LOS ANGELES (AP) – After all their gaudy regular-season stats – 111 wins, Freddie Freeman and Trea Turner powering the offense – the Los Angeles Dodgers appeared on track to fulfill manager Dave Roberts’ spring prediction of another World Series victory .
Not so fast.
The San Diego Padres squashed those plans, upsetting the Dodgers in four games to win the NL Division Series and provide a stunning end to a historic season in Los Angeles.
“This was a really good team, a really, really good team,” Freeman said. “October baseball can be brutal and that’s what happened to us.”
Two years removed from winning a World Series championship in the pandemic bubble, the Dodgers have a lot to think about and plenty of time to do it during the long offseason.
Walker Buehler is expected to miss most and possibly all of the 2023 season after undergoing the second Tommy John surgery of his career in August.
Starters Clayton Kershaw, Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney will become free agents after the World Series.
Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young Award winner who turns 35 in March, indicated he would like to return to the only team he ever played for during his 15-year career. He had a one-year, $17 million contract this season.
Anderson, an All-Star lefty, had a breakout season in his first year with the Dodgers. The well-traveled veteran had a 2.57 ERA in 178 2/3 innings.
Signed for $8.5 million before the start of the lockout, Heaney started the season encouragingly, but then missed two seasons with a shoulder strain. In his postseason debut, the left-hander gave up a home run to Trent Grisham in a 2-1 loss to the Padres in Game 3.
Dustin May and Blake Treinen returned from health issues in time to make the division series and should be ready for spring training.
The Dodgers plan to part ways with closer Craig Kimbrel, who was demoted from his ninth-inning role with two weeks left in the regular season and left off the postseason roster.
Turner becomes a free agent following the conclusion of the World Series and would be a sought-after player among what appears to be a strong shortstop class.
He made his second consecutive All-Star appearance in his first full season with the Dodgers.
After splitting time between Washington and LA last year, Turner hit .298 and finished second behind teammate Freeman with 194. Turner was tied for second in at-bats and plate appearances, and tied for third in single among the MLB leaders. He sprained his right ring finger in the eighth inning of Game 3 against the Padres, but started in Game 4.
TO THE DOOR?
David Price has announced that he plans to retire. The 37-year-old left-hander was left off the division’s roster after suffering a wrist injury in September. Price, who won a World Series with Boston in 2018, sat out the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic and has been used mostly in relief the past two seasons.
The Dodgers have a $16 million 2023 team option on third baseman Justin Turner, who hit .278 while starting as the designated hitter in the split. He was just 2 for 13 in the NLDS. The 37-year-old is a fan favorite and a much-respected voice in the clubhouse. But the future is already here. Miguel Vargas made the NLDS roster at age 22, impressing Roberts with his ability to hit to all fields and overall composure. The Dodgers could pay Turner’s $2 million buyout and move on with Vargas at third.
Cody Bellinger will enter his final year of arbitration eligibility with a seemingly questionable future. Three years removed from the NL MVP, the outfielder was benched for the final two games of the division series. He’s hit .193 with a .611 OPS over the past two seasons and the Dodgers may not want to shell out more money for a player whose excellent defense doesn’t make up for his poor hitting.
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