Found January 17, 2013 on
They blamed it all on “jelling.”
The Dodgers embarked upon a flurry of high profile trades in July and August only to fall out of the division race by mid-September and, ultimately, the wild card chase in game 161. The prevailing theory was that the hastily-put-together improved team, that included stars like Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez, just didn’t have time to “jell” together.
The expectations for 2013 are that once this team goes through a spring training together, they will be as talented and cohesive as anyone else in the National League, let alone all of baseball. The Dodgers do indeed look great on paper. The question is how they’ll look on the field come spring training.
Will the opening day outfield match the projections?
Details on Carl Crawford’s recovery from the Tommy John surgery he underwent last summer have been hard to come by.
The health of outfielders Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford is closer to a secret than it is a known commodity. Kemp is coming off end-of-season surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder. The operating surgeon scared everyone when he said the damage, which included a torn labrum, was pretty extensive. There is a possibility Kemp’s swing, at least in the early going, may lack the speed and power Dodgers fans are used to seeing.
Crawford is healing up from elbow surgery and a nagging wrist injury. He is working out with nary a word on how his rehab is progressing. Some say he will be ready opening day while physicians familiar with elbow reconstruction have said May is a better time frame to expect a full recovery.
The winter meetings resulted in rumors that the Dodgers put right-fielder Andre Ethier out there as trade bait. The Dodgers were looking for an “impact” second or third baseman and bullpen help. The signing of relief pitcher J.P.Howell and infielder Skip Schumaker have quelled those rumors for now.
If Ethier was traded, who would fill his shoes? The Dodgers may experiment with moving one-time-shortstop-of-the-future, Dee Gordon, to the outfield. He is fast but his unproven bat paints him as nothing more than a defensive replacement for now. And lest we not forget the Dodgers invested $42 million in Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig. Again, the public statement is that Puig will need another year of minor league seasoning but an Ethier-less outfield might see him being called up sooner rather than later.
How will the logjam on the mound break down?
The starting rotation is set…or so we think.
Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke will be #1 and #2. After that, things get a little trickier. The assumption is Chad Billingsley will be healthy and could fill the number three slot followed by Josh Beckett and Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers still have Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang, and Ted Lilly to deal with. For now, that trio from last season appears headed for long-relief duties unless Billingsley’s elbow flares up again and Ryu can’t make a quick transition from Korean hitters to Major League hitters. The Dodgers have been looking to trade Capuano but can’t seem to find any takers.
What will life at the top look like?
Crawford recently shot down rumors that he didn’t like batting lead-off. He says he will do what is asked of him which probably translates to “the rumors are true.” The number 2 hitter, by default, looks to be second baseman Mark Ellis. It is no surprise to hear GM Ned Colletti is expecting more from that slot in 2013. Ellis batted .251 after the All-Star break, 20 points lower than before the break, and just .182 with runners in scoring position. Ellis did suffer a serious ankle injury last June which may have contributed to the 2nd half drop-off.
Are the Dodgers between a hot corner and a hard plate?
The past has met the present, at least when it comes to third base and catcher for the Dodgers. Catcher A.J. Ellis and infielder Luis Cruz had spent a combined 21 seasons in the minor leagues prior to being given their chance in “The Show” last year. They did good enough to be announced as starters for 2013 but the question is can they stay up top permanently?
Don Mattingly begins his third season as Dodgers manager with a ton of expectations.
Ellis had bounced up and down between the majors and minors for nine years before being handed the starting catching slot last year. He took advantage of the opportunity by batting .270 with 13 home runs in 133 games. The Dodgers were hoping to add another AJ, Pierzynski that is, behind the plate, but lost out to the Texas Rangers. That means prospect Tim Federowicz will open spring training as the back-up. If he is not ready, look for the Dodgers to sign any veteran available.
Cruz, who before last season had played in just 56 major league games over an 11 year baseball career, batted .297 with 40 RBI in 78 games. He earned the right to open spring training as the starting third baseman by finishing 2012 with 25 hits in his final 20 games. Cruz was a big reason the Dodgers remained in the wild card hunt until game #161. Still, some are wondering if he is the one who can finally stop the revolving door known as third base. More than two dozen different players have filled in at third base since MVP candidate Adrian Beltre left in 2004.
Is this Mattingly’s make-or-break year?
Although manager Don Mattingly has somehow guided the Dodgers to two straight winning seasons with the ownership turmoil swirling all around him, the naysayers are wondering if this third year has to be the charm… or else.
The Dodgers look like contenders for the NL West title but they will certainly be battle-tested in their division. Not only do they have the defending World Series champion Giants to deal with but suddenly the San Diego Padres are generating buzz given their 42-33 record after the All-Star break.
The new Dodgers owners are expecting big things this year and Mattingly may be under the gun for the first time since joining the team as batting coach in 2008.
BEST OF MAXIM
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp recently paid tribute to his grandparents by getting a large tattoo of them inked into his chest.
The Dodgers who have a payroll of at least $213mm, are set to open the season with Hanley Ramirez at shorstop and Luis Cruz at third. Ramirez provides great pop for a shortstop but questionable defense, while Cruz provides just the opposite. But besides Ramirez and Cruz, the next Dodger option at third base is Juan Uribe who may be playing softball very soon as rumors have surfaced...
Ronald Belisario & A.J. Ellis have agreed to terms with the Dodgers, thus avoiding arbitration, report Ken Gurnick of MLB.com and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Ronald Belisario’s contract is for one-year and $1.45 million, while A.J. Ellis signed on a one-year, $2 million contract. Assuming he can stay clear of trouble, Belisario figures to be a key component of the back-end of...
The Dodgers have signed former Braves righty reliever Peter Moylan and former Nationals backstop Jesus Flores to minor-league deals with invitations to Spring Training.
Flores has shown enough flashes that he could feasibly challenge for the backup job should Tim Federowicz falter, though he’s almost certainly going to spend the majority of the season in Albuquerque. Moylan figures...
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ new Vice President of International Scouting, Bob Engle, hasn’t wasted any time in his new role and has just signed four seventeen year old players out of the Dominican Republic.
This move further illustrates the Dodgers’ renewed focus on developing international prospects.
The newly acquired players are Deivy Castillo from Santo Domingo, Ravel Hernandez...
Nations announced their preliminary rosters for the World Baseball Classic which is to be held this year before the start of the Major League Baseball season.
Six players on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ roster were chosen to play in the World Baseball Classic. Adrian Gonzalez and Luis “Cochito” Cruz will represent Mexico; Hanley Ramirez is slated to play third base for the Dominican...
LOS ANGELES Major League Baseball today announced the six provisional rosters for participating Baseball Federations in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Six Dodgers are among the events provisional participants Ronald Belisario (Venezuela), Luis Cruz (Mexico), Adrian Gonzalez (Mexico), Hanley Ramirez (Dominican Republic), Nick Punto (Italy) and Paco Rodriguez (Spain). Additionally...
The Los Angeles Dodgers have some notable absences from the provisional World Baseball Classic rosters announced Jan. 17. Left-hander Clayton Kershaw, bothered by a hip problem late last season, and right-hander Zack Greinke are not on Team USA. Left-hander Hyun-jin Ryu is not pitching for Korea (he did in the 2009 WBC), and right-hander Kenley Jansen, recovering from a surgical...
Los Angeles Dodgers superstar outfielder Matt Kemp recently had some very meaningful ink injected into his chest. To honor his late grandfather and grandmother, Kemp had a sizable portrait tattooed on the left side of his chest, and the quality of the tattoo, done by artist Jun Cha, is incredibly high quality.
To announce the new ink, Kemp tweeted the following on Sunday with the...
The Los Angeles Dodgers have avoided arbitration with catcher A.J. Ellis and right-handed reliever Ronald Belisario, agreeing to one-year deals with both players.
Ellis will make $2 million and Belisario will get $1,450,000 in the deals reached Friday.
Ellis batted .270 with 13 homers and 52 RBIs in his first season as a regular with the Dodgers, playing in 133 games. He made ...
Carl Crawford is often the forgotten piece of the blockbuster trade last season between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers. This is largely due to the fact that he was injured and has yet to make his on-field debut for the Dodgers. Los Angeles expects Crawford to be recovered and ready to make that debut on Opening Day, though.
According to Mark Saxson of ESPN...
Tweet Tattoos are becoming about as common among professional athletes as ever. These days you’ll be more hard-pressed to find one without a tattoo than you would ones with tattoos. Los Angeles Dodgers star outfielder Matt Kemp is no different, and recently got a humongous tattoo of his grandparents’ likeness on his chest: Not bad at all. [...]
According to Larry Brown Sports the artwork was done by a tattoo artist named @JunCha.
Jun Cha is about to become very famous individual this is outstanding work, much better than the Patriots Fan who got this tattoo.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have signed catcher Jesus Flores to a minor-league deal with an invite to Spring Training, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports.
Last season with the Nationals, Flores hit .213/.248/.329 with six home runs and 26 RBIs in 83 games.
Over his five year career, Flores is a .241/.289/.375 hitter with 23 home runs and 127 RBIs in five major league seasons...