The Los Angeles Dodgers entered the 2014 with high expectations as they returned a team full of the same players that led them to an NL West title in 2013 and trip to the National League Championship Series.
As they did in 2013, the Dodgers fell behind in the division standings before climbing to the top and winning the division. However, the Dodgers were again unable to get past the St. Louis Cardinals and were eliminated from the NL Division Series in four games.
Compounding matters, the Dodgers then had to watch their archrival San Francisco Giants win a third World Series in five years. With a revamped front office, the Dodgers’ World Series expectations and aspirations remain.
The hires of Andrew Friedman as president of baseball operations and Farhan Zaidi as general manager, signals a shift towards more heavily incorporating the use of analytics; both Friedman and Zaidi maintained multiple methods will be used in the decision-making process.
For Zaidi, that will include studying the Giants’ recent success, according to ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
I think any time a team has that kind of success, you really have to study them hard and see what lessons there are to learn,” said Zaidi, who was introduced as the team’s new GM on Friday at Dodger Stadium. “I’m sure that’s something we’ll look at. It’s a fair question. I don’t think you can win three World Series in five years just by being lucky. I think that’s maybe stating the obvious.”
Zaidi will of course be studying from a further distance as he’s no longer across the bay from the Giants, which was the case for the last 10 years during his time with the Oakland Athletics. This also marks the first time Zaidi holds the lead role in a Major-League front office.
Prior to focusing on what can be learned from the Giants, Zaidi must fill the needs on Dodgers’ the roster, which may soon include shortstop as Hanley Ramirez rejected the team’s qualifying offer on Monday.