Spring training site: Camelback Ranch, Phoenix, Arizona
Reporting dates: Pitchers and catchers: February 13th.
Position players: February 18th.
2017 Record: 104-58 (Lost World Series)
Pure Sports Network offseason power rankings: No. 2 (1st in NL West)
Projected Batting Order:
- Chris Taylor, LF
- Corey Seager, SS
- Justin Turner, 3B
- Cody Bellinger, 1B
- Yasiel Puig, RF
- Joc Pederson, CF
- Logan Forsythe, 2B
- Yasmani Grandal, C
Projected Pitching Rotation:
- Clayton Kershaw, LHP
- Rich Hill, LHP
- Alex Wood, LHP
- Kenta Maeda, RHP
- Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP
Newcomers: The Dodgers brought back a familiar face in Matt Kemp, who was an All-Star and an MVP for the franchise. However, it is not known how long he will be a member of the Dodgers. They brought the outfielder back from the Braves so they could get Adrian Gonzalez off the roster and could now be seeking to get rid of Kemp by releasing or trading him. The Dodgers also added to their pitching this offseason by bringing in Tom Koehler who played for the Blue Jays. Look for Koehler to be in the conversation for the starting rotation and also the bullpen this spring.
Key decision for spring: The Dodgers are close to a complete team, but the one area they will need to settle is the rotation. Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball, but there are questions behind him. Rich Hill had a solid season in Los Angeles, but he is 37, Alex Wood had a career year, but is it possible for him to repeat that success in 2018, and Kenta Meada is solid, but not great. There will be a battle for the back of the rotation and we can expect Hyun-Jin Ryu and Tom Koehler battling it out, but at some point we could see top prospect Walker Buehler and perhaps the return of Julio Urias from shoulder surgery at some point in 2018.
Move they still need to make: To keep the trend going, the one area the Dodgers could improve in, is their pitching. They traded for Yu Darvish at the deadline, but he is now a free agent and the Dodgers might want to consider bringing him back. He is obviously a great fit behind Clayton Kershaw as a number two starter and there is no need to worry about his 2017 World Series struggles. Another option could be Jake Arrieta. He would be another good fit behind Kershaw and would be a direct hit to the Cubs, who are the Dodgers main competition in the NL.
2018 outlook: The Dodgers should be a World Series favorite once again, but it is hard to imagine them winning 104 games. That is extremely hard to do. However, the only way the Dodgers season should be considered a success in 2018 is if they win the World Series. Yes, I said it, World Series or bust. They are constantly a favorite to win the World Series and it is time to finally get the job done. They can’t keep coming up short. They need to win for the first time since 1988.