The Los Angeles Dodgers are tired of playing second fiddle to their Rival Giants. After missing the postseason the last 3 years and seeing the San Francisco Giants go on to win 2 of those world series, the Dodgers have decided it is their time. With a payroll on the plus side of 213 million, the Dodgers are holding nothing back, so will it be enough to get them where they want to be?
SP Zack Greinke, SP Hyun-Jin Ryu, RP J.P. Howell, RP Brandon League
SP Joe Blanton and OF Shane Victorino
When looking at this team on paper two big strengths jump out at me: the lineup and the rotation. If healthy, this lineup is one of the best and most balanced lineup in all of baseball. Ramirez, Crawford, and Kemp can all really run, while Gonzo will help Kemp and Ramirez provide the pop as well.
The starting rotation is not only really good, but is also extremely deep. Kershaw and Greinke provide a top of the line 1-2 punch, while Beckett and Billingsley are capable of very impressive years. Then, if someone goes down, the Dodgers have reliable veterans like Ted Lilly, Aaron Harang, and Chris Capuano. All of whom had very successful 2012 campaigns and could prove as trade bait if needed.
Fragility and bullpen. While the starting rotation is deep and would be able to overcome an injury to one/both of their injury prone guys such as Beckett and Billingsley, the lineup could be another story. Ellis, Kemp, and Crawford have all had injury problems and the Dodgers are not very deep in the OF (at least, not long term).
Also, while I like Kenley Jansen, I am not a big fan of their bullpen as a whole. League is a middle of the road closer and the rest of their bullpen isn’t very scary. Really their only Left-Handed reliever is J.P. Howell, who has a very unintimidating 4.42 career ERA.
While injuries and the bullpen give me slight hesitation, the starting rotation keeps me believing. The NL west has been all about pitching for a while now, and for the first time since I can remember, I think the Dodgers have the slight edge in that category. Especially considering I don’t think Lincecum will bounce back.
The lineup will stay healthy enough to support the rotation while the Dodgers dethrone the Giants and get back to the postseason.
Follow Cole Stevenson on twitter: @Cole_Stevenson