The Los Angeles Dodgers were one of the biggest disappointments of the previous season, not because they played bad baseball, but because the expectations were very high. They had the biggest payroll of all teams and in 2015 they will dispose of $264 million, plenty of money for a team that aims to win the World Series. Achieving something like this won’t be easy, but with the likes of SS Jimmy Rollins, 2B Howie Kendrick, C Yasmani Grandal, SP Brandon McCarthy, SP Brett Anderson, RP Joel Peralta, they have a decent chance at succeeding.
These are the key players that were added during the season break, with the purpose of making the losses go unnoticed. Given the fact that Hanley Ramirez, Dee Gordon, Josh Beckett, Dan Haren and Chad Billingsley have all left for different teams, it will be very difficult for the Dodgers to field a competitive starting rotation. They need reliable pitchers and even though they still have Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke ready to take the mound, it would be difficult to keep up the high tempo.
Jimmy Rollins, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig are just a few of the players that are expected to featuring the projected lineup and all of them are big scores. Last year they perform decently well but fell short of matching expectations, something that relievers can also relate to. In addition to the starting pitchers who are supposed to keep the team alive when things get rough, there are relievers such as Kenley Jansen, Joel Peralta and Pedro Baez. Much is expected from them and they can’t afford to fail.
The roster overhaul miss to deliver results and it better do so quickly, because losing the start is not something that the LA Dodgers can afford. Many consider that letting Dee Gordon and Hanley Ramirez was a serious mistake and it will be up to Howie Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins to prove them wrong. This definitely have what it takes to score the home runs and cause opponents plenty of headaches, but in the absence of reliable pitching, it will be all in vain.
They are highly experienced players, both of them about 30 years old but this is also a problem because fitness concerns can strike without notice. On the other hand, Clayton Kershaw is still young and is not expected to spend too much time on the bench mending injuries, so the starting formation looks solid. Winning the Cy Young award for two seasons in a row is hardly a surprise and the fact that he also prevailed in the NL MVP race was also expected of him.
At least on paper, the Dodgers have a strong starting formation, but the same happened one year ago and they didn’t even play in the World Series. Another mediocre season will not be tolerated by the fans and management, so these players would better rise their game to the expected level.