Matt Kemp, Dee Gordon and Hanley Ramirez are gone, and Ned Colletti is no longer the general manager. In their place are Jimmy Rollins, Howie Kendrick, Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi. After two NL West titles that were followed by early exits in the postseason, Dodgers’ president Stan Kasten felt like a change was necessary.
In an interview with Jim Hill for CBS, Kasten expressed his thoughts on the overhaul:
I think our locker room is going to be a good one,” Kasten noted. “Maybe better than last year. None of it’s going to matter if we don’t win on the field, but I think we’ll be better both in the locker room and on the field.”
That’s not to say that the locker room had any specific issues, but with the amount of egos that were on the 2014 team, it would be difficult to keep them all happy. The outfielders had issues all season long, as manager Don Mattingly tried to manage playing time and egos. Kemp took issue when moved from center field, while Carl Crawford was afraid that an injury would cost him his starting spot. Ramirez dealt with a myriad of injuries that made it difficult to know when he was on the field.
While the team seemed to be a cohesive unit, there was not a set leader that could settle down the team when necessary. Insert Rollins, a World Series champion that spent his entire career with the Philadelphia Phillies, who will become the de-facto leader of the Dodgers. One less outfielder will alleviate some of Mattingly’s tough decisions, although there is still at least one outfielder too many.
It will be interesting to see if this new emphasis on team and leadership will finally put the Dodgers over the hump.