Saturday, February 2, 2013

Offseason Review: The Los Angeles Dodgers

New Dodger and Major Leaguer, South Korean
LHP Ryu Hyun-Jin
The Dodgers are without a doubt in win now, next year, and for the next several years mode.  The additions of LHP Ryu Hyun-Jin, a 7x KBO all-star, and 2009 AL Cy Young RHP Zack Greinke add extremely formidable depth to an already deadly rotation that now contains eight viable candidates for starting.  The re-signing of Brandon League to a very expensive three-year $22.5MM deal provides more late inning armor to a fully loaded bullpen. All of this set up to buoy last year's late season acquisition of Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto and Josh Beckett, perennial MVP candidate Matt Kemp and the rest of the diva heavy Dodgers in to a championship contending team for the next several years. But will it work?

The four above mentioned players were all shipped to Los Angeles from an equally formidable looking Boston Red Sox team who were picked by many (myself included) to win a ring in 2012. Frustration with management and a general lack of team chemistry were largely to blame for Boston's inadequacy in 2012 and subsequent dispersal of major talent.  The Dodgers new ownership, the Magic Johnson Group, are hoping to turn their $2B investment in to a winning dynamic using many of the same discarded pieces Boston couldn't cohesively mesh.  There is with out any doubt that the Dodgers are officially contenders, but don't mark them down as surefire favorites yet.

Greinke switches Los Angeles team to become the
highest paid right handed pitcher in history.
Los Angeles needs to recognize a few things in order to live up to their potential.  First off, they are in the same division as the 2012 and 2010 World Series champion San Francisco Giants. The Giants have been victorious despite doing almost the opposite of what the new Dodgers are doing. Homegrown talent, modest acquisitions, not having a million superstars and still flourishing. While the Dodgers do have players worthy of enormous ego, management better hope that ego can stay reined in enough to keep a team dynamic in tact. They also have to contend with the upstart Diamondbacks and dark horse Padres within their own division, so the road ahead could become bumpy if things go awry. That all being said, we are talking about professional athletes who have been trained to compete their entire lives. If things go as smoothly as expected, Vin Scully will be narrating a Dodger team deep in to the playoffs.

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