Unlike Mariah Carey’s song “All I want for Christmas is You,” you may want a little something more for Christmas from your favorite baseball team.
‘Tis the Season, so here is our Christmas List addressed to the Los Angeles Dodgers (aka Santa Claus) for the 2016 season and beyond. So long as we remain on Santa’s nice list, here is what we are hoping for.
- Healthy starting rotation
The offseason has been far from a smooth ride in Santa’s Sleigh. The Aroldis Chapman trade fell through after hearing of an alleged domestic violence incident with his girlfriend. The Dodgers then backed away from signing Hisashi Iwakuma because he failed his physical exam. However, in hindsight, likely both of these non-moves were a blessing even though Chapman’s arm would have been a great plus to the bullpen.
What the Dodgers missed last year was a healthy starting rotation beyond Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke. It has yet to be seen whether the Dodgers will utilize their current starters or promote from the minors — probably both.
Either way, there is tremendous promise and heartache in the wait and see approached. It is admirable the amount of poise and discipline the front office has displayed this offseason. It is easy to spend money, harder to say no.
- Healthy and superior outfield
Here, again, the Dodgers struggled to stay healthy (except for Joc Pederson). A full, healthy, and productive season from Yasiel Puig without the off-the field distractions will be a major boost to the Dodgers defense in the outfield and offense at the plate. It is looking like Pederson will be in center field, Puig in right field, and a committee of left fielders starting with Andre Ethier, followed by Carl Crawford, Scott Van Slyke, and Trayce Thompson on the depth chart. Hopefully, the snow on the windshield clears by the time Spring Training and the regular season starts. Whether that is via a trade or trades, having a solid outfield would be terrific.
- Youth movement from the minors to the majors
This is truly a very exciting time for the Dodgers organization and its fans. Remember when the Dodgers had a string of Rookie of the Year winners in the 1990s? From 1992-1996, for five straight years, the Dodgers had a Rookie of the Year winner. In every decade from 1940-1990, the Dodgers had at least one Rookie of the Year winner.
For the National League, the award was invented in 1949, and guess who won? A Dodger, Don Newcombe. Remember when the Dodgers won six World Series between 1955 and 1988? The Dodgers won those championships with a great farm system and player development. It is no surprise that the Dodgers have invested heavily in developing talent and signing international talent with the hope of winning the World Series again.
Guess what decade the Dodgers have not won a Rookie of the Year award? The 2000’s, and now into the year 2015. Guess what the Dodgers have done more of since 1996 (the last year the franchise won a Rookie of the Year award)? Sign expensive free agents. Several contracts of which made Santa’s Naughty List.
All we can hope for is that the investment in farm talent pays dividends on the field. Please, no coal in our stockings this year.
- A good trade or two
Common sense and history tells us that the Dodgers need another starting pitcher or two because of injuries and dependability. A trade for a front-line starter without giving up the farm, pun intended, would be ideal. Will it happen? Time will tell.
It is a tough position for the Dodgers because their farm system talent is well known. Teams know what the Dodgers have. There is no hiding it. Moreover, the Arizona Diamondbacks overpaid for starting pitcher Shelby Miller this offseason so we can only imagine a higher price of talent for major-league-ready players. Nonetheless, a Christmas Miracle would be wonderful.
- Successful first season and many more for Manager Dave Roberts and his coaching staff
The Dodgers have invested heavily in wisdom on the bench and in the front office. Leadership and accountability will be themes for the entire year just based on the personalities in the clubhouse. Let us hope that by the end of 2016 Manager Dave Roberts will make Santa’s Nice List and is one of many great seasons to come for him and his coaches.
- Great first season by newly hired announcer Joe Davis
27 year-old Joe Davis was hired by the Dodgers as another play-by-play announcer and color commentator for 2016. His play-by-play reel is impressive. Vin Scully was about the same age when the Dodgers hired him. No comparisons yet, but we can hope for another 60 years of a great all-time announcer. If this happens, then we can all have a Merry Little Christmas. It is no surprise that the Los Angeles Dodgers are considered one of the best organizations in sports. It is because the Dodgers invest in talent from top to bottom, from the field to the front office, and from the bench to the booth.
- One last great and healthy season from Vin Scully in the broadcast booth
Wishing you Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!