheless, Bellinger’s offensive manufacturing has evaporated over the previous few seasons. He adopted up his 47-homer MVP marketing campaign with a barely above-average exhibiting (.239/.333/.455) in 2020. Whereas that appeared like a possible blip in an anomalous season, he’s seen a continued sharp drop-off on the plate. Bellinger hit .165/.240/.302 over 350 journeys to the plate final yr. He rebounded barely this previous season, however his .210/.265/.389 line throughout 550 plate appearances was nonetheless markedly worse than common.

Amongst 172 hitters with 800+ plate appearances over the previous two seasons, Bellinger ranked lifeless final with a .256 on-base share. His .355 slugging mark is within the backside ten. Bellinger’s 7.7% stroll fee and 27.1% strikeout share are every worse than common, and his arduous contact fee is down notably from its 2019 peak. These prolonged struggles would appear to level in direction of Bellinger being non-tendered in lieu of such a big wage, however he’s been a robust plus outdoors the batter’s field. He swiped 14 bases in 17 makes an attempt this previous season and rated as an above-average baserunner general. Extra importantly, he’s checked in as a plus defensive middle fielder all through his profession, together with a +5 runs above common from Statcast this season.

Neither Friedman nor Gomes made a definitive assertion on the opportunity of a non-tender, however Gomes typically praised Bellinger’s general worth. “Belli has had spurts of being actually profitable all through the season,” the GM mentioned. “I feel elite protection has continued to be there, and we nonetheless assume there’s (offensive) upside. So these are discussions we’re going to have shifting ahead as we glance into what 2023 seems to be like.

Friedman supplied an analogous sentiment when requested concerning the membership’s $16MM possibility on third baseman Justin Turner. Friedman known as Turner “an enormous a part of our success” however famous the entrance workplace wanted extra time to assume by way of key roster selections. Turner trending in direction of a $2MM buyout with a .256/.330/.403 exhibiting within the first half of the season, however he made {that a} robust name for the entrance workplace by posting a superb .319/.386/.503 line popping out of the All-Star Break.


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