The Dodgers have solidified a championship caliber team, but are fans ready for the worst case scenario?
Acquisitions of Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez excited Dodger fans a season ago. These of course were the first signs of Guggenheim Baseball Management’s eventual plan to improve the Dodgers into a World Series contender.
Over the last week, the ownership group signed Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu, shelling out a fortune to Greinke to bring him to the Dodgers.
Greinke was quoted as telling the Los Angeles Times:
“I don’t want to make his head too big, but I thought Stan Kasten was like the smartest guy I’ve ever talked to,”
That’s comforting for the top free agent to say about the president of the Dodgers and part-owner of the Dodgers. But, he did just get paid by him too.
But what if things go bad for this nucleus of superstars?
A.J. Ellis disappears again
Many fans have gotten behind Ellis, but, why? Sure the catcher hit 13 home runs and demonstrated a stroke of power that surprised many. But after hitting .285/.404/.425 in the first half of 2012, he hit just .252/.336/.401 in the second half, letting the Dodgers down when he was needed most.
A batting average of .218 during Sept. and Oct. will almost never provide any kind of help for any team.
Ellis hit a career-worst .270 in a season where fans were aggressively campaigning for an All-Star bid.
If Ellis plans on teasing fans with another stellar first half, the least he can do is finish it. He has a stellar lineup of teammates ready to back him up.
The Dodgers core can’t establish chemistry
There is little doubt that the Dodgers have added the power that had been missing since the NLCS years of 2008 and 2009.
But has anybody considered that maybe Matt Kemp could continue this season where he left off in the last one — hitting a lackluster .245 down the stretch.
What are trade rumors going to do to Andre Ethier?
He’s Kemp’s protection. The Dodgers cannot afford for him to tank because he simply isn’t feeling it. He still hit only .261 against lefties in 2012, which is still above his career average of .253 against southpaws.
Then there is Adrian Gonzalez, whose lack of production was blamed on him trying too hard to make something happen.
How about Hanley Ramirez?
Who didn’t notice that his drop in production after Gonzalez and company arrived from Boston?
Hitting .268 with 2 home runs and 10 RBIs certainly didn’t help his cause toward establishing himself as the superstar many know him to be.
Is this all a big catastrophe waiting to happen?
The pitchers implode
Yes the Dodgers are the team that owns the enviable 1-2 punch of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. They are anxiously awaiting to see what will become of Hyun-Jin Ryu, who will bump former aces Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley to the back end of the rotation.
Clayton Kershaw nearly won a second consecutive Cy Young Award in 2012, and probably should have been honored with it, but despite a 2.53 ERA, he wasn’t going to win it with a record of 14-9.
Granted he has a better offense awaiting him in 2013, it doesn’t mean that they will click. Kershaw could be doomed again; shutting teams down, but not getting adequate run support.
Mr. Greinke could suffer the same fate.
Ryu could be a bust, channeling his inner Jae Weong Seo, and not Chan Ho Park like he’d like to.
Beckett could revert to the disastrous pitcher that posted a 5.23 ERA in Boston, as opposed to a 2.93 ERA in Los Angeles.
Then there’s Chad Billingsley’s elbow.
Sure he avoided Tommy John surgery, and yes, he has pitched pain free; but is this all a recipe for disaster?
Should Billingsley go down the Dodgers would find themselves handing the fifth starter position to Ted Lilly or Aaron Harang, assuming Chris Capuano gets dealt.
No team is perfect. The Dodgers have had time to mesh over the last two months of the 2012 season, and it will pay dividends in 2013.
It’s easy to say that everything is going to click, but, remember that the Giants won’t go down easily. The Padres will be ready to start countering the moves of the Dodgers, which will only improve that team that much more. The Diamondbacks and Rockies remain questionable, but, will return with a healthy squad that will assuredly be circling the Dodgers on the schedule.
Now is a great time to point out that it’s going to be a bumpy ride along the way.
That said, prepare for the worst, but certainly expect the best because these Dodgers are prepared to achieve it.
After all, not everything can go bad. Right?