Dodgers eye another title to settle 'dynasty' debate

With a franchise-record 111 wins, LA is the first club to win 106 in 3 straight full seasons

October 11th, 2022

LOS ANGELES -- Since taking over as president of baseball operations in 2015, Andrew Friedman consistently has said his goal is to build enough sustained success that his tenure could ultimately be viewed as the golden era of Dodgers baseball.

That’s a tall task given the history of the franchise. But when you look at the numbers, there has never been a 10-year run quite like the one the Dodgers put together. Is this the golden era in franchise history? Are the Dodgers considered a dynasty?

Let’s take a look:

The Dodgers wrapped up the regular season Wednesday with a club-record 111 wins, the second-best in National League history and tied for fourth most all-time. They also became the only organization to win at least 106 games in three consecutive full seasons.

That is the level of success the Dodgers have come to expect over the past 10 seasons. During that span, Los Angeles made the postseason each year, winning the NL West in nine of those seasons.

“When you look at what the Dodgers have done, it rivals what the Braves did in the '90s, and I think it’s fair to say it rivals what the Yankees [have done],” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. “The lazy look is we don’t have enough World Series championships, and that’s totally fair, but the passage to the postseason in the '30s and '40s is different than it is in 2022. When you talk about the regular season, I think we’re the bar.”

Statistically, the Dodgers’ current run does, indeed, stack up with just about any other in the Divisional Era. Los Angeles’ .613 winning percentage over a 10-season span is the best mark since the 1993-2002 Braves also finished with a .613 clip.

The Dodgers certainly have been the most dominant regular-season team over the past 10 seasons. Los Angeles has 931 wins during the regular season since 2013, 73 more than the Yankees. During that span, Los Angeles has 165 more wins than the Giants, the closest NL West team.

Despite that level of dominance, this Dodgers stretch is often not compared with the Braves’ run in the 1990s and the Yankees’ dynasty from 1996-2000 (winning four titles in five years) -- or even what the rival Giants did during a five-year run that brought them three championships in the 2010s.

“They don’t,” Roberts said, when asked if this run is viewed as the others. “Because dynasties are based on championships, which I completely understand.”

Roberts is right. Dynasties are usually defined -- fairly or not -- by the amount of championships won. The Dodgers have three World Series appearances during this run but only one title, and it came during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. That championship is considered legitimate to everyone involved, but the Dodgers aren’t oblivious to the outside opinions that come with it.

“2020 was something incredible, but we get some criticism for the shortened season,” said Dodgers left-hander Julio Urías. “But winning another one in Los Angeles would be incredible. That’s what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Roberts’ argument is that the postseason structure is constantly changing. The Dodgers won four championships from 1955-65, but only had to win the NL pennant to play for a World Series title. In 2020, the Dodgers had to get through four postseason rounds to win the World Series. They’ll have to get through three series in ‘22, after earning a first-round bye for the Wild Card round.

So how will the Dodgers’ dominant run be viewed if they win another World Series title this year? That’s what Los Angeles hopes the discussion will be about come November.

“It’s not my position to judge,” Roberts said. “I’m sure it’ll be highly debated. But our job is to go out there and win a championship and let people kind of debate it.”