The Los Angeles Dodgers won a third straight National League West division title this season, marking the first time in franchise history such had been accomplished. They posted a third consecutive 90-plus win season, but have nothing to show for it.
They were eliminated by the New York Mets in Game 5 of the NL Division Series, thanks in large part to Daniel Murphy’s do-it-all night. “Daniel was a tough out all series,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said following his club’s loss.
“He’s always to me been a guy that’s been a tough out.” For Mattingly and the Dodgers, a season that began with so much promise ended essentially in the same position as 2014. Though, last year they were eliminated in Game 4 of the NLDS by the St. Louis Cardinals.
“It’s disappointing. I don’t think it matters what it is. It’s just disappointing. That’s what I told the guys in there. There are really no words to describe how you feel right now,” Mattingly said. “You come to spring training, you work all winter, you scratch, you fight, all year long to get into this situation and you have a chance. It comes to a crash.
“It doesn’t matter if you expect it or whatever, we played three rookies tonight, so it’s not like we’re firing out whatever. But it’s disappointing no matter what the situation is. You work too hard. You put in too many hours. You travel, you do things that guys go through to get here is extraordinary, and it comes to a crash and you can’t — I don’t think there is anyway to soften that blow.”
The Dodgers now enter an offseason that’s sure to be full of questions that need answering. Zack Greinke is essentially a lock to opt out of his contract, Brett Anderson is eligible for free agency, and so too is Howie Kendrick.
While Anderson struggled in his lone postseason start, he was a rock for a Dodgers’ rotation that lost Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu to season-ending surgeries. Greinke, who will turn 32 on Wednesday, figures to be an interesting case study for the Dodgers’ front office.
His value to the club, particularly in 2015, was unmeasurable. However, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has stressed roster flexibility and spent dollars judiciously.
Potentially re-signing Greinke to a lucrative five or six-year deal doesn’t fit neatly within Friedman’s philosophy. Then of course there’s the question of whether Mattingly will return as manager in 2016.
Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi have spoken fondly of Mattingly, but their desire and prerogative to select and hire their own manager shouldn’t completely be dismissed.