Don't you hate when a band you really like breaks up? And I don't mean when it's 10 years after their last good album and you just heard their No. 1 hit in Muzak form at the grocery store and you feel old and fat. Sometimes they're coming off a pretty good album, and you were hoping to hear a little more. That's the Los Angeles Dodgers.
All in all, 2016 was a solid season for the Dodgers, with some big moments, including that track with the surprise cameo from Clayton Kershaw at the end of a postseason game that came out of nowhere. It's just that the Cubs' release was just that little bit better in the NLCS, and there's some unfinished business for the Dodgers to take care of in 2017.
Without third baseman Justin Turner, closer Kenley Jansen and starter Rich Hill, the Dodgers would have been missing some key pieces that would have been quite difficult to replace. Los Angeles has money, even after some loud hints from MLB about the team's debt load, but L.A. was going to boast a $200 million payroll in 2017 no matter what, so to start off the season with an 84-78 roster would have been unacceptable.
It's not as if the Dodgers could have replaced the losses in free agency. Hill had the best projected 2017 WAR per ZiPS of any starting pitcher in free agency. Jansen had the second-best reliever projection outside of Aroldis Chapman. And Turner had the second-best WAR projection of any position player in free agency, just the slightest hair behind Yoenis Cespedes in a neutral park (by about 1/25th of a win).
Short of Shohei Otani coming over from Japan -- something that wasn't going to happen and now appears to be unlikely to happen for several years thanks to MLB's awful new CBA section on foreign players -- money didn't matter. Just to continue the music analogy, the free-agent market is a bit like one of those record stores when they went out of business in 2004 or so, and all they had left on the nearly unguarded racks (for 90 percent off) was a stack of "Gregorian Monks Sing Squeeze's Greatest Hits." OK, I don't think that actually existed.