LOS ANGELES -- Only one team in MLB history followed back-to-back World Series losses with a World Series win, and it was the 1923 Yankees. So the Dodgers have their work cut out for them in 2019.
A six-year streak of National League West titles hasn't satisfied fans who have endured a 30-year drought for a championship, nor the players whose opportunity windows close quickly.
Some quicker than others, it turns out, as the Dodgers over the offseason underwent a "change in cast members," as manager Dave Roberts put it. In came A.J. Pollock, Russell Martin, Joe Kelly, Adam McCreery and Jaime Schultz. Out went Manny Machado, Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, Yasmani Grandal, Brian Dozier, Chase Utley and Ryan Madson.
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Mathematically, that's way more subtraction than addition. It should keep the payroll below the competitive tax threshold for a second consecutive season, something impossible if the Dodgers wrote a blank check to free agent Bryce Harper. This regime doesn't believe in that approach.
"We're always doing the best we can to put ourselves in position to win a World Series in the coming season, but not turning a blind eye to future years and kind of balancing those is a fine line every team walks every offseason," said Andrew Friedman, president of baseball operations. "Right now, we're solving for being the best team we can be, short term and long term."
Friedman takes heat for adhering to a budget, but Justin Turner is keeping the faith.
"We trust them," said the third baseman and team leader. "The front office has done a great job. They build a 40-man roster, not a 25-man roster, and that's the biggest difference between the Dodgers and other teams."
And if management's offseason strategy is successful, the Dodgers will have a better-balanced offense keyed around the addition of Pollock's right-handed bat.
"Our big focus this offseason was how to achieve more consistency," said Friedman. "I think the team last year was the most talented team I've ever been around. But for a host of reasons, we weren't as consistent. A big thing for us is to avoid the games we score zero to two runs. If we score three or more runs, with our pitching staff, we'll win a lot of games.
"The most important thing we have to do when the offseason starts is to critically assess the team from the year before. Not just how many games did we win, it's what was our talent level? At what we expected? Below, above? We felt we were much better than a 92-win team. That matters and factors in as we put together the roster for the following year. We think we're going to be a really, really good team this year. We'll be extremely well balanced. The consistency we'll harp on a lot, so our talent level comes out way more often."