The left-handed slugger is coming off a season in which he won the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove at his position, and led the league in RBIs. Gonzalez will have new infielders throwing to him this season, as Juan Uribe is the only returning starter in the infield. Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi remade the team this winter in an effort to get the Dodgers over the playoff hump.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times, the 32-year-old approved of the moves made by the new front office:
I think we’re deeper, so I don’t think we’re going to be so dependent on the middle of the order,” Gonzalez said Monday at Garfield High in East Los Angeles, where he worked with the school’s baseball and softball teams as part of the Dodgers’ week-long community caravan.
With the losses of Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez, the lineup will have a new dynamic that Gonzalez isn’t worried about:
They’re going to battle every at-bat,” Gonzalez said. “They’re going to be prepared. I’m not saying that we didn’t before, but I think the guys that we got are guys that are going to be tougher to game-plan for. From that end, it will be a deeper lineup.”
The Dodgers have won the NL West the past two seasons, but have fallen to the St. Louis Cardinals twice in the postseason. Former general manager Ned Colletti built those division champion teams, but it was not enough to keep him around. The new front office has taken a different approach to roster construction and 2015 will be the first test for their ideas.
One thing that is for sure is that the Dodgers will be able to count on Gonzalez to provide the same, consistent effort that they have seen since acquiring him in 2012.