The Los Angeles Dodgers have won the National League West two straight seasons, but they have also been defeated by the St. Louis Cardinals in the playoffs in two straight seasons.
For Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten, those results were not good enough. So he hired a brand new front office, led by former Tampa Bay Rays general manager and new president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, to retool the team to reach and hopefully win the 2015 World Series.
Some of the moves made by Friedman and company include not re-signing Hanley Ramirez, and trading fan favorites like Matt Kemp and Dee Gordon, and replacing them with veterans Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick, as well as acquiring catcher Yasmani Grandal.
In an interview with MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, manager Don Mattingly believes the offseason moves will make the Dodgers more of a team, as well as take pressure off of Yasiel Puig:
I think we have more of a team. You talk about bringing in Jimmy and Howie, two solid players and solid guys in the clubhouse. Both guys have credentials playing on the field, and they come from organizations that have played in the playoffs. That’s the key. You talk about Yasiel being a big bat, for sure, but Howie’s a solid 75-80-RBI guy. Jimmy gives you the switch-hiitter, [Yasmani] Grandal the same. That gives you versatility within the lineup. I think it’s going to be a deep lineup; get down to seven and eight and they still put a little fear in you.”
Rollins figures to bat lead off, and while the rest of the lineup is still uncertain, Mattingly said that he wants to keep Puig and Adrian Gonzalez paired together, whether it be in the second and third slots or third and fourth.
The bottom of the order looks to be improved as well, with Grandal, veteran third baseman Juan Uribe and centerfield prospect Joc Pederson likely to anchor the Dodgers lineup.
The Dodgers led all Major League teams with 47 home runs and ranked fourth with a .285 team average this spring.
Dodgers 2015 Spring Training – Yasmani Grandal