Los Angeles Dodgers' best-case, worst-case and most realistic scenarios for 2024

Mar 3, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani against the
Mar 3, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani against the / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Dodgers' Worst-Case Scenario

Given the more than $1 billion spent by the Dodgers just this offseason to upgrade a 100-win team, anything less than a World Series win is by definition the worst-case scenario. The Dodgers could win 140 games this regular season, but if they trip up next October, the whole thing will have been a failure.

The problem is that when your goal is so manifestly ‘World Series win or bust,’ you are set up for a crash. And that’s even assuming, as sane people do, that the Dodgers will perform sensationally through September.

Since the wild card was created in 1995, 33 teams have either led or co-led the majors in victories over the course of a season of more than 100 games. Yet only six of those 30 teams – a mere 20 percent – went on to win their World Series.  The Yankees did it in 1998 and 2009, the Red Sox in 2007, 2013 and 2018, and the Cubs in 2016. That’s it.

The Dodgers are as familiar with the perils of October as any team. In 2017, they won a major league-high 104 games, but lost the Series to the Houston Astros. In 2022, they won 111 games, but were knocked out by the Padres in the NLDS. Since 2017 alone, five Dodgers teams have won triple digits, then lost in postseason. Four of those five didn’t even get to the World Series.

The other ‘worst-case scenario’ haunting Dodger fans’ nightmares involves the pitching staff. There’s every reason Yamamoto will dominate here in at least a reasonable facsimile of how he has dominated Japanese baseball. But what if, for some reason, the cultural transition doesn’t take?

There are more what ifs. What if Glasnow gets hurt like he does most every year? What if Buehler doesn’t return to 2021 form from his arm injury? What if Bobby Miller has a sophomore slump? What if it’s June and the heart of the rotation is James Paxton and Ryan Yarbrough?