The dilemma that is the Dodgers

I want to open this piece by saying that this season has been one to watch. The Dodgers have had long stretches of brilliance and that has awarded them the best record in baseball. That same team, though, has also seen some pretty poor stretches and they currently sit amongst one of those right now.

In the past 13 games, the Dodgers have pulled together just one total win and have looked abysmal in both their pitching and batting. And, while I remain hopeful that the team can return to their pure dominance from earlier this year, their recent struggles have caused me to wonder what could happen if this season does not go as planned.

The goal is obviously to win it all. For a team that last won the World Series in 1988 it has been a long time coming for the heart and soul of Los Angeles to win another title. But beyond the fact that the team’s last world championship was in ‘88, it also marks the last time the team has even appeared in a World Series game. So, with a historic drought taking place as we speak, it seems fitting to raise the question of what the fix could be if that drought continues beyond this year?

Many of today’s Dodger fans weren’t even born when the team won its last World Series title – including yours truly. (AP photo)

Before we get into a solution, we need to set the scene with the goals and ultimatums. This year should have one goal in mind and that is obviously to win a World Series title. In my eyes that goal is the best-case dream and one to certainly reach for. But the real goal this year should just be to make it to the Fall Classic for the first time in 28 years. This goal may seem modest in some people’s eyes, but I can assure you that it really is no easy task. We are talking about a team that has come so close countless times over the past 28 years, yet hasn’t even been able to get to the championship to come in second place. For that reason I am setting the bar for this season at a World Series appearance.

Like with everything in life, when there is an ultimatum in place there must be a result for not meeting that goal and, in this case, I believe there really is only one option – to start over for the seasons to come. Don’t get me wrong, by starting over I don’t mean a full on rebuild. What I mean is to sell some of the current major league talent to make room for our top prospects to come up and get playing time. Guys like Adrian Gonzalez, Logan Forsythe, and even Yasmani Grandal can go. By getting rid of them the team would be making room for the players of the future, thus giving them the opportunity to learn and perfect their craft without having to worry about playing time. For a team that is stacked with highly touted prospects, it might not hurt to bring them up as everyday players.

This purging of veterans would also accomplish another thing, it would essentially restart the process for a Dodgers team that is in desperate need of a restart. If this team doesn’t reach the end goal of making it to the World Series, then I’m left wondering if any team could get there. This is a team that had 90 wins faster than all but three teams in the history of the game. This team is not only historically excellent but at times has looked as if no other team could challenge them in the playoffs because, in reality, they are just that good.

Recently, however, this team has made it very clear that they are not only are mortal but, in fact, very beatable. This could obviously pose a huge threat to the easy playoff run that fans were hoping for and perhaps even expecting. As pessimistic as it may sound, if this team does not make it, then there is virtually nothing the front office can do to get them there next year either and, yet again, suggests that the solution points back to selling off big and starting over. A new wave of talent could prove to be the solution the team has been looking even though the results may not be immediate.

Please allow me to clarify exactly what I mean by sell. First of all, I want to start that by saying guys like Clayton Kershaw, Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner and maybe even Chris Taylor are all untouchables. Along with these guys, all of our top prospects should be safeguarded as well, and moved into major league roles.

Outside of these guys, everyone, and I really do mean everyone, should be fair game on the trade market. When selling pieces from the major league roster, the team should look to further build the minor league system. This strategy of holding onto the best major leaguers and getting rid of everything else can probably be profiled as a partial rebuild, and this is exactly what the Dodgers should do if they do not reach the ultimate goal this season.

Please understand that I am not writing this article pessimistically saying that the 2017 Dodgers will not make it to the World Series this year. In fact, I am very hopeful and confident that they will. But at the same time, the team has gone ice cold and, given the franchise’s history over the past three decades, it may not be such a bad idea to consider the future right now.

 

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3 Responses to “The dilemma that is the Dodgers”

  1. oldbrooklynfan says:

    Not making any prediction one way or another, to me, it looks like the immediate future, the remainder of this regular season, should be one of the most interesting times in the history of this franchise. I can’t wait to see what will take place.

    • Jacob Rudner says:

      Yes, this season should be very interesting. The team is still 10 games ahead and has 22 remaining games so my level of concern about getting to the playoffs and winning the division is almost non-existent. With that being said, the playoffs should be one interesting journey. Thank you for reading.

  2. Respect the Rivalry says:

    First, I’m not giving up on this year. They’re in a slump, which they’ll come out of. Just a question of when, and how good will they be after.
    Forsythe has a team option. They can just say good-bye. I imagine there’s a buy-out involved.
    I have mixed feelings regarding Gonzo. I’d love to see him retire as a Dodger.
    Grandal…. I’d be surprised to see him as a Dodger next year no matter how he or the team finish. Barnes is ready and Yas will be a FA the next year.
    Add Joc to that list.
    Drop the “maybe” on CT3. I want to see the Wild Horse back too. All he’s learning this year will come to fruition next year.
    “But the real goal this year should just be to make it to the Fall Classic for the first time in 28 years.” I disagree. Why make second best the teams goal?
    I agree it’s no easy task. Every year 28 teams don’t make it. But every year 29 teams don’t win it.
    Win now of give up on these guys (most of them) could just mean including Kersh in that group. How would he see wholesale changes in his team as he approaches opt-out?

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