The San Francisco Giants seemingly have lagged behind their SoCal brethren in Los Angeles, when it comes to refurbishing the hometown lineup for a fresh run at 2015‘s National League West title. In his article December 16, “Introducing the 2015 Los Angeles Dodgers,” Kevin Wells, sports editor at Communities Digital News, began by asserting that with the addition of both Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson last week, he thought the Dodgers were done adding players this offseason.
Recognizing that this is only December, and that there is a passel of front office types controlling the Dodgers’ brain-trust, LA may still have something else in the works, but for now It would appear that as the dust is settling, we should be able to start assessing the damage. Bearing in mind that the Blue Crew is coming off of a season in which they captured the NL West rather handily, there was no expense spared in taking several key strides to ensure that they do not lose their edge.
When an organization is deep enough in outfielders that it can afford to jettison a player of Matt Kemp’s talent, other teams should take note.
If ever a club’s decision-making process cried out for second-guessing, the centering of LA’s future success on Yasiel Puig, would be this site’s choice.
If there was one foundation component established in this offseason, let it be known thatYasiel Puig
is the anointed one in the LA outfield, and upon this rock the Dodgers will be built. From San Francisco comes nothing but a bemused, blank stare.
Sep 7, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford (35) at bat against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Puig batted .296 with sixteen home runs and 69 RBIs in 2014, the same number of runs knocked in as Brandon Crawford of the Giants. The Dodgers’ demonstrative right fielder stole eleven bases and was caught stealing seven times. In his MLB career, Puig has swiped a total of 22 bags and been nabbed on fifteen occasions for a .594 success rate. If Puig were a team-oriented figure, these numbers would have far less significance; as it is, he needs to substantially elevate his game to justify his ongoing self-perceived elite status. This site isn’t buying his act thus far.
With Puig in right field, Joc Pederson will make his much anticipated debut in center with Carl Crawford resuming his position in left. In limited action last season, Pederson had 28 ABs with the parent club, amassing 4 Hs and 4 TBs, for a .143 average, and no RBI’s. In 343 ABs this past season, Crawford batted .300 with 8 HRs and 46 RBIs.
Yasmani Grandal was the prize Matt Kemp’s departure reeled in for LA, as they sought a younger presence behind the dish to handle the Dodgers’ high-profile pitching needs. He batted .225 in 2014 with fifteen home runs and 49 RBIs. His success rate gunning down base stealers was 13%, having caught seven out of 56 of those who tried.
At first is the ever-dangerous Adrian Gonzalez who had a monstrous 2014 season, batting .276, while hammering out 41 2Bs and 27 home runs, with 116 RBIs. Anyone who remembers Gonzalez from his years in San Diego, knows him to be a formidable opponent indeed.
At second is the newly acquired Howie Kendricks (from the Los Angeles Angels for Andrew Heaney), a well-established MLB player who has spent his entire career in the American League. The former All-Star (2011) batted .293 with 33 2Bs, seven HRs and 75 RBIs in 2014.
Replacing the recently-departed Hanley Ramirez at shortstop is Jimmy Rollins, who spent all fifteen years of his career with the Philadelphia Phillies, having been named the NL’s Most Valuable Player in 2007. He was traded from the Phillies for Tom Windle and Zach Eflin, and adds a veteran presence to the Dodgers’ infield that will help solidify the defense. In 2014 he batted .243 with seventeen HRs, 22 2Bs and 55 RBIs. He stole 28 bases in 34 attempts.
And Juan Uribe will man the hot corner for LA, as he adds his presence to an infield imbued with confidence and savvy. As far as youth is concerned, what this infield has lost in speed, it has more than made up for in experience. Uribe batted .311 in 2014 with 9 HRs, 23 2Bs, and 54 RBIs.
A new catcher, second baseman, shortstop, and center fielder will join the Dodgers, in a complete makeover of the center of the diamond. Only time will tell whether it is an upgrade, or otherwise. Replacing fifty percent of a team’s lineup is a bold move, guaranteed to produce results.
Whether good or bad has yet to be determined.
Next: the rotation