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Freddie Freeman could propel the Dodgers into the legendary realm of MLB

They have more power than the 1927 New York Yankees. They have the depth of the Big Red Machine but with a designated hitter in their lineup instead of a pitcher.

The 2022 Dodgers have a chance to become a new benchmark in this country’s longest-running professional sports league.

They don’t have the pitching to be the best team of all time, but they do have the guns to be the greatest offense in game history.

Sandy Koufax, Fernando Valenzuela and Clayton Kershaw’s franchise is now the team of Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts and Max Muncy.

“It’s going to be cool to look back and say this is a lineup that I was a part of,” outfielder AJ Pollock said Thursday, a day after the Dodgers agreed to a six-year, $162 million deal with Freeman.

do you want power

The Blue Bombers have eight hitters who hit 20 or more homers last season and another who hit 19.

want speed

You have Betts and Trea Turner.

Want Consistency?

That’s where Freeman comes in, the former National League MVP who has missed a total of seven games over the past four seasons.

“If you go through the position players, we basically have nine All-Stars,” Kershaw said.

Will Smith, the only non-All-Star on the scheduled regular starting lineup, is poised to earn the honor this year. Smith, 26, is the best-hitting catcher in the National League.

Kershaw shook his head when asked about his team’s acquisition of Freeman.

“I still didn’t believe it,” he said.

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman celebrates in Game 4 of the World Series.

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman celebrates in Game 4 of the World Series on Oct. 30 against the Houston Astros.

(John Bazemore/Associated Press)

Sitting in front of his locker, Kershaw continued: “Freddie could be the best hitter in the game. It’s near. He’s up there. Freddie, Juan Soto, Mookie.”

He smiled.

“We have two of these,” Kershaw said.

They also have three past MVPs in order in Freeman, Betts and Cody Bellinger. Kershaw is also a former MVP.

There are stars everywhere.

“Honestly, when you come here, you kind of get used to it,” Pollock said. “You get used to playing with superstars and guys who are incredible hitters, incredible players. Now we have a different guy.”

Manager Dave Roberts said he created potential lineups in the days before the Dodgers finalized their deal with Freeman. He wouldn’t give details but said: “The line-up is the best I’ve seen.”

It could look that way:

The addition of Freeman eases the burden on Muncy and Bellinger of being the team’s left-handed catalysts. Muncy is recovering from an elbow injury that sidelined him for the playoffs, while Bellinger is coming off a season battling .165.

Freeman’s presence could help counter the division’s top right-handers, including the San Diego Padres’ Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove and the San Francisco Giants’ Logan Webb. In the postseason, the Dodgers could face the likes of the New York Mets’ Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, or the Milwaukee Brewers’ Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff.

With Freeman now the team’s first baseman, Muncy is expected to play primarily at second base, while occasionally starting at third base or as the designated hitter. Freeman will likely move up to #2 in the order previously occupied by the late Corey Seager. Several established hitters are knocked down a spot or more in the lineup, but Muncy said that wouldn’t be a problem.

Muncy said of Freeman: “He makes our lineup so dangerous. He’ll be fun to watch every night, but on top of that he gives us a better chance of winning another World Series. And that’s what we’re all about here, winning. There isn’t a person here who didn’t want him.”

Muncy, Taylor and Gavin Lux’s ability to play in multiple positions will retain the team’s typical flexibility.

The Dodgers hit 830 NL-leading runs and were the only NL team to finish in the top five of the majors in scoring. You will now play with a designated batsman. They will also have a version of Bellinger, who will be another year away from shoulder surgery that disabled him last year. And they replace the often injured Seager with the more durable Freeman.

They have questions about their depth of rotation and bullpen, but the Dodgers might score enough to make none of it.

“We should grind teams, we should go deep in the pens, we should get runs,” Roberts said. “It just allows starters or helpers to potentially not be redlined and gives you more latitude or flexibility in scoring runs.”

Of course, everything is theoretical at this stage.

“We have to work together and come together as a team because there are some things that you have to work on in terms of culture and chemistry and things like that,” Kershaw said. “We can’t just assume we’re going to win because we have nine of the best players in the game every day. We have to work on that. And we will.”

Because the most prominent places in history are reserved for teams that win.

The Dodgers offense will be very good, maybe even great. A championship could make it legendary.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2022-03-17/freddie-freeman-dodgers-lineup-mlb-world-series-title Freddie Freeman could propel the Dodgers into the legendary realm of MLB

Andrew Schnitker

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