To begin the 2023 campaign, the Los Angeles Dodgers sit around .500, good for second place in the NL West division. Surprisingly, the only club they trail is the Arizona Diamondbacks, who still seem closer to “pretender” than “contender”.
Offensive performances from Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy and rookie outfielder James Outman have carried the team so far this year. The former trio have all carved out established big league careers. while the latter is doing everything right in his quest for the 2023 NL Rookie of the Year trophy.
Most of the pitching staff has done well, too. Outside of subpar showings from Michael Grove and Alex Vesia, the rotation and bullpen have looked sharp.
Many of the former names in the middle of the club’s lineup or atop the rotation have moved on to new destinations. Guys like Kiké Hernández, Justin Turner, Joc Pederson and even Cody Bellinger have started off 2023 on a high note on the offensive side, while Kenley Jansen has returned to form for the Red Sox.
On the opposite end of this spectrum, there are a handful of players the Dodgers should be happy are no longer on the club. From former All-Stars to guys who at one point were surefire Hall of Famers, some former Dodgers are off to terrible starts on their new clubs.
Here are 4 former Dodgers players who are failing miserably with their new teams.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. And risen again. And fallen again.
Kimbrel, once viewed as the game’s best relief pitcher, has had a relatively rough go of it in recent years. The former relief ace had one of the best nine-year stretches to start a career this game has ever seen, posting a combined 1.91 ERA and 333 saves across 542 appearances. In that time, he struck out a ridiculous 868 batters in just 532 innings of work.
The right-hander had one heck of a regression in 2019 on the Cubs, and didn’t really find himself again until the first half of 2021. After posting a 0.49 ERA (that’s two earned runs in 36.2 innings) across 39 appearances, Kimbrel went from the Cubs to the White Sox and once again imploded on the mound.
Last year, the eight-time All-Star Game participant shored up the back end of the Dodgers’ bullpen. In 63 appearances, he saved 22 games, had a 3.75 ERA and 110 ERA+ and had a 0.6 HR/9, his best since 2014.
Kimbrel rode this performance to another guaranteed contract, this one coming in the form of a one-year, $10M deal from the Philadelphia Phillies.
The 2023 season is still young, but the 34-year-old seems to have reverted back to his 2019-2020 ways. In nine appearances and eight innings, he has allowed five earned runs on eight hits already. He has also walked six batters, which puts his BB/9 at 6.8, the highest it’s been in years.
Pollock, another former All-Star, spent three seasons in Los Angeles, functioning as an oft-injured outfield option who the club could not rely on to stay healthy. In three years, he got into just 258 games for the club.
Before joining the Dodgers, he had established himself as a solid outfielder who could play all three positions in the grass and hit around 20 home runs a year. He hit 15 in 86 games in 2019, then tied a career-high with 21 in 2021. He finished his career on the club with a 124 OPS+, which is nothing to scoff at.
Since he left the team, Pollock has spent time on the White Sox in 2022 and the Mariners this year. Last season, he had a .245 average with an OPS+ of 90 and really showed his age.
To start the current season, he has just three hits in 27 at-bats, good for a batting average of .111 and an OBP of .194. In the early goings, the club has already turned to other players to fill their outfield and designated hitter rotation, with Pollock seemingly the odd man out.
Fortunately for the club, he is playing out a one-year, $7M contract, so if things continue to crash and burn for him, Seattle should be able to cut bait rather easily.
Throughout his eight-year career, Stripling has always been a tough player to read. During his five-year stint on the Dodgers, he proved to be a pitcher that could excel in any role he was placed in. He was a reliable swingman for the club, and even made the All-Star Game in 2018.
After a rough start to the 2020 season, Stripling was traded to the Blue Jays in exchange for spare parts. After being a well-below-average arm in Toronto for the first year and a half on the club, he finally broke out last year.
In 32 appearances (24 starts), Stripling quickly became one of the Blue Jays’ most trusted arms, going 10-4 with a 3.01 ERA, 3.11 FIP and 128 ERA+. He did an excellent job at limiting home runs, keeping runners off the basepaths and doing what he has always done best: inducing groundballs.
After the Blue Jays did not re-sign him in free agency, the 33-year-old took his services to the San Francisco Giants, where he signed a two-year, $25M contract. To start things off on his new team, things have not been promising.
After making just one start for the Giants, management has already demoted Stripling to the bullpen in favor of Sean Manaea. Even his relief experiment has not gone well. In a total of four appearances and 12.1 innings pitched, he has a 7.30 ERA, thanks to 10 earned runs and a whopping six home runs allowed already.
While such a development is suboptimal for the Giants, Dodgers fans will surely take it. The club seems to be financially tied up to a pitcher who had a one-off solid year the season prior.
Anderson, a left-handed starting pitcher, emerged as an old fashioned feel-good story for the Dodgers last season. After bouncing around the league as a durable starter who just couldn’t get the results he or his team(s) wanted, he landed in Los Angeles and really took off.
In 30 appearances (28 starts), Anderson shocked the world by going 15-5 with a 2.57 ERA, 3.31 FIP and a 160 ERA+. Remember, 100 is league-average, so that suggests he was 60 percent above league-average last season.
Last year, he did everything right for the Dodgers. He brought his walks down, he allowed only 0.7 HR/9 (easily a career best) and made his first All-Star Game. The results for him on his new team have not been as encouraging, and it now seems that the Dodgers avoided catastrophe.
In the 2022-2023 offseason, the 33-year-old southpaw signed a three-year, $39M contract with the other Los Angeles team, the Angels. This deal was immediately viewed as an overpay and, so far, that seems to be an accurate assessment.
In three starts and 14.2 innings pitched, Anderson has already allowed 11 earned runs (6.75 ERA) on 19 hits, allowing five home runs and walking eight along the way. Everything he had working for him so well last season appears to have flown out the window.