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#pounditFriday, December 3, 2021

Articles tagged: Los Angeles Dodgers

Could Dodgers sign beloved Braves star?

Freddie Freeman in his Braves uniform

The Los Angeles Dodgers could be coming up with their own version of a popular adage: if you can’t beat ’em, recruit ’em.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported on Monday that the possibility has now emerged of the Dodgers pursuing beloved Atlanta Braves star Freddie Freeman to be the top left-handed hitter in their lineup. Corey Seager, who had been playing that role for the Dodgers, just left to sign a massive deal with the Texas Rangers.

The five-time All-Star Freeman has been a Brave for his entire 11-year MLB career, so it would be pretty shocking to see him end up with the National League rival Dodgers. Rosenthal does add too that virtually everyone in the industry expects Freeman to return to Atlanta.

But opponents should always be wary of the Dodgers. They have a knack for landing marquee talent at every turn, and now have plenty of money to spend after losing both Seager and Max Scherzer in free agency. After winning this year’s World Series with the Braves, there are also some indications that Freeman would prefer getting paid over loyalty.

Photo: Jun 15, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) hits a RBI single against the Boston Red Sox in the third inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers appear focused on just 1 free agent shortstop

Corey Seager with a bat

There is plenty of interest in the list of big-name free agent shortstops, but what about one of the teams at risk of losing one of those players?

The Los Angeles Dodgers may have an opening at shortstop, as Corey Seager is among the highly-touted free agents on the market. The Dodgers are trying to bring back Seager, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, but are not showing interest in any other shortstops.

As noted, the Dodgers traded for Trea Turner last year, who is a very capable shortstop. It’s not the end of the world if Seager leaves, but they clearly love Seager and want to keep him in the fold.

The other obvious option if the Dodgers wanted a big-name shortstop would be Carlos Correa. However, Correa is one of the faces of a Houston Astros team that beat out the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series, which has become infamous due to the team’s sign-stealing scandal. Correa’s history does not seem to be a problem for one team, but it might be too much for the Dodgers, especially if they can get by at shortstop without him.

Photo: Kim Clement-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers eyeing another former Cy Young candidate?

Sonny Gray in the dugout

After coming up short in this year’s playoffs, the Los Angeles Dodgers could be going back to their fundamentals: acquiring another big name.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reported this week that the Dodgers are interested in former Cy Young candidate Sonny Gray, having engaged in trade talks with the Cincinnati Reds. Fellow Reds starter Luis Castillo was also included in those discussions, Nightengale adds.

The 32-year-old Gray twice finished in the top seven of Cy Young voting in 2015 and 2019. He went 7-9 last season with a 4.19 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 26 starts. Castillo, himself an All-Star in 2019, is an interesting name as well. But he struggled in 2021 and has mostly been a one-season wonder.

The Dodgers are facing rotation uncertainty with Max Scherzer and club icon Clayton Kershaw hitting free agency. Gray and Castillo each have two seasons left on their respective contracts, and the Dodgers still have not fully depleted their farm system for use in a potential trade. Of course though, the last time that the Dodgers landed a Reds pitcher did not work out too well.

Photo: Jun 24, 2018; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Sonny Gray (55) smiles in the dugout at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers make big decision on Clayton Kershaw’s future

Clayton Kershaw

The Los Angeles Dodgers may have offered a hint about the future of pitcher Clayton Kershaw in a decision they made Sunday.

The Dodgers announced Sunday the players to whom they have tendered qualifying offers. Shortstop Corey Seager and outfielder Chris Taylor were on the list, but Kershaw was not. That means Kershaw will become an unrestricted free agent.

By extending a qualifying offer, a team is saying it would welcome back a player on a one-year, $18.4 million deal. The player can accept or reject the offer. If they decline, they become a free agent, but the team that signs them would have to surrender a draft pick to the player’s former club.

It’s not necessarily a huge shock that Kershaw isn’t getting a qualifying offer from the Dodgers. His 2021 season was hindered by forearm injuries, though he was still fairly successful with a 3.55 ERA in his 22 starts.

Not tendering Kershaw a qualifying offer does not necessarily mean the Dodgers don’t want the southpaw back. They probably do, just for a cheaper price than $18.4 million.

Kershaw has seemingly known for a while that a return to the Dodgers is no sure thing. Some of his return depends on finances. He’s only ever played for one organization and would probably like to return, but there is a lot of uncertainty about that right now.

Walker Buehler shares message after Dodgers get eliminated

Walker Buehler

The Los Angeles Dodgers had their season come to an end on Saturday night with a loss in Game 6 of the NLCS, but Walker Buehler is not hanging his head over it.

Buehler shared a positive message on Twitter after the Dodgers’ 4-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves. The right-hander said the team “did what we could.”

Buehler took the loss for the Dodgers on Saturday. He allowed seven hits and four earned runs in four innings. He gave up 10 earned runs in 18 1/3 innings during the postseason after going 16-4 with a 2.47 ERA during the regular season.

A lot of fans will say the Dodgers’ season was a disappointment, but Buehler obviously does not feel that way. Manager Dave Roberts also said he is proud of the way his team overcame adversity, and we think we have an idea of what he was talking about.

Max Scherzer clarifies nature of arm issue

Max Scherzer in a Dodgers uniform

Max Scherzer’s arm issue will prevent him from pitching on Saturday as the Los Angeles Dodgers look to avoid elimination in the NLCS. Now he is clarifying what exactly he is dealing with right now.

The Dodgers righty addressed the condition of his arm prior to Game 6 against the Atlanta Braves.

“My arm has been locked up the past couple days,” said Scherzer, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. “I got to day four [after the start] and it felt like day one.

“This isn’t a true injury,” Scherzer added. “It’s just muscle fatigue.”

Scherzer also said that he felt as if he turned a corner on Saturday and that he could start in a Game 7.

The 37-year-old Scherzer pitched in Game 2 of the NLCS series last Sunday, lasting just 4.1 innings in a 5-4 Dodgers defeat. Afterwards, Scherzer made some concerning comments about his arm. He had pitched in relief to close out the team’s NLDS series against San Francisco three days prior to that.

The Dodgers will instead turn to Walker Buehler on short rest to start Game 6 as they trail in the series 3-2. While it is unclear how much a single extra day of rest will benefit Scherzer at this point, he seems to be trending in the right direction for a Game 7 if the Dodgers can get there.

Aug 10, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) walks towards the dugout against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers ticket prices plummeting amid NLCS series deficit

Los Angeles Dodgers logo

The Los Angeles Dodgers face elimination on Thursday, and the opportunity has arisen for some of the cheapest playoff tickets that you will ever find.

Tickets for Game 5 of the Dodgers-Braves NLCS series were selling for as low as $42 on StubHub just hours before the first pitch. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times noted that those same seats were going about $150 after the Dodgers’ comeback in Game 3.

The reigning champion Dodgers are staring down a 3-1 deficit in the series after a deflating 9-2 loss at home in Game 4. If they want to extend their season, the Dodgers will have to do so against Braves ace Max Fried while countering with a bullpen game of their own.

Of course, the Dodgers certainly have the talent to pull off a comeback. They rallied from a 3-1 deficit against these very same Braves in last year’s NLCS to win the pennant and eventually the World Series. But regardless, this will be the final game of the series in Los Angeles, and hope does not appear to be high (similar to what we saw from another fanbase a couple of years ago).

Max Scherzer has troubling admission about his arm

Max Scherzer Dodgers

Max Scherzer was not sharp in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ loss to the Atlanta Braves in Game 2 of the NLCS on Sunday night, and the right-hander raised some concerns with his explanation for the subpar performance.

Scherzer allowed four hits and two earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. The outing wasn’t terrible, but it certainly wasn’t his best effort. After L.A. lost 5-4, Scherzer told reporters he is dealing with dead arm.

Scherzer said his arm usually loosens up after about 45 pitches, but that did not happen for him on Sunday. The 37-year-old insists he has no concerns about pitching later in the series, however.

It’s no surprise that Scherzer’s arm is feeling fatigued. He threw seven innings in a 1-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants in Game 3 of the NLDS last Monday. He then pitched an inning and got the save in Game 5 just three days later before making his Game 2 NLCS start on two days rest.

Scherzer was openly upset when Dave Roberts pulled him from a game earlier in the postseason (video here), but perhaps the Dodgers manager was onto something. The Dodgers now have to hope they give Scherzer a chance to pitch again after dropping the first two games of the NLCS.

Mookie Betts has great response to question about Dodgers-Giants rivalry

Mookie Betts

The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants breathed more life into their rivalry this year by battling it out in a thrilling five-game NLDS, but the two teams have a long way to go before they can call themselves baseball’s biggest rivals. Just ask Mookie Betts.

After the Dodgers defeated the Giants in a thrilling 2-1 game on Thursday night, Betts was asked if he thinks the two California teams have what his former team, the Boston Red Sox, has with the New York Yankees. Betts seemed hesitant to respond at first, but Max Scherzer pressured him into saying what he was thinking. The short answer was “no.”

Here’s the video:

“That Yankees-Red Sox, man, that’s mean. That’s different,” Betts said. “This is definitely different.”

Very few rivalries in sports come close to matching the intensity that we see when the Red Sox and Yankees face one another. The controversial way Game 5 of the NLDS ended (video here) might help drum up some more hostility between the Giants and Dodgers, but they’ll probably never have what the Red Sox and Yankees do. Betts understands that better than most.

Reason Dodgers chose Corey Knebel to start Game 5 revealed

Dave Roberts in Dodgers gear

The Los Angeles Dodgers pulled a stunner on Thursday when they announced a change of plans for Game 5 of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants later that night. The Dodgers were expected to start Julio Urias. However, they changed plans and said relief pitcher Corey Knebel would start as an “opener.”

Why did the Dodgers choose to switch things up? Dodgers manager Dave Roberts essentially said they’re trying to play games with the Giants by forcing them into difficult matchups.

Knebel is a righthander, while Urias is a lefty. By starting a righthander, that forced the Giants to decide if they wanted to set their starting lineup to matchup with Knebel or optimize their lineup for Urias. If they optimized for Knebel, they would theoretically have to make more substitutions early in the game.

Unsurprisingly, Roberts said that the pitching decision came from above him.

If the Dodgers lose or the opener plan goes poorly, the team will be criticized for outsmarting themselves.

I’m on record saying this much: go with your best pitcher and don’t mess around. That would be Urias. The Dodgers already seem psyched out, which is not a good look entering a pivotal Game 5.