Magic Johnson made the rounds at ESPN today, and he took some time out of his day to talk about the Los Angeles Dodgers and various topics surrounding them. Namely, he talked about new manager Dave Roberts, the combination of talent on the roster, the pitching staff, and what he thinks the key to the season happens to be.
While he was doing the interview, Johnson stated that he wished Cy Young Award runner-up Zack Greinke was still with the team and that he “loves Zack”, but he still believes the team can make a run at the World Series.
“You look at Dave [Roberts], and first his baseball knowledge,his communication skills, he’s not too far removed from being a player in MLB. He used to play for the Dodgers, so I think all those things really allow Andrew [Friedman] and the team there with the Dodgers to say, ‘hey, we want Dave as our manager.’ And I think he can relate to the players and motivate them.”
Those are some high praise words for new manager Dave Roberts, and it’s hard to fault Magic Johnson for his optimism.
Johnson then continued with how he views the team and their potential for this upcoming season:
“Right now, we got a veteran team with some blend of nice, young talented guys. We wanted the right manager to be able to put them in a position to win. We feel we have a really good team, we feel we have a chance to go all the way to the World Series.”
The Dodgers definitely do feature an intriguing blend of veterans and youth, which is one of the things most teams these days need in order to be successful. It’s also refreshing to hear that he believes they’ve hired the right manager and that the team has a chance to win it all.
He then talked about the rotation:
“Our team is solid. Clayton [Kershaw] at the top, [Hyun-jin] Ryu, if he can come back strong from his injury as a pitcher, he’s gonna really make our starting pitching staff formidable.”
The starting rotation certainly does not lack depth. It’s stocked full of capable pitchers behind ace Clayton Kershaw, but those guys will have to answer some questions this season. Still, you can see how a healthy Dodgers rotation would be quite “formidable”, as he says.
One major takeaway from all of this, though, is just who Magic Johnson says is the key to the season:
“But the key will be [Yasiel] Puig. If he can perform at the level that we saw a couple years ago I think we’re gonna go to the World Series and have a chance to win it all.”
This seems like a quite honest and fair assessment, in all actuality. Yasiel Puig is the key to the season. If he does revert back to his 2013 or 2014 form, the Dodgers could be downright scary. If they get 2015 Puig, though, then it’s going to be a tough go of it. He is the key. Hard to argue there.