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Take comfort, the Dodgers are moving backwards

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With Corey Seager and Max Scherzer gone, the Dodgers don’t look quite as intimidating at the moment.

Championship Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Atlanta Braves - Game Two Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

All things considered, this is a relatively optimistic San Francisco Giants article, so let me kick it off with a healthy dose of bad news: the Los Angeles Dodgers will be very good in 2022. They might even be great.

I say this because the Dodgers are a very good organization with very good players and a crew of people who make very good baseball decisions. I say this because the Dodgers have occupied the spectrum between “very good” and “great” for 10 straight seasons now.

That gives you a justifiable reason to worry. The Giants had to squeeze every last drop out of their 2021 season, finishing with a franchise record in wins, just to best the Dodgers by a single game in the regular season. And so far the team’s two biggest offseason moves have been the departures of the their two All-MLB selections — first with the retirement of Buster Posey, and now with Kevin Gausman joining the Toronto Blue Jays in free agency.

So here’s some happy news for you: the Dodgers are doing the same.

With Wednesday night’s lockout looming, many free agents have been rushing to sign deals. On Monday it was two of the Dodgers best players who put pen to paper — paper with someone else’s logo on the header.

First it was Max Scherzer joining the New York Mets for a staggering — and yet very much deserved — three-year deal worth $130 million.

And then it was shortstop Corey Seager, who bolted for the free-spending Texas Rangers, who offered up a tidy $325 million over 10 years to pair him next to Marcus Semien.

While Scherzer might be the more valuable player (in the short term), somehow the loss of Seager feels more significant. Still only 27 years old, he’d been tormenting the Giants for the better part of the last decade. I’d already put “shake fist angrily at Corey Seager” as a recurring alert on my calendar for the next 12 years. Feels good to delete that one.

The Dodgers, of course, have counters to these losses. They still have an absurd amount of money and, unlike the Giants, seemingly a willingness to spend a lot of it. They get to replace Seager by sliding Trea Turner — arguably the best position player in the National League — back to his natural habitat. Dustin May will potentially return towards the end of the 2022 season. There’s still the possibility of Trevor Bauer returning to the team which, while being substantially grosser for off the field reasons than on the field ones, would still be pretty gross on the field.

But there are counters to those counters. Clayton Kershaw is a free agent, as is Chris Taylor. Kenley Jansen is, too. Turner will be a free agent this time next year, and while it’s possible that the Dodgers didn’t shell out the bucks for Seager because they view Turner as the long-term shortstop, it’s also possible they’re no longer comfortable doling out 10+ years and $300+ million, which Turner will easily nab next offseason. After trades for Turner, Scherzer, and Mookie Betts, LA’s farm system is not the snarling beast that it so recently was.

Again: the Dodgers will be really good, if not great in 2022, and likely for many years beyond. San Francisco has the most impressive of iron to sharpen themselves against. But the Giants losing one of their best pitchers and one of their best position players is a little easier to swallow when the Dodgers decide to mirror the action.