Most baseball pundits generally concede that the 2022 World Series is the Dodgers to lose. They’ve put together one of the more impressive offenses in recent memory with the signing of Freddie Freeman, and have two – if not three or four pitchers who contend for a Cy Young when healthy / not suspended.
The opening MLB Vegas Odds have the Dodgers at +500 favorites to win the World Series, but even then it’s going to be tough enough for the Dodgers to come out of the NL West, let alone claim the National League Pennant which they are +250 to do. L.A still has plenty of questions starting with Mookie Betts’ hip and a pitching staff that must replace Max Scherzer (15-4, 2.46) and Kenley Jansen (38 saves). Make no mistake, Los Angeles is still very talented but here are some teams that will likely give them fits in pursuit of the NL Pennant.
New York Mets +475
The Dodgers’ loss is the Mets gain as Scherzer decided to head to the Big Apple on a 3-year, $130,000,000 deal. He’ll join a rotation that features 2-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom, but New York also lost some pitching depth with Marcus Stroman going to the Cubs and Noah Syndergaard going to the Angels. Trade deadline acquisition Javy Baez is also headed to the Tigers, replaced by Eduardo Escobar who slumped after being traded from Arizona to Milwaukee.
Atlanta won the NL East with 88 wins last year, the fewest of any division winner. The best thing for the Dodgers is that the East will beat up on each other this year with Scherzer joining deGrom on the Mets, and the Phillies adding Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos to join the likes of Bryce Harper, Jean Segura, and Rhys Hoskins. The Braves are loaded though, with Matt Olson being acquired to replace Freeman at 1B after a 39-HR season.
The NL East and West will be dogfights this year, the Central not so much as the Brewers should cruise to another title with maybe a little resistance from St. Louis. Milwaukee wasn’t especially busy adding players in the offseason, but they maintained a deadly pitching staff that can cause L.A headaches in the postseason. Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta are all starters who had under a 2.81 ERA last year while setup man Devin Williams had a 2.50 ERA and closer Josh Hader is untouchable with a 1.23 ERA and 34 saves.
The Dodgers were 12-7 vs. the Padres last season, due in part to San Diego fading down the stretch going 11-15 in August and 6-19 in September. Because of that meltdown, the Padres have switched managers and opted for the experienced Bob Melvin as well as his assistants Matt Williams and Bryan Price. That veteran savvy is going to be needed with Fernando Tatis, Jr. out about 3 months following wrist surgery, but this is still a pitching rotation that features Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Joe Musgrove, as well as Mike Clevinger in his return from Tommy John surgery.