Saturday, March 3, 2012

30 Teams in 30 Days: Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers – 2012 team preview

2011 Record: 82-79

Key Additions: Juan Rivera (OF), Mark Ellis (2B), Matt Treanor (C), Adam Kennedy (1B), Chris Capuano (SP), Jerry Hariston Jr. (INF), Aaron Harang (SP), Todd Coffey (RP), Tony Gwynn Jr. (OF)

Subtractions: Hiroki Kuroda (SP), Casey Blake (3B), Jon Garland (SP), Rod Barajas (C), Hong-Chih Kuo (SP), Vicente Padilla (SP), Jamey Carroll, Dana Eveland (SP), Eugenio Velez (INF

2012 Outlook: Its hard to talk about the 2012 season without beginning from the top. What started as a bad divorce in 2009 with Frank McCourt and his wife, the ownership situation has been nothing short of a three ring circus since. There are several rumored players involved including – Larry King, Mark Cuban, Magic Johnson, Steve Cohen, Joe Torre and ex-Dodger Orel Hershiser.
Who really owns the team? As it heads into bankruptcy court with more questions than answers, the Dodgers staff hopes that the signing of Albert Pujols just down the highway to their LA counterparts will spark interest in baseball in LA once again. With that out of the way…

The two biggest offseason moves were resigning two of the games brightest stars – Matt Kemp (8 years $160M) and Clayton Kershaw (2 years $19M). Their biggest free agent signing was…(gulp)..Aaron Harang (2 years $12M). It’s actually not a bad signing, but not exactly a big splash.
Capuano, Ellis and Coffey will all help to fill holes from the departures.
Clayton Kershaw won the 2011 Cy Young award (was 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA, 0.98 whip). Matt Kemp went on to lead the NL in home runs (39) and RBI’s (126), was second in SB’s (40). With one more home run would have been the 5th player to ever join the 40/40 club.

To begin this year, Kemp has said that he would like to hit the 50/50 club. Actually he would be the president of that club, since it doesn't exist (only two players have hit 50 homers and 50 steals but not in the same season). There would be a short list of players who could do this feat, and Matt Kemp would be at the top of my list.

Can Don Mattingly take the Dodgers into the playoffs ? In order to do so, the pitching will need to carry this team a long ways. With a starting five of – Kershaw, Billingsley, Lilly, Capuano and Harang, anything is possible. There are easily 12 worse starting staffs. Who knows whether Javy Guerra or Kenley Jansen closes? I personally love Jansen’s stuff (especially his 16 K’s/9 innings and that he was a catcher the last time the Dodgers were in the playoffs – 2009).

Projected Lineup – Mattingly has already said that Dee Gordon will leadoff and Kemp will bat 3rd. Here is how I see the rest of the batting order;
1. Dee Gordon (SS)
2. Mark Ellis (2B)
3. Matt Kemp (CF)
4. Andre Either (RF)
5. James Loney (1B)
6. Juan Rivera (LF)
7. Juan Uribe (3B)
8. A.J. Ellis (C)

If Los Angeles has any hope to contend, they need big seasons from Either, Loney and Gordon. However, when reality sets in, we here at BlueJaysPlus, see a slip in the standings for this Los Angeles team.

The Final Count: 78-84, 4th in NL West.

There just isn’t enough offense, and their C, 1B, 2B, 3B, and LF are too questionable and inconsistent. Sorry Dodger fans, it could be another year or two, but enjoy Kemp and Kershaw.
There are still great storylines to follow in LA – will Kemp hit more than Pujols? (I think so).
Will Dee Gordon steal 70 bases? (I think he could).
Can Kershaw win 20 again? (yup)

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