What a difference a year makes. In a calendar year, the Los Angeles Dodgers went from a team with a reviled owner and a limited payroll to becoming on paper the team to beat in the National League. Once the new ownership group headed by Magic Johnson took over the reins at Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers front office has gone shopping. And this holiday season in Los Angeles, Christmas has come early.
Over the weekend, the Dodgers signed former Anaheim Angel Zack Greinke to a six year, $147 million contract and also signed highly sought after South Korean left hander Ryu Hyun-jin to a $36 million deal. This adds two more starting pitchers making an eight man rotation headed by Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw. These moves, along with the mid season acquisitions of Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett, the Dodgers are looking to build on what they have for not only a championship this next season but perhaps a dynasty for years to come. However, there are some concerns.
Left fielder Carl Crawford is still recovering from an injury and won’t be in the lineup until August. LA also has three different players who can play shortstop or third base and there are no clear cut starters for the 2013 season. Adding into the equation Cuban defector Yasiel Puig, it could make for a crowded outfield as well. There is also a question of team chemistry. It’s one thing to look great on paper. It’s an entirely different matter to play nine innings night in and night out for six months and win games. The Dodgers will have a payroll weighing in at a Yankee-like $230 million this next season so anything less than a championship might be looked at as a failure.
What do you think of these high profile moves? Do you think the team can win this next season? Will the pressure to win be a factor in their success or failure?
Bill Shaikin, Sports columnist at the Los Angeles Times