The Los Angeles Dodgers did everything they could to defend their World Series championship last season, overcoming a myriad of roster injuries to reach the National League Championship Series before succumbing to the eventual World Champion. Series 2021 Atlanta Braves.
The Dodgers open the season April 7 as favorites to reclaim the highly competitive National League West Division title, but they enter spring training with some unresolved issues, particularly on the pitching side of the league. ‘equation. Here are three burning questions facing manager Dave Roberts and the Dodgers:
Will Freddie Freeman be their starting first baseman in 2022?
The Dodgers continue to be a player in Freddie Freeman’s free agency draw, with the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves looking less likely to retain their daily batting first baseman without agreement.
Freeman would fit in well as the Dodgers’ first baseman, allowing Max Muncy, who is recovering from UCL surgery on his left elbow, to play second base and serve as the designated hitter.
“I would love to see Freddie Freeman in a Dodger uniform. Who wouldn’t? Roberts told the media Friday. “He’s a hell of a baseball player. has earned that right and the opportunity to be wooed by other teams and see what’s best for him and his family. Definitely in the conversation for us, but ultimately it will be his decision.
Will Trevor Bauer be part of the rotation?
Trevor Bauer’s path to returning to the mound for the Dodgers became a bit clearer in February when the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office decided not to press charges against the pitcher for sexual assault allegations. But Major League Baseball, which couldn’t resolve the issue during the lockout, extended Bauer’s placement on administrative leave for an additional week, through March 19.
Bauer has been on administrative leave since the middle of last season and could still face a lengthy official league suspension. There is precedent for suspensions even after the assault charges were dropped, and while the Dodgers hope to get their $102 million man back on the mound, there are no guarantees.
Who completes the starting rotation?
Clayton Kershaw returned to the Dodgers on a one-year contract late last week, and as long as he can stay healthy, he fits into the rotation with Walker Buehler and Julio Urias. If the league chooses not to suspend Bauer, then he becomes the fourth man in the rotation.
If Bauer is suspended for an extended period, the Dodgers will likely fill the two remaining spots in the rotation with Andrew Heaney, who the team signed to a one-year contract before the lockout, and Tony Gonsolin, if his shoulder recovered from off-season surgery.
If Kenley Jansen signs elsewhere, who gets closer?
After a decade of high-flying acts and a World Series championship in 2020, it looks like the Kenley Jansen era is coming to an end. Jansen is a free agent, and the Dodgers aren’t expected to match the kinds of offers Jansen is likely to make on the open market.
But despite all of his close calls and heart attack-inducing performances since 2012, his departure would leave a huge hole in the bottom of the bullpen. Prep Blake Treinen will likely have the first opportunity to lock down the closest role, but flamethrower Brusdar Graterol could also be an option.
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