Our UK fan preview series continues apace with this gem from Martin Downs. Follow Martin on Twitter (@justmart) and feel free to comment below.
The pain is real! October might seem like forever away for most but for the Dodgers faithful, the anguish of a World Series loss to Houston still feels like yesterday. An incredible season where we were arguably the best, then suddenly not far off the worst (a slump that saw us go 1-16) was topped off by our first World Series appearance since 1988. A season that saw Cody Bellinger arrive, hit a ton of home runs (39 to be exact) and then enter the postseason swinging like Chris Carter. It saw a redemption project in Chris Taylor that nobody saw coming (except for maybe Mets fans still stabbing their Justin Turner voodoo dolls). It saw the emergence of Austin Barnes and disappearance of Joc Pederson. It was a season where Clayton Kershaw wasn’t the best pitcher in baseball but was still sublime and Yu Darvish learnt how to tip pitches. But more than anything else, it was a season where every Dodger fan could look back with pride at an incredible effort to win it all (although you wouldn’t believe it judging by #dodger fans over on Twitter).
Comings and Goings
Out – Adrian Gonzalez (1B), Scott Kazmir (SP), Brandon McCarthy (P), Charlie Culberson (INF), Luis Avilan (RP), Trevor Oaks (P), Erick Mejia (SS), Tom Koehler (P), Grant Dayton (P), Yu Darvish (P), Brandon Morrow (P), Tony Watson (P), Josh Ravin (P)
The offseason has been an exciting game of ‘Beat The Luxury Tax’ which cumulated in the return of Matt Kemp! Seriously though, the only interesting part about Kemp’s return is the prospect of him and Puig being sent down to the minors together. The result of which would make a reality tv show that could rival Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
Several players left in the offseason but maybe only Brandon McCarthy will be missed on the field and the hope is Kenta Maeda can pick up the slack. I suspect the front office is banking on winning the division with what got them there last year (minus a few spare parts) and will bolster the starting rotation before the trade deadline with a rental if needs must (see One To Watch). The hope is that Puig’s new found patience at the plate isn’t short-lived, he might not be a clubhouse favourite but when he guns down runners from right field, Dodger Stadium comes to life (well maybe not the seats behind home plate). Management will be hoping for a bounce-back year from Joc Pederson and a healthy Andrew Toles. They’ll hope that Chris Taylor will continue where he left off, I’m still surprised they didn’t try to trade him (since that would be a very Friedman like move) but faith they have. The Diamondbacks are a danger and the Giants have got better but I don’t think either have done quite enough.
So carry on where you left off. We have a huge budget, a very good team and an incredibly smart front office, what could possibly go wrong. In the words of a true great, sit back and relax “it’s time for Dodger baseball”.
*googles zips projections* 93/69 (what? it’s enough, don’t worry)
Clayton Kershaw – back to full health, dishing out death by curveball whilst introducing an unworldly changeup.
One to watch
Walker Buehler – expect the Dodgers to take it easy with their top prospect, post-Tommy John surgery will mean he’s treated with kid gloves but as a potential number 1/2, it’s exciting nonetheless.
Martin Downs – @justmart