After winning a third consecutive National League West title, the Los Angeles Dodgers have some serious decisions to make this off season. Not because of reaching the playoffs three years in a row, but because they have yet to advance past the first round of the playoffs. The main question is: does manager Don Mattingly stay or go?
Let’s face it: Mattingly makes some boneheaded decisions at times. Throughout the year, he benched hitters that were just starting to get hot. He also played horrible pitching matchups from time to time, and chose to start Yasiel Puig in only one game during the playoffs. I think Mattingly is too laid back of a coach for this roster. But the reason the Dodgers aren’t in the second round is because there was no #3 pitcher on this roster, and the team hit 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position in game 5.
President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman, inherited a great team last winter. General Manager, Farhan Zaidi, was supposed to aid Friedman in putting together the necessary pieces to win a World Series this year. Instead of improving the team, they worsened it. They got rid of 2 powerful bats in Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp, although the Kemp trade brought young catcher Yasmani Grandal to the team, as well as a couple other young players.
There’s also a young second baseman by the name of Dee Gordon that the Dodgers traded away. He went on to hit .330 for the Marlins, and he stole 58 bases. That type of production is what was seriously lacking at the top of the lineup. Instead, we saw Jimmy Rollins, Joc Pederson, and CarL Crawford handle most of the leadoff duties. That is a huge problem, and one of the major reasons the team just couldn’t put any offense together.
Another problem with the Marlins deal is that Andrew Heaney, the big-time pitching prospect LA received, got flipped for 2B Howie Kendrick. While I like Kendrick, the deal made no sense at the time (and still didn’t make sense when the Dodgers threw Brett Anderson for game 3). The Dodgers were a DECENT #3 SP away from the NLCS. On the flip side, had Hyun-Jin Ryu been healthy, I’m sure he would’ve sealed the deal in a game 3 matchup.
Looking ahead to free agency, there are some big names the Dodgers could lose. Zack Greinke, Howie Kendrick, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, CarL Crawford, and Andre Ethier are all free agents. Greinke will be testing free agency after posting the best season of his career, which very well could lead to him winning the Cy Young. Out of the above list, I believe only one of the outfielders will be kept, possibly Kendrick, and obviously Greinke is something LA’s rotation can’t afford to lose.
In conclusion, this is a make-or-break offseason for the Dodgers’ front office. Friedman and Zahdi will need to acquire some more talent through free agency. There will be some big names available, but it’s unclear how deep the ownership group’s pockets are. They can’t afford to field a potential lineup and rotation like this:
1) 2B Enrique Hernandez
2) RF Yasiel Puig
3) 1B Adrian Gonzalez
4) 3B Justin Turner
5) SS Corey Seager
6) CF Joc Pederson
7) LF Andre Ethier
8) C Yasmani Grandal
1) Clayton Kershaw
2) Hyun-Jin Ryu
3) Brandon McCarthy
4) Brett Anderson
5) Julio Urias
(Photo credit: MLB)