The Los Angeles Dodgers lineup saw regulars Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner and Trea Turner depart in free agency, which has placed more of an emphasis on Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy and Chris Taylor, among others returning in 2023.
While Betts and Freeman were All-Stars in 2022, Muncy and Taylor dealt with inconsistency and injuries throughout the year.
For Muncy, his season essentially began on the wrong note as he was trying to play through a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his left elbow. That impacted his swing path and thus resulted in a drop in production.
Meanwhile, Taylor couldn’t find much consistency, and dealt with a fractured foot and neck injury.
Although the Dodgers did not replace Trea Turner with a marquee shortstop, general manager Brandon Gomes believes Muncy and Taylor can both return to form and help provide production the lineup may otherwise miss, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“Both CT and Muncy did not perform up to their capabilities (in 2022),” Gomes said. “I think having full offseasons for both of those guys, our expectation is they will be back to previous form. So that’s helpful right there as far as in-house options. Then we’ll go out and explore what other pieces look like to raise the offensive floor and build out depth.”
Taylor, who could theoretically be considered for the shortstop position, struggled to find his footing offensively last year. In the first year of a new contract, he batted .221/.304/.373 with 25 doubles, 10 home runs and 43 RBI across just 118 games.
Muncy managed to hit just .196/.329/.384 with 21 home runs and 69 RBI, spending time on the 10-day injured list as a breather mentally and for his damaged elbow.
Max Muncy’s contract
For the 32-year-old Muncy, 2023 will mark the final guaranteed year under contract. The Dodgers signed Muncy to a contract extension in August, and it includes a $10 million team option for 2024.
“It means everything to me,” Muncy said at the time of signing his new contract.
“You know, there’s no place I’d rather be. Hopefully next year won’t be it and there will be more after that. But just the support I’ve had from the front office and the coaches this year, it’s really helped me through everything I’ve gone through.
“So just to be able to come back, and know I’ll have another chance to win kind of means everything to my family and me. And with where I was before coming to L.A., this place has really turned into our family. So it’s nice to be able to play here for at least another year, but hopefully a lot more.”
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