With the front office additions of Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been anything but quiet this offseason. The roster has undergone a considerable amount of changes, namely in the bullpen and the departures of Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp. Nonetheless, the Dodger offense looks promising.
Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire is particularly excited about new additions to the lineup, most notably in regards to Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick. In an interview on SportsNet LA, McGwire expressed his enthusiasm regarding the Dodgers’ new second baseman and shortstop, and shared what he believes were the offense’s shortcomings last season:
I really like Kendrick and Rollins up the middle. They’re really, really good line drive, contact hitters. You know, even though we were second in the league in runs scored, we probably left a couple hundred out there because I thought we had a little too much swing and miss. Now, I think Andrew and his crew have been getting more contact guys who will put the ball in play.”
Together, the two veterans bring heaps of experience to the plate. Although he can’t compete with Dee Gordon’s speed, Kendrick provides an offensive consistency that Gordon just simply did not have — more so in the second half of last season. The former Angel has hit above .279 in every one of his nine seasons in the Majors and was recently ranked a top-10 second baseman by MLB Network.
Rollins may not be coming off his most impressive season to date, but the 36 year old is looking to rekindle the fire in his new home. The former NL MVP certainly upgrades the Dodgers’ defense at shortstop and he hopefully will have a bounce-back season at the plate under McGwire’s tutelage.
McGwire also has youngster Joc Pederson on his radar. Although he has not spent much time one-on-one with the 22 year old, the Dodgers’ hitting coach recognizes Pederson’s talent and is certain the center fielder will one day rise to stardom.
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