With the calendar turning to 2014, the start of the Los Angeles Dodgers season feels like it’s around the corner. Pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch on February 8 with the first full team workout scheduled for February 14.
While most of the heavy lifting looks to be done in the off-season, there’s still a chance a major move is made in the form of a Masahiro Tanaka signing, David Price trade or the trade of an outfielder. However, with the roster seemingly set, here’s a list of New Year’s resolutions for several key pieces to the 2014 team.
Resolution: To stay healthy.
Simply put, Kemp needs to get back on the field and contribute. 2013 was filled with “what-ifs” as he looked to be over his ankle injury late in the season before being shut down for playoffs in late September. His twice surgically repaired shoulder is reportedly back to normal as he’ll be counted on to provide power in the middle of the Dodgers lineup.
Resolution: To not get comfortable with his success in Dodger Blue
Acquired last summer from the Miami Marlins, Ramirez looked like the player that won the NL batting title back in 2009. While he too battled injuries, he hit .345 with 20 home runs and 57 RBI and seemed to fall in love with LA and Dodger fans. With his contract expiring after this season, there have been talks of an extension this winter. Let’s hope he doesn’t revert back to “Old Hanley” once he gets paid.
Resolution: Don’t make Ned Colletti look foolish twice
Colletti signed Uribe to a three-year deal after the 2010 season to a three-year, $21 million contract after winning the World Series with the Giants. He proceeded to barely hit his weight during the first two years of his contract. In 2013, Uribe redeemed himself hitting .278 with 12 home runs and 50 RBI, playing Gold Glove caliber defense.
His play netted him a multi-year deal for 2014-15 and Dodger fans are hopeful he doesn’t stop producing after his successful 2013 campaign.
Resolution: Take your postseason play into the season
Crawford fought leg and hamstring injuries during the season, but showed he was 100 percent healthy with his four home runs in 10 games during the NLDS and NLCS. He also hit .310 in the playoffs as he’s the catalyst for the Dodgers offense out of the lead off spot. While he isn’t counted on for his power, continuing his play from the postseason will make the Dodgers that much more dangerous.
Resolution: Stop scaring Dodger fans with talk he wants to test free agency
Along with Ramirez, the Dodgers need to lock-up Kershaw to a long-term extension. The winner of his second Cy Young in three years, Kershaw reportedly had two different discussions with the Dodgers about an extension. However, the 25-year-old said he’s curious about testing free agency and will likely have the opportunity to do so, scaring Dodger fans everywhere.
Resolution: Continue to prove everyone wrong
For some reason, many believe Brian Wilson, not Jansen, should be closing games for the Dodgers in 2014. After Brandon League imploded as the closer, Jansen took over and never looked back. In 75 appearances, Jansen had 28 saves in 32 chances with a K/BB rate of 6.17, but with the Dodgers continuing to stockpile former closers, the doubters are coming out.
Resolution: Don’t try and do too much
Puig’s off-season has been a tale of two extremes: doing great things in the community and now that’s been clouded by his recent reckless driving arrest. Still, the 23-year-old will be counted on to have another incredible season as a follow-up to his 2013 campaign. Often criticized for overthrowing cut off men and taking risks on the base paths, Puig needs to realize he doesn’t have to try so hard and let the game come to him.
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