For a second time in as many years under president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman the Los Angeles Dodgers were crowned National League West division champions. It was the fourth straight year the Dodgers won the NL West.
But with as much regular-season success Los Angeles has had, they’ve been unable to reach the World Series since 1988. The Dodgers set an MLB record for most consecutive trips to the postseason without advancing to the Fall Classic.
“We have had four highly successful regular seasons in a row. Winning the NL West four consecutive years is really difficult,” Friedman said.
“You look at how often that’s done, it’s not that often. That’s our regular-season goal. We want to construct a team we feel confident can accomplish that, which then puts us in position to accomplish our ultimate goal — win a World Series.”
More so than year’s prior, the the Dodgers winning the NL West in 2016 was an impressive accomplishment when taking into account the several hurdles they overcame.
Among them, the Dodgers set an MLB record with 28 different players put on the disabled list, and were without Clayton Kershaw for 75 days. That put further emphasis on the club’s ballyhooed organizational depth.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts also deserves credit for keeping the team afloat through the valleys. “We obviously talked about it quite a bit throughout the season, but the resiliency of this group, we talked about the number of fingerprints that were on the success of this team,” Friedman said.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of a team that had contributions from so many different people. Obviously, that’s a great sign going forward, a lot of our young players getting the experience that they got.”
The Dodgers used 55 different players and 31 different pitchers this season to offset recurring injuries. Both numbers tied team records. Rookies played an instrumental role this season, which should bode well for the Dodgers moving forward.
That young players managed to contribute wasn’t by accident in Friedman’s estimation. “[It] speaks volumes to Doc, the coaching staff, and veteran players we had that created that infrastructure,” Friedman said.
“At this point it’s all about silver linings and building off things. There’s a lot to be really proud of and build off for next year.”