With the new year finally here, the Los Angeles Dodgers have just over a month before heading to Camelback Ranch to begin workouts for the 2014 season. The team could have a few moves left but are essentially ready for 2014.
Let’s take a look at what was trending up and down this week with the Dodgers:
The 86-year-old Dodger broadcaster was seen making the rounds this week in anticipation of his job as grand marshal of the Rose Parade. He led the parade in the backseat of a car and was the center of attention at the 125th parade. Scully also flipped the coin before the 100th Rose Bowl between Michigan State and Stanford.
Scully is ready to return for his 65th season with the team and even took time to discuss the upcoming team, saying that they should be very competitive this season. He mentioned the fact that last year’s Dodger team was essentially one pitch away from the World Series last year, believing that the pitch that broke Hanley Ramirez’s ribs was fateful.
Some believe that this could be Scully’s last year in the booth for the Dodgers and it would be fitting if the team could end it with a championship.
The Los Angeles Dodgers
The team was featured all week long in ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney’s lists for the 2014 season. He ranked the Dodgers as the second-best team in baseball, behind the Detroit Tigers and had them in the top-5 for two pitching categories. Olney ranked the Dodger rotation as the second-best and the bullpen as the fifth-best. The rotation could move up if the Dodgers sign Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.
Olney also put the Dodgers and Don Mattingly as the sixth-best storyline of 2014 and mentioned the Dodgers’ contract situations with Clayton Kershaw and Ramirez in another category. The team could take the off-season trophy if they’re able to lockup their superstar starting pitcher and shortstop.
The Dodgers have built some strong hype heading into 2014 and will need to live up to it and deliver.
The speedy Dodger infielder spent the first part of the Winter League in the Dominican Republic with the Tigres de Licey. He left the team for health reasons, after having a solid showing and working on his outfield defense. Gordon has now caught on with the Indio de Mayaguez in the Puerto Rican Winter League.
Gordon had a strong week, including a 5-5 game with a run score. He finished the week hitting .471 with two RBI and two runs scored. The 25-year-old has a high chance of making the club this spring after the departures of Skip Schumaker, Nick Punto and Jerry Hairston, Jr. and will need to continue getting work this winter.
Gordon has increased his versatility by learning the outfield and will have to show the team his value this spring.
Despite winning the Daily News Sportsman of the Year for 2013, Puig is trending down this week because of his arrest in South Florida for reckless driving. He was caught going a reported 110 MPH in a 70 MPH zone on a highway and was released on $500 bond. However, he could face a hefty fine or potential jail time.
It was the second time that Puig was arrested for reckless driving since April and caused the Dodgers to release a statement on behalf of the organization. The Dodgers assigned Puig a full-time companion upon his arrival to the Dodgers last season, but he was reportedly let go after a contract dispute. Tim Bravo said that he continues to worry about Puig every day, which should prompt the team to make a move.
Puig will have to monitor his behavior if he plans to remain a key part of the Dodgers in the future.
Speculation continues to grow that one of the Dodgers’ four outfielders will be dealt before the season begins. It’s believed that either Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier could be the ones moved in a trade that could net the Dodgers a middle infielder or prospects to fill the farm system. Ethier has long looked like the man on the way out but he has managed to hang on this long.
Some say that a healthy Kemp could prompt teams to up their offer for the 29-year-old center fielder, or that it would free the Dodgers to send Ethier out. The quartet spent just two games together on the active roster last season, giving the team reason to keep them all.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens once spring is here.
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