By Steven Urena
“Darling, you got to let me know. Should I stay or should I go?” -The Clash
It is never easy when fan favorites sign with another team.
Baseball, in all its glory, traditions, and magnificence, is still a job. Kike Hernandez and Joc Pederson had key moments that led to the Dodgers 2020 World Series title. It was time for them to move on, but I am happy they left World Series champions.
Kike and Joc had plenty of opportunities to win an everyday job with the Dodgers but failed to do so.
Kike was a valuable utility player who played exciting defense, had huge games and critical hits, but was inconsistent at the plate. He’s full of charisma and spunk and simply too expensive at 7-million a year.
Joc is a consistent “20 something homer guy,” but he struck out twice as much as he walked and went through his fair share of slumps. Joctober and his clutch home runs will be missed.
But the reserves are waiting in the wings.
The departure of Kike and Joc now gives players like Edwin Rios and Gavin Lux a chance to get more playing time. Edwin Rios has shown that he can flat out hit. Gavin Lux had some issues last year, but the former first-rounder has potential. If all else fails, I have total trust in Chris Taylor playing the INF and OF.
Don’t forget we have MVPs and all-stars such as Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, and Max Muncy. Not to mention players with colossal upsides such as Will Smith and AJ Pollock. Not having Kike and Joc might give them the chance to loosen up a little and play a bit more comfortable.
I really hope we (when I say “we,” yes, I mean that I am part of the team) sign Justin Turner. He still produces, and he’s a “glue guy.” Give the man a three-year deal—two for us and one for him. When you sign him, do it with a smile on your face because JT has earned it.
We return a starting rotation that features Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias, David Price, Tony Gonsolin, and Dustin May. What a great start! This rotation can match up with any rotation in baseball, especially in a 5 or 7 game series. I like my odds.
The bullpen largely remains intact. I know, I know the closer situation is scary. It will work itself out. Kenley will get one or two more chances to close for us, but if he’s a bust, we have high powered arms such as Brusdar Graterol, Blake Treinen, and Joe Kelly that can close games. Middle relief will be handed to Victor Gonzalez, Adam Kolarek, and possibly Dennis Satana and Josiah Gray (hot prospects).
All is well in Dodgertown Angelenos. Every team making moves is trying to get to the Dodger’s level. We are still the best team in baseball. The crown is ours until someone takes it.
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