Sunday, March 3, 2013

30 Teams in 30 Days: Los Angeles Dodgers

2012 Record: 86-76 (2nd NL West)

Key Additions
SP Zack Greinke (6 years, $147 MM)
SP Hyun-Jin Ryu (6 years $36 MM)
2B Skip Schumaker(Acquired via trade)
RP J.P. Howell (1 year $2.85 MM)
RP Mark Lowe (MILB Deal)
RP Kevin Gregg (MILB Deal)

Key Subtractions
OF Shane Victorino (3 years $39 MM w/ Red Sox)
RP Jamey Wright (MILB Deal)
RP Randy Choate (3 years $7.5 MM w/ Cardinals)

Which new guy will help the most?
If you have oodles of money, you spend it. This is what the Dodgers have done in the past year or so, extending key players like Matt Kemp and Andre Either(although Either isn’t really “key”), trading for all the Red Sox misfits, and, last but not least, signing Zack Greinke to the largest contract ever given to a Free Agent pitcher. Since his breakout campaign in 2008, Greinke has been worth an average of 5.7 WAR per season!!! The Dodgers didn’t really need pitching all that much coming into 2013 as they were top 10 in the league in most categories for starting pitchers, but adding a pitcher with Greinke’s ability will hopefully (for Dodger fans that is) give them the extra boost they need to topple the defending champions from San Francisco. Anytime you have an opportunity to sign a pitcher who’ll be worth close to 6 WAR, you take it, and the Dodgers did.  Fronting the rotation alongside Clayton Kershaw, he not only makes the rotation better, but he also forces Chris Capuano to make he move to the bullpen, which in turn will make the ‘pen better as well. So, in an off-season in which the Dodgers just fortified their roster with some solid additions, Greinke takes the cake as the best one...Money well spent by Magic Johnson and Co.

Spring Training Battles

Will Dee Gordon make the roster and force Hanley Ramirez to third base, or will he not show enough in spring, giving the third base job to Luiz Cruz while Hanley handles short?

Dee Gordon’s speed definitely makes him one of the most exciting players in the game to watch, but after that, he hasn’t had any success in the bigs in his brief 2-year career. He had an abysmal season last year, putting up a wRC+ of just 58, and a wOBA of .253. Ouch. Right now he is on the outside looking in, and it will take a great spring to crack the opening day roster, but perhaps, not only does his performance need to be great, but Luiz Cruz’ needs to be horrible. The reason for this is simple. Cruz was crazy hot to end the season last year, posting a batting average of .323 from August 5th until the end of the regular season (52 games), while only striking out 19 times. The job is Cruz’ to lose, but right now, it seems as if Gordon is heading back down to AAA for at least the beginning of the 2013 season.

Who will be the 5th starter? Chris Capuano, Ted Lilly, or Aaron Harang?

This is something all teams want to have, abundance of pitching, and for the Dodgers, it will force them to make some tough decisions in the coming weeks. If they all stay healthy in the spring, one will be traded, one will get the 5th spot, and one will move to the bullpen. This problem grows even more complex if Chad Billingsley returns to health, and forces his way back onto the roster. Right now, the spot could go to all 3, and it will likely be decided by who can fetch the most in the trade market. Lilly is the frontrunner to get the spot in my opinion because his trade value is hurt considerably due to his 2013 salary of $12,000,000 that he does not project to be worth, and, also because of his salary, he shouldn’t be going to the bullpen. This leaves one of Harang or Capuano to get traded and the other to be put to work in the ‘pen, and for me, it a coin flip.  

Questions Heading into the Season

Can the bullpen provide well-pitched innings? Can Ryu make the jump to North America successfully?
Honestly, it doesn’t really matter. They have a lot of depth because of the Greinke and Ryu signings, so there are plenty of worthy replacements for both the bullpen, and the rotation, if Ryu struggles. Not only do they have a lot of depth because of the aforementioned signings, but they also brought in Mark Lowe and Kevin Gregg on minor league deals, so the bullpen really shouldn’t be a concern.

Who will fill in for Carl Crawford in Left Field if he is not ready to come back come April?
Take it away, TrueBlueLA...

"When asked who might fill in for Crawford in left field in April should he not be ready for opening day, Mattingly said he would platoon the right-handed hittingJerry Hairston Jr. and the left-handed hitting Skip Schumaker".
So, there's that. Not a bad situation to be in for the Dodgers. I love watching Crawford play(at least I did when he was at the top of his game). Hopefully he can come back healthy and be a star again, as when he is on, he's one of the most exciting players in the game with his speed.

Prospect Who Should Have the Most Impact in 2013

 Although a lot of people don’t consider 25-year-old Hyun-Jin Ryu a prospect, he is a rookie according to Major League Baseball just like Yu Darvish was last season, so he does get to be previewed in this section.

            Coming over from Korea, Ryu projects to be a 4th starter at best, but the 6”2 215 pounder always faces the possibility of failure like other pitchers who come to the MLB via the posting system. He throws his fastball between 88-92 MPH, and his big frame will be very useful as he learns to handle a big league workload that is sure to take a toll on him. Besides from his fastball, he also features 2 somewhat below average pitches in his changeup and curveball, and a slider that should turn out to be a little bit above average. For $6 million a year, he will eat innings and quite possibly make them innings that are well pitched, but like all new pitchers, there will be growing pains that Dodger fans will have to live through.

Projected Roster (via

Projected 'Go-To' Starting Lineup
1 2B Mark Ellis
CF Matt Kemp
5 SS Hanley Ramirez
3B Luis Cruz
C A.J. Ellis  

Projected Bench 
2B/OF Skip Schumaker
IF/OF Jerry Hairston, Jr.  

Projected Starting Rotation 
LHP Clayton Kershaw
RHP Zack Greinke
RHP Josh Beckett 
LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu 
5 RHP Aaron Harang

Projected Bullpen 
SU RHP Kenley Jansen 
MID LHP J.P. Howell
MID RHP Matt Guerrier
MID RHP Javy Guerra
LR LHP Chris Capuano

Projected Record
92-70 (1st NL West)

After spending so much money, the Dodgers need to finish above the Giants and win the division. They have the funds to be able to upgrade their roster even more come July, and they have such a deep rotation that it won't be hard trying to find a trade partner if they are looking for offense. It's going to be one fun season in the West, as the heated rivalry between LA and San Fran has been turned up another notch with the signing of Greinke!

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