The Los Angeles Dodgers made some major changes in their personnel department, thus far during the off-season by acquiring Joe Torre and his crew from New York. However, the Dodgers will not be serious contenders unless they can amplify their offensive threat. I have come up with a compilation of matters that should be considered before the columnists all declare the Dodgers as possible World Series candidates.
By taking a glance at their depth chart, it is apparent that their outfield is lacking the potential for future success. Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp are mediocre athletes, and are not the caliber of stars that you would find on a championship team. Juan Pierre, the Dodgers’ big-name acquisition last off-season, slipped into a slump a few times during the year but finished off the season strong with 64 stolen-bases and a batting average just under the .300 mark.
There are a few players currently on the market who would fill the needs of their weak outfield. Miguel Cabrera of the Florida Marlins may have an expensive contract, but you obviously get what you pay for. The slugger is registered as a third base-man, but has played in left-field before and would play anywhere you want if a large sum is offered in his direction.
Another alternative in the outfield would be the Rays’ Carl Crawford. If a successful transaction is executed, Los Angeles would have an unstoppable batting order with Furcal, Pierre and Crawford. I have heard previous rumors that the outfielder might be shipped to the Chicago Cubs, but the Dodgers are an even better candidate for the Florida speed demon.
There are several rumors concerning James Loney. In my opinion, the kid is a stud and will be very successful in Major League Baseball if continues to play as he did last season. He made an instant impact in his first big year, similar to David Wright’s rookie season on the New York Mets, and deserves the starting role at first-base.
On the other end of the baseball diamond, Nomar Garciaparra barely exceeded the league averages at third-base. The fielder may have had an excellent career in Boston, but has not proved himself in Los Angeles. There must be a better option for the Dodgers at the crucial position.
Although Mike Lowell was pulled out of the Free-Agent Pool, Aramis Ramirez and Adrian Beltre have been put on the table in recent rumored trade discussions. If the Dodgers can intervene in these negotiations, they can significantly boost the offensive ability of their infield.
Jason Schmidt shocked Dodgers’ fans across the globe last season by pitching his way to a 1-4 season with an ERA over six. When the Dodgers acquired the power pitcher for $15M a year, they expected him to be their primary and prime ace. However, he did not meet their expectations.
Rumors confirmed that AJ Burnett, Scott Kazmir, Joe Blanton, Johan Santana and Erik Bedard are possible candidates to be on the Dodgers’ roster by next April. Los Angeles’ pitching staff did well last season, despite the lack of offensive insurance behind their pitches. It is unforunate that their team fell out of the Playoff Picture last season because their entire team collapsed like a set of dominos from the batting order to the bullpen.
These feasible transactions would turn the Dodgers into a powerful organization. Dodgers fans must be optomistic, since the organization has already taken action by discussing a potential trade between Erik Bedard and Matt Kemp. Hopefully, Los Angeles will be able to work out as many deals as possible to increase their overall threat to Major League Baseball.