The Dodgers had a very successful decade despite failing to win a World Series title. Will the next decade have a championship for LA?
Much like the Dodgers abrupt end to the 2019 season, the 2019 calendar year has come to a close. Just as any other year the time flew by and for the Dodgers, it was another season that ended without a World Series title. Not only another season without a title but another decade as it has now been three decades since the Dodgers last won the World Series.
Perhaps the next decade will finally be the one that ends the championship drought. The Dodgers have been on an upward trend since Andrew Friedman took over the front office. Although their 2019 season fell well short of expectations, the Dodgers will look to get back to the World Series and win it in the next decade. Will they be able to accomplish that goal? Here are four bold predictions for the next decade.
Corey Seager departs in free agency; Bellinger and Buehler do not
The three most important players in the Dodgers’ young core will become free agents in the coming decade. Corey Seager will be the first as he is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2021 season. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Seager and Bellinger both have Scott Boras as their agent although that should not keep the team from extending either player.
Corey Seager’s 2020 season will go a long way in determining what type of contract he receives in free agency, or before it if the Dodgers try to extend him. Corey had a down season in 2019 as he battled his way back from two serious surgeries. The assumption is that he returns to form in 2020 and while Dodger fans hope that is the case, it’s certainly not a given.
My prediction is that Cody Bellinger and Walker Buehler will remain Dodgers for the duration of their career but Corey Seager will not. The Dodgers will look to youngsters like Gavin Lux and Kody Hoese to make up the left side of the infield for the next decade and Corey Seager will leave in free agency.
Nolan Arenado opts out after the 2021 season and becomes a Dodger
There has been some speculation this off-season that the Rockies could look to trade Nolan Arenado and the Dodgers have been mentioned as one of the places he could land. It is unlikely that the Rockies would trade the face of their franchise inside the division as inter-division trades are rare especially when it involves a superstar. There is another way that Arenado can become a Dodger though.
In his contract, Nolan has an opt-out clause after the 2021 season when he will still be just thirty years old. With the Rockies falling to the bottom of the pack in the NL West, Arenado could choose to opt-out and try to join a winning team. Arenado is a native of Lake Forest, so Los Angeles isn’t too far up the freeway from his home. Nolan Arenado will become a Dodger for the 2022 season and beyond.
The Dodgers will be sold (again) in the next decade
The Dodgers were sold this decade back in 2012 as the Guggenheim baseball group bought the team for $2.15 billion dollars. The group has Mark Walter, Magic Johnson, and Stan Kasten among others. This seems like a short term play for the ownership group to right the ship, make money and then sell the team once they think the team’s worth has peaked. That could come in the next decade.
Playoff tickets once sold like hot cakes for the Dodgers but that was not the case this season. Whether it was fans holding off expecting another World Series trip or diminishing returns on repeated winning seasons, playoff tickets were much easier to attain in 2019. Add in the fact that the ownership group appears to be unwilling to exceed the luxury tax threshold and fans will eventually get fed up.
The Dodgers were in bankruptcy when they were sold but thanks to an annual payroll trimming the team has gotten out of the red. After another handful of winning seasons, the ownership group will look to sell high and get a great return on their investment.
Dave Roberts gets fired after the 2024 season
This is a tough one. Dave Roberts is a great leader of men and one of the best people in baseball. He has paid his time to the game from contributing to a historic Red Sox World Series title as a player to being a bench coach with the San Diego Padres. Now he has led the Dodgers on their recent string of success but he still has plenty to learn when it comes to managing.
At some point, the Dodgers will hold Roberts accountable for the playoff shortcomings if they are unable to win a World Series in the coming years. My prediction is that time comes after the 2024 season when the Dodgers are still enduring a title drought. The Dodgers will change course and instead of going for a young up and coming manager, they will seek an experienced playoff-tested manager.
Dave Roberts is the type of manager that can bring stability to a team in need of it, but for a team like the Dodgers, it has become clear that he isn’t ready for the big stage. Roberts can go to a place like Pittsburgh or Oakland and spend many seasons there helping bring stability but the Dodgers need to bring someone in who can effectively manage their pitching staff and lineup.
As a bonus prediction, the Dodgers will win a World Series title in the next decade once they remove Dave Roberts. The next decade figures to be one of transition for the Dodgers as big names like Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner, and Kenley Jansen will come to the end of their contracts in the next two seasons. The Dodgers have the young talent to remain an elite team and hopefully, this is the decade where the title drought ends.