The Dodgers are finally World Series champions again. It’s been a long, long wait.
With each champion, speculation of a new dynasty crops up. Often, that is in-the-moment overexcitement. In the case of the Dodgers, the team who have owned the National League West, and for the most part, the entire National League, that isn’t an unreasonable discussion to start.
Some would argue this is already a dynasty, such is their recent record. This might be their first triumph since 1988, but the Dodgers have appeared in three of the last four Fall Classics, losing to the Astros in 2017 and Red Sox in 2018.
It has been a regular season dynasty, and arguably a postseason one, too. For it to be a real dynasty, though, you need multiple rings. Maybe the Dodgers have that if the Astros play fair in 2017. There are ifs and buts aplenty in sport, and particularly in baseball, however. All we can really evaluate when it comes to legacy is what happened. The Astros won that World Series regardless of how the majority of MLB fans would like to remember it. The pain and fury of that 2017 defeat will have been eased by the glory of 2020.
The Dodgers, along with their NLCS opponents, are stacked to retain their NL crown for years to come. A combination of smart baseball decisions with an ownership willing to spend makes for an unstoppable force. There will be no cost-cutting, and the number of unsuccessful trades in recent years can be counted on one hand.
Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager will get their extensions, Walker Buehler, Dustin May, Gavin Lux, Will Smith and Tony Gonsolin are under club control for several seasons yet. They will spend on free agents when required, as evidenced by the A.J. Pollock signing. When other franchises edge towards being cheap, the Dodgers will capitalise, as they did so emphatically to steal Mookie Betts and David Price off the Red Sox.
Pair this spending power with player development and it’s hard to see how the Dodgers stop winning. New talents appear each year – Max Muncy and Chris Taylor have become above-average Major League players from nowhere. Blake Treinen and Jake McGee have rebuilt their careers at Dodger Stadium.
The 2020 World Series saw the Dodgers get their reward. It was not one hot year, it was seasons of supremacy, a masterclass in MLB roster construction and coaching. Clayton Kershaw put so many of his playoff demons to bed with two strong Fall Classic outings, and the criticisms of Dave Roberts have been consigned to the annals of baseball history.
Boston won and self-destructed on financial grounds. The Indians had a World Series core, but they cut corners and took themselves out of contention. Washington did not have the farm or depth to sustain competitiveness in a tough division. The Rays’ financial disadvantage is an ever-present obstacle.
The Dodgers, unlike so many recent World Series teams, will not be disappearing. Los Angeles is the city of champions, a city never happy with one ring. Every National League front office will be asking how they can beat LA – there isn’t an answer to that question.