Stan Conte, Vice President of Medical Services, quietly took over for the departed Sue Falsone in 2013, and there hasn’t been any major additions to the staff since Falsone moved on from the Dodgers. While some have blamed Falsone for the Dodgers’ myriad of injuries during her tenure, the medical staff as a whole should be held accountable for the injuries which have been so costly in lost player value.
I can only imagine what a difference a healthy Matt Kemp would have made to the team in 2013 if he had not been rushed back so soon from his shoulder injury. The slew of injuries over the past few seasons has been detrimental to the Dodgers’ success. In early 2013, the injuries to their pitching staff spurred the Dodgers to use pitchers we never would have thought they would have to use so early in the season. Similarly, 2015 started off with two big losses to the rotation when Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy ended their seasons to surgery.
The 2013 season was largely defined by injuries for the Dodgers, and 2015 has been shaped by the disabled list as well. Even though the 2013 Dodgers came back to go on that historic winning stretch, if they had been able to curb some of the injuries who knows what could have been.
Hamstrings were strained left and right as Crawford, Kemp and Hanley Ramirez all missed time. A.J. Ellis, Jose Dominguez and Jerry Hairston, Jr. all strained either their oblique, quad or groin. Kemp’s ankle was disintegrated on a lackadaisical slide, and Ramirez got hurt again while diving into the stands in Chicago. Puig’s hip was hurting for parts of 2013 and 2014, and Adrian Gonzalez’s neck was bothering him in 2013 as well.
The Dodgers’ bid to get to the World Series was all but destroyed in 2013 after Andre Ethier couldn’t start due to an ankle injury, and Ramirez’s rib was cracked in Game 1 of the NLCS.
Fangraphs.com also had some eye opening disabled list data compiled. From 2010-2013, the Dodgers lost the fourth most days to the DL in the Majors behind the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and San Diego Padres.
The Dodgers have been able to overcome the myriad of injuries this season thanks to their organizational depth and high payroll, but the key players will need to get healthy come October in order to contend with the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals in the postseason. As important as it is to assemble a talented roster, it is even more imperative to keep the talent healthy and on the field.