Sunday, March 19

Los Angeles Dodgers: String, Duct Tape, and a Little Bit of Hope

Head back to the home discussion

Starting Pitching:

Question marks abound here. If everyone can stay healthy, this rotation is actually deeper than San Fran's, even if the upper echelon of talent isn't quite there. Unlike the Giants, these guys are all proven (with a couple of pseudo-exceptions that I'll get into later). Derek Lowe steps in as the ace of the staff again this year - as aces go, he's probably somewhere slightly below average, in truth. However, pitching in Chavez Ravine can only mean good things for him, so he'll look better than you'd think at first glance.

However, the exciting glare of POTENTIAL comes from the 2nd and 3rd spots. If only Brad Penny and Odalis Perez (former Expo!) can stay healthy, who knows what the possibilities are? Both are certainly talented, but injury-prone is a nice way of saying "broken". I figure that combined they'll put up about 300-350 innings from the 2 and 3 slot, which should be good, winnable innings for the Dodgers. Anything above that is gravy. The biggest problem with that is that Human Firestick D.J. Houlton would move into the #5 role if/when that happens.

Speaking of human firesticks, Brett Tomko's back! The man scares me - I don't know why, but possibly the 4.52 ERA screams bad idea to me. Hopefully he'll make the transition from actively destructive to innings-eater this year. That'd be good news for the Dodgers, and anything below a 4.30 ERA should be viewed as happy times.

That brings us to Jae Seo - quietly one of the Mets' bright spots last year. He was the guy not named Aaron Heilman that was kicking ass and taking names last year. Fun times for all. In the 5 spot, with hopefully about half his starts in that ballpark, he should flourish. Seriously. Watch out. Good stuff on the horizon for this guy.

Rough Rotation Guess:
Ace: Derek Lowe
2nd: Brad Penny
3rd: Odalis Perez
4th: Brett Tomko
5th: Jae Seo

More information:
Brad Penny
Odalis Perez

Closer / Bullpen:

Eric Gagne's back - maybe you've heard of him. He was the guy who gave up the game-winning HR to Hank Blalock in the '04 All-Star Game, which obviously worked out for the Yankees in the Series. This Time It Counts. Maybe. We Mean It. Hey, Where Are You Going? Seriously though, the Dodgers bullpen need Gagne back, since they ...well, sucked without him. Pretty badly.

The walking 3-run inning Yhency Brazoban returns again (gotta love a 4-10 record). That's going to leave a mark. Danys Baez is the best of a mediocre lot, though - with Franquelis Osoria probably the only other guy who won't habitually start 2-run rallies. Edwin Jackson is gone now, though - he's over in the D-Rays camp. Maybe that's for the best.

Rough Bullpen Guess:
Closer: Eric Gagne
8th: Danys Baez
7th: Yhency Brazoban
Sit. Right: Franquelis Osoria
Sit. Lefty: Hong Chih-Kuo (and his 6.75 ERA) or Tim Hamulack (and his 23.48 ERA) - ouch.
Mop-up: D.J. Houlton

More information:
Eric Gagne


What's that you say? There's offense in Dodgerville? No way! Well, I guess signing Nomar Garciaparra, Rafael Furcal, and Bill Mueller can't be any worse, at least. In theory. What's odd is that Garciaparra was signed to play first, not short. Could be an interesting defensive experiment, although Hee Sop Choi wasn't doing much outside of a week and a half last season (and probably wouldn't do much outside of the WBC anyway this season), so the net can't be any worse, I'd think. Mueller replaces Olmedo Saenz - again, it's the > 0 thing going for him.

Furcal, on the other hand, actually replaces a good defender. Granted, his bat will more than make up for the defensive deficiency; however, he's been sick so far this year, so who knows what that means. Hopefully it doesn't mean a season more of Cesar Izturis' bat, but they've dealt with that before. Offensive stalwart Jeff Kent returns at second.

Behind the plate, Dioner Navarro certainly can't do any worse than the mess that was last season's Dodger catching. Fugly.

Projected Infield:
C: Dioner Navarro
1B: Nomar Garciaparra
2B: Jeff Kent
SS: Rafael Furcal
3B: Bill Mueller

More information:
Nomar Garciaparra
Jeff Kent


Holy cow, Kenny Lofton's still alive and kicking! And running, too - 22 SB last year. Good times. He'll bat and run as much as he can get away with when he plays center, but he won't be leading off this time around, certainly not when Furcal is in the lineup. Still, though, it's amazing to me that he's around - I thought he was done 2 years ago.

Speaking of "if he was only healthy", J.D. Drew is back and recovered. When healthy, he's good stuff. Maybe he can only get injured for 30 games this season - if that's the case, that can only mean good thing for the Dodger offense. If/when he gets injured, Jayson Werth will probably slot in for him in right, unless he's injured too. Then it's possibly Jason Repko, or if you really enjoy living dangerously, Joel Guzman. Don't hold your breath on that - he's more likely to be in left, or more likely, AAA.

Jose Cruz Jr. (current age: 32 - they should put a moratorium on Jr. after a certain age, I think) is the starting left fielder. Eh. Everyone that's backing up Drew is backing him up, too.

Projected Outfield:
RF: J.D. Drew
CF: Kenny Lofton
LF: Jose Cruz, Jr.

More information:
Kenny Lofton

Extra Stuff:

Great staff here, too. At least if they're healthy. Good closer, too - it's just the rest of the bullpen and a couple of injuries away from becoming a clusterfuck, though. If that doesn't help you sleep well at night, what will, really? Yikes. All things considered, I'd put more money on things not becoming a clusterfuck than everything blowing up.

The offense should be at least somewhat improved - maybe they can win the occasional 6-5 game this season. Or win over 71 games, whichever, really. They should given their talent and this division. The team has enough veteran presence to not underachieve, although injuries could take their toll. Remember, kids, the difference between veteran and old is only 5 years. Lofton is old, everyone else is veteran. That being said, I'll make fun of their age once everyone on the Giants retires. Have to keep both ends of the rivalry pissed off at me, right?

That being said, these guys, even though fundamentally different from the Giants, actually will probably perform somewhere around the Giants, I think. Cumulatively, there's not a lot of difference. I'd guess within 5 games of .500. This is the only team I'd do that with (with the exception of the last 2 years, that was the case 6 or 7 years running, so I think it's a decent gamble).