The Los Angeles Dodgers won 94 games in 2014 and again came from behind in the standings to win the National League West for the second-straight year. However, also for the second consecutive season, they were bounced out of the postseason by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Looking to change that in 2015, Dodgers president Stan Kasten hired former Tampa Bay Rays general manager Andrew Friedman as the new president of baseball operations. Since taking over, Friedman and his new front office with Farhan Zaidi as general manager, have made a plethora of moves.
ESPN’s Jim Bowden graded those offseason moves, ranking the Dodgers 11th out of 30 teams and giving them a “B” letter grade in his annual offseason report card:
11. Los Angeles Dodgers
Key additions: Jimmy Rollins, Howie Kendrick, Yasmani Grandal, Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson, Chris Hatcher, Joel Peralta, Juan Nicasio, Joe Wieland
The Dodgers’ new front office remade a team that won 94 games in 2014 and turned it right back into another 94-win team, albeit one that will win in a different way. The Dodgers have improved their defense significantly up the middle with their trades for Rollins and Kendrick and found their long-term solution at catcher in Grandal. They’ve attempted to improve the back of their rotation with McCarthy and Anderson and their bullpen with Hatcher and Peralta. However, they will miss the bats of departed sluggers Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez.
As Bowden notes, the additions of Howie Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins will greatly improve a defense that committed 107 errors last season, which was fifth-most in MLB. That being said, the Dodgers will need to replace the production lost at the plate in the form of Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez.
Kemp had a tremendous second half, seemingly once he got healthy and finished the year batting .287 with 25 home runs and 89 RBIs. Although it was considered a down season, Ramirez still hit .283/.369/.448 with 13 home runs and 71 RBIs.
Dodgers’ pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training Thursday, and among the new faces that will be there are Brett Anderson, Chris Hatcher, Brandon McCarthy and Joel Peralta.
Friedman emphasized wanting more strikeouts and less walks out of the remade bullpen. Hatcher and Peralta both had strikeout to walk ratios of around 5.0 last season, compared to the Dodger bullpen, which as a team that ranked 24th in the league with a ratio of 2.25.
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