The Los Angeles Dodgers won 94 games last season and once more came from behind to win the National League West division, only to have their postseason run cut short by the St. Louis Cardinals for a second-consecutive year.
For a team with a payroll in excess of $250 million, the results weren’t satisfactory and it set off a series of changes ranging from the front office to the roster. Come Opening Day of the 2015 season, the Dodgers figure to have a new starting second baseman, shortstop, center fielder and technically, right fielder than what they ended last season with.
Despite the changes, the Dodgers are a heavy favorite to win the NL West and among the favorites to reach and win the World Series. When asked Tuesday about the expectations, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly welcomed them.
“I think we know we’ve got a good club,” Mattingly said. “We also know we’re in a rough division, obviously with the World Champions; other teams that are making big moves. We’ve been dealing with expectations I feel like for the last couple of years and I think we look at it like it’s a good thing.”
Mattingly went on to say the expectations can be a positive due to what it implies. “At least people think you’ve got a good club and you’ve got a chance,” he said. “I don’t think we really back away from the expectations. I think we expect to be good and honestly, if we really play the way we’re capable of, we feel like we’ve got as good of shot as anybody to win the division.”
Throughout Spring Training Mattingly has maintained the Dodgers are still built on strong pitching, which is something that could work heavily in their favor or backfire. Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson are more than capable fourth and fifth starters in a rotation, respectively, but whether they can remain healthy has been an on-going question for both.
Nearly three weeks into camp, health hasn’t been much of a serious issue for the Dodgers — outside of Kenley Jansen undergoing surgery on his left foot days before pitchers and catchers reported.
Brandon McCarthy Discusses First Start Of Spring Training