The 2023 season now truly seems like it’s underway as we’ve getting updates from Camelback Ranch, whether it’s good or bad. There’s obviously a ton of hope for certain players on the Dodgers that we might be writing the first part of a key chapter in their career, but there’s also the ever-present injury news to sort through.
Let’s start with hope, as non-roster invitee Jason Heyward is giving Dodger fans a big ol’ dose of that with his new swing already delivering results in camp.
The non-Mookie Betts outfield spots for the Dodgers are question marks, so getting something about of Heyward would be massive.
“I was expecting to make changes and expecting to start from scratch, which was nice,” Heyward said. “That being said, it’s still about me as far as showing up everyday, especially stepping in the box being the best version of myself.”
Granted, people were talking about Heyward completely reworking his swing all the way back in 2017, and really nothing much has changed with his production. Always nice to keep expectations on long shot progressions in check.
That said, I mean it’s a positive that they’re already talking as if he’ll have a job.
Speaking of hopium, comparatively there doesn’t need to be as much faith in Noah Syndergaard, as he was perfectly serviceable last year, but the Dodgers are obviously expecting a better year out of him and he’s expecting that himself.
“Everybody gets that itch once it gets closer, but I was super eager to get to work,” Syndergaard said earlier this month. “The Dodgers organization is the best player-development organization, in my opinion, in the game. I’m 30 years old, seven, eight years in the big leagues, and still there’s room to improve and get better and develop.”
Reports have him up to 96 mph already, and if he can sit in that range again he’d certainly have stuff closer to his prime than not.
Meanwhile, Gavin Lux is ready for his closeup at shortstop, where he’s being asked to fill gigantic shoes.
Throughout the offseason, Lux said he noticed people talking — and even questioning — his ability to move from second base to shortstop.
“I think I would’ve been ready [to play shortstop three years] ago and I would’ve taken my bumps and bruises, but I’m not sure how I would’ve handled it,” Lux said. “But I think now, mentally and physically, I’m way more prepared to handle it than I would’ve been three years ago. It’s night and day, for sure.”
Definitely, he seems to have matured in his approach to the game, which was apparent last year (especially prior to his injury). Hopefully it carries over to the field and he can prove many wrong there.
Lux spent the offseason eating close to 4,500 calories a day and working with the training staff. He came into camp about 15 pounds heavier than where he was last season, a change that could lead to more power and more arm strength.
Hopefully it’ll spell the end of the warning track memes.
On the injury side of things, Blake Treinen signed an extension with the team during the middle of last season, mainly because surgery was recommended on his injured shoulder and the Dodgers wanted him to know his spot was secure/the checks would keep coming even if he got it done. Well, he instead tried to return anyway to mostly unsuccessful results, and ended up getting surgery much later in the year. Thus, it was assumed that Treinen would be out for 2023, but he believes pitching at some point this year is a possibility.
While some have argued that Treinen had two different shoulder injuries, and thus his decision wasn’t a factor in his current status, I don’t think it’s exactly a stretch to connect trying to pitch through a bum shoulder and then other problems with that shoulder immediately developing. One could argue it was still worth a shot last year anyway, but it certainly makes the Dodgers look worse for 2023.
Projected starting second baseman and rookie Miguel Vargas got his pivotal 2023 campaign off to an ominous start by fracturing his pinky.
I’m glad the Dodgers don’t seem worried about it, but also with their history on reporting injuries, maybe we should be worried that they aren’t worried.
Daniel Hudson is slowly making his way back from a torn ACL, and he’s having some ankle issues due to rehab work for the injury.
Losing Hudson was a big blow to the pen last year and could’ve made a difference in the playoffs if not for the freak injury. If he can get back to where he was, that would be a huge boost.
For transaction news, they mainly just finalized things. The Dodgers waited for the 60-day IL to be available before finalizing the Alex Reyes, Jimmy Nelson, and David Peralta deals, putting Walker Buehler, J.P. Feyereisen, and Treinen on the IL.
Zero surprises there.
Also, 25-year-old Infielder Jahmai Jones was a late addition to the non-roster invitee list, which hopefully means he’s feeling healthy.
In August of last year the Dodgers signed him to a two-year minor-league deal after Tommy John surgery ended his season. He has as .444 OPS in 79 plate appearances in the majors and didn’t standout at the plate in 412 AAA PA either with a .744 OPS, but he has played all three outfield positions and second base.
Former Padres pitcher Tyson Ross has been hired by the Dodgers.
All I want is for every player to post 10 WAR and not get injured. Not much, really.