Category Archives: Los Angeles Dodgers

2018 NL West Predictions

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles wasn’t very active this offseason, but that is because they really don’t have any weaknesses to fill. The Dodgers have a terrific lineup led by Justin Turner, Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, and Yasiel Puig. However, the other players in their lineup like Matt Kemp, Logan Forsythe, and Austin Barnes are all solid contributors as well. The Dodgers are also very deep as they have Yasmani Grandal, Joc Pederson, and Chase Utley as proven players that are currently scheduled to be bench players in 2018. Los Angeles also has arguably the best starting rotation in the MLB led by Clayton Kershaw who is probably the best pitcher in the entire MLB. However, the team has 4 above average starting pitchers behind him with Rich Hill, Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda, and Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers also have a very good bullpen led by elite closer Kenley Jansen. Josh Fields and Pedro Baez also had very good years last season as late-inning options in the Dodgers bullpen. Los Angeles could use some more depth in their bullpen, although they are certainly set in the late innings with Jansen, Fields, and Baez. There really isn’t a weakness on this Dodgers roster and they are not only the favorites to win the NL west, but they also are probably the favorites in the NL to make the world series.

2. Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona surprisingly was one of the best teams in the national league last season, but they are out to prove that last year wasn’t just a fluke. In fact, the Diamondbacks are a team that should be able to once again compete for a playoff spot in 2018. The Diamondbacks did lose J.D. Martinez this offseason which will hurt Arizona a little bit. However, they did replace him somewhat by trading for right fielder Steven Souza Jr. from the Rays. Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb, and A.J. Pollock are the ones that will likely carry the offense for Arizona and their lineup is good overall. However, the middle infield appears to be the area of weakness for the Diamondbacks as Ketel Marte, Nick Ahmed, and Chris Owings will compete for starting jobs at 2nd base and shortstop. None of those guys provide much offensive capability and the Diamondbacks should have found better replacements at those positions. Meanwhile, the starting pitching appears to be a strength for Arizona heading into the 2018 season. They have Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray as all-star caliber pitchers that will lead the top of the starting rotation. However, they are also really deep with starting pitching as Taijuan Walker and Patrick Corbin are above average pitchers as well. Pitching in Arizona isn’t easy, but those 4 guys are certainly proven MLB pitchers that are up to the task. The bullpen could be decent for Arizona in 2018, but it will be a lot different than it was last season. Archie Bradley had a terrific 2017 season and now he is expected to be the new closer for the Diamondbacks in 2018. Brad Boxberger is a reliable late-inning option for the Diamondbacks and he has closer experience if Bradley struggles in that role. Yoshihisa Hirano was acquired to be another late-inning option for Arizona, but he has never pitched in the MLB and it is unknown what he will provide. Arizona needs more depth in their bullpen and they need someone besides Boxberger and Bradley to step up. The Diamondbacks have a few weaknesses on this roster, so they probably won’t be able to compete with the Dodgers for the division title. However, Arizona still is a very good team that should be able to make the playoffs in 2018.

3. Colorado Rockies

The Rockies were a playoff team in 2017 as they had improved pitching and a lineup that continues to dominate. Colorado still has Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu, Ian Desmond, Trevory Story, and Gerardo Parra. That is quite the lineup especially if Arenado and Blackmon continue to play at an MVP-caliber level. We all know that the Rockies will score a ton of runs as they always seemingly do. However, pitching is the one thing that really continues to hold them back. Jon Gray is the clear ace of the Rockies pitching staff and he performed well last season especially considering that he was pitching at Coors Field most of the time. The rest of the rotation is filled mostly with really young starting pitchers that were very inconsistent last season. Kyle Freeland, German Marquez, and Tyler Anderson all pitched well at times last season, but they all need to improve if the Rockies starting pitching is going to be good. However, it will help that Freeland and Marquez have a year of experience now and hopefully they can continue to try and reach their full potential. Meanwhile, the Rockies bullpen should be better this year especially with the signing of elite closer Wade Davis and quality setup man Bryan Shaw. However, the Rockies have plenty of bullpen depth as they have Mike Dunn, Adam Ottavino, and Jake McGee that are all quality relief pitchers. If the bullpen can be good then it would be a huge step towards being a playoff team once again in 2018. Colorado is playing in a really tough division and they also have a few tough teams in the NL to compete with, but if their pitching can continue to improve then they should be a playoff contender for sure.

4. San Francisco Giants

San Francisco is another team that made offseason upgrades in order to try and make the playoffs in 2018 as they added all-star caliber players Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. The Giants already had a decent lineup with Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt, and Brandon Crawford. However, adding Longoria and McCutchen to the mix will only make the Giants a much better offensive team. The Giants starting rotation also has the potential to be decent especially if star pitcher Madison Bumgarner can stay healthy. They also have Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija who are proven MLB pitchers, but they both need to pitch much better than they did last season if the Giants want to have a good rotation. Also, the Giants don’t have much behind those guys in the rotation, so they need to at least find decent 4th and 5th starters. Meanwhile, the Giants have a decent bullpen as they have Sam Dyson, Mark Melancon, Hunter Strickland, and Tony Watson. All of those guys are good late-inning options, but the main question for the Giants is which one of those relievers will be the closer in 2018. It seems the Giants have the lineup to compete in the highly competitive NL West. However, it is the lack of pitching especially with the starting rotation that could really hold this team back.

5. San Diego Padres

The Padres are clearly the worst team in the NL west heading into 2018 as the other 4 teams in the division are playoff contenders. However, the Padres are a team that is heading in the right direction especially with the major signing of Eric Hosmer this offseason. San Diego should have plenty of power in the middle of their lineup with Wil Myers and Hosmer carrying the offense. However, the Padres need support from the other position players if they want to improve. Specifically, the Padres need their young players like Manuel Margot, Austin Hedges, Hunter Renfroe, and Carlos Asuaje to continue to improve. The major concern for San Diego is that they have arguably the worst rotation in the entire MLB. Clayton Richard is the leading pitcher in their rotation, but he didn’t have a good year in 2017. The key for the Padres rotation will be young pitchers Luis Perdomo and Dinelson Lamet. Both of those pitchers weren’t very successful last season, but they will get plenty of opportunities to prove themselves this season. If they can live up to their potential, then the Padres rotation has a chance to at least be decent. Meanwhile, the Padres could be good especially with all-star closer Brad Hand leading the way. Craig Stammen is also a good late-inning option, but the Padres need more out of the rest of the bullpen if they want to be successful. The Padres will probably be a better team in 2018 especially with the addition of Hosmer. However, the Padres still have many holes on their roster and this year will be more about their young players improving rather than trying to be a playoff team.


Dodgers sign Koehler to a 1-year deal

The Los Angeles Dodgers probably won’t make any major additions this offseason since their roster is as complete as any team in the MLB. However, they did add some more to their pitching depth by signing right-handed pitcher Tom Koehler to a 1-year/$2 million deal. Koehler was non-tendered this offseason by the Blue Jays despite having a solid 2.65 ERA in 14 appearances and 1 start for the team. Koehler will provide the Dodgers with some versatility as he will likely start out in the bullpen in a long relief role. However, Koehler has been a starting pitcher most of his career which means that he can be a starter at the back end of the Dodgers rotation if needed. Koehler won’t make a significant difference for the Dodgers in 2018, but he at least provides some more pitching depth for the team and he can be a temporary starting pitcher when injuries occur.

Grade: C-

tom koehler


Season Outlook: Los Angeles Dodgers

Projected 2017 Starting Lineup:

  1. Logan Forsythe – 2nd baseman
  2. Corey Seager – Shortstop
  3. Justin Turner – 3rd baseman
  4. Adrian Gonzalez – 1st baseman
  5. Yasmani Grandal – Catcher
  6. Joc Pederson – Center Fielder
  7. Yasiel Puig – Right Fielder
  8. Andrew Toles – Left Fielder

Projected 2017 Starting Rotation:

  1. Clayton Kershaw
  2. Rich Hill
  3. Kenta Maeda
  4. Scott Kazmir
  5. Julio Urias

Season Outlook:

The Dodgers didn’t make too many additions this offseason, but acquiring 2nd baseman Logan Forsythe is the one move that could make the Dodgers even better. Corey Seager, Justin Turner, and Adrian Gonzalez are the most dangerous and consistent threats in the Dodgers lineup. However, if their lineup is to ever become dangerous then they will need more consistency from players like Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, and Yasmani Grandal. The offense for Los Angeles is already really good and if those 3 players show up consistently then their lineup could be unstoppable. Meanwhile, the Dodgers still have star pitcher Clayton Kershaw who is remarkably elite every year. Rich Hill also had an amazing season in 2016 as he had a 2.12 ERA and if he can pitch like that again in 2017 then the Dodgers rotation should be really good. Kenta Maeda and Scott Kazmir are also really good options for the Dodgers in their rotation as the 3rd and 4th options. Julio Urias has by far the biggest upside in the Dodgers rotation as he is only 20 years old and he has already had success in limited action for Los Angeles last year. He figures to get a full-time role in the Dodgers rotation in 2017 and if he performs well then he could make the Dodgers rotation sensational. Re-signing elite closer Kenley Jansen will maintain the stability in the Dodgers bullpen and Sergio Romo/Pedro Baez should be really good late inning options as well. Overall, there aren’t many weaknesses on this Dodgers roster and they are definitely world series contenders heading into 2017.

Prediction: 1st place in the NL West


Biggest need remaining for every NL West Team

Arizona Diamondbacks – Biggest need: Bullpen

The Arizona Diamondbacks had a decent bullpen until they let go of quality relief pitchers like Brad Ziegler, Tyler Clippard, and Daniel Hudson. However, they haven’t done much to replace those guys this offseason. Arizona signed 39-year old Fernando Rodney to be their new closer, but who knows how much production that he has left. Rodney has been inconsistent in recent years and he was awful with a 5.89 ERA with the Marlins last season. Even if he does turn out to be good for Arizona, they still have nobody else besides him in the bullpen. Arizona has a big need for 7th and 8th inning help and time is running out for them to find somebody to fill those roles.

Colorado Rockies – Biggest need: Catcher

Colorado has a really dangerous lineup, but if there is one weakness in their lineup then it is definitely at the catcher position. As of right now, Tony Wolters and Tom Murphy would be the options at catcher for the Rockies. However, neither of those guys have proven that they can be everyday catchers. Wolters is a former infielder and he only hit .259 with 3 home runs in 2016 for Colorado in 71 games played. Those aren’t good offensive stats especially for a guy that plays most of his games at Coors Field. Both Wolters and Murphy are nothing more than backups, but one of them will have to play a lot in 2017 unless the team can find a starting catcher. The Rockies are reportedly interested in Matt Wieters as their new starting catcher which isn’t a bad idea since he provides some more offensive ability than Wolters and Murphy. Either way, the Rockies can’t rely upon Wolters to be their everyday catcher next season and they need a lot of help at the position.

Los Angeles Dodgers – Biggest need: 2nd baseman

The Los Angeles Dodgers don’t have many needs, but they do have a glaring weakness at the 2nd base position with Enrique Hernandez as their projected starter for the 2017 season. That is not good news considering that Hernandez only hit .190 with 7 home runs in 109 games for the Dodgers last season. There aren’t many options available at 2nd base for the Dodgers in free agency, but they should at least add some more depth to the position in order to compete with Hernandez. Los Angeles could always trade for Brian Dozier and fix the problem at 2nd base. However, the Dodgers just need to do something to improve the production out of the 2nd base position.

San Diego Padres – Biggest need: Starting Pitching

San Diego has perhaps the worst starting rotation in all of the MLB heading into next season as their number 1 starter appears to be Christian Friedrich who had a 4.80 ERA in 2016. The Padres have plenty of depth with their starting pitching, but they just don’t have even one starting pitcher that would be a number 3 starter on another team. The free agent starting pitcher market was extremely weak this offseason, yet the Padres should have signed at least one quality starting pitcher. San Diego did sign Jhoulys Chacin, but he won’t do much to make their rotation any better. Overall, the Padres starting rotation is looking terrible for next season unless they make a big move late this offseason which is highly unlikely.

San Francisco Giants – Biggest need: Left Fielder

The San Francisco Giants were in the market for a big time outfielder this offseason. However, they haven’t made any big moves yet and they still are left with a big need for a starting left fielder. Right now Mac Williamson would be the starting left fielder for the Giants and he hasn’t proven much as he is a career .222 hitter with 6 home runs in limited playing time. There are still quality left fielders like Michael Saunders that remain unsigned in free agency, but the Giants just need to do something to find a decent starting left fielder for next season.

Dodgers re-sign Turner to a 4-year deal

The Los Angeles Dodgers were able to retain one of the top free agents this offseason as they re-signed 3rd baseman Justin Turner to a 4-year/$64 million contract. It is difficult to find quality 3rd basemen like Turner these days especially 3rd basemen that can provide quality offense. Turner had a career year for the Dodgers in 2016 as he hit .275 with 27 home runs and 90 RBI’s. It would have been difficult for the Dodgers to replace him as there just weren’t many decent options at the 3rd base position in free agency. Turner has been quite the story in recent years as he has been a backup infielder for most of his career. However, the Dodgers finally gave him an opportunity for some quality playing time in 2014 and since then he has been one of the best 3rd basemen in the MLB. An average salary of $16 million per season is a lot for the Dodgers to pay Turner. However, he is worth every penny especially since it would have been tough for the Dodgers to replace him. Turner could have easily gone elsewhere in free agency since he was by far the best 3rd baseman available, but the Dodgers just wouldn’t let him go. We’ll see if Turner can repeat the type of season that he had in 2016. However, this is a great move for the Dodgers since he makes their lineup much better and they wouldn’t have been nearly productive at 3rd base without him.

Grade: A


Dodgers re-sign Jansen to a 5-year deal

It appeared for awhile that closer Kenley Jansen might leave in free agency, but ultimately he will be returning to Los Angeles as he re-signed with the Dodgers on a 5-year/$80 million contract. Jansen has been one of the most consistent closers in the MLB especially last season when he had a 1.83 ERA and 47 saves for the Dodgers. There is no doubt how much Jansen has meant to the Dodgers as without him their bullpen isn’t nearly as strong. Jansen has been successful with an outstanding cutter pitch that resembles the cutter that future hall-of-fame closer Mariano Rivera had when he was playing. $20 million per year is a big risk for the Dodgers in order to keep Jansen. However, it is rare to find a dominant closer like Jansen and if the Dodgers are to ever go far in the playoffs then they will definitely rely on Jansen. Either way, this is a big move for the Dodgers as they wouldn’t have been able to find another closer to replace Jansen easily. The Dodgers have a very talented roster, but this signing makes them a definite world series contender for at least next season.

Grade: A+


Rich Hill re-signs with the Dodgers

Starting Pitcher Rich Hill had his best season as an MLB player in 2016 and on Monday he got rewarded for it by re-signing with the Dodgers on a 3-year/$48 million contract. Hill was by far the best starting pitcher in a really weak starting pitcher market in free agency, so there was no doubt that he would get paid quite a bit. However, the one thing that concerns me about this deal for the Dodgers is that they are giving a 3-year deal to a player that’s about to turn 37 years old before the season. Hill did have an outstanding year in 2016 with the Athletics and Dodgers as he went 12-5 with a 2.12 ERA. His 4.10 career ERA is what is really concerning because in all likelihood he’ll revert back to the mediocre pitcher that he has mostly been. If Hill can be the pitcher that he was last year then he’ll provide one of the best duos in the MLB along with Clayton Kershaw. Hill definitely deserved to be paid this much, although I’m just not sold that he can repeat that type of season again. The Dodgers probably made a mistake by giving him a 3-year deal that will keep him with the team through his age 39 season. The Dodgers should have given him maybe a 1-year deal or a 1-year deal with a club option for 2018 rather than risking an inevitable decline in his production. I like that the Dodgers re-signed him, but shorter deal would have been much less risky especially for a guy that has struggled with injury and consistency issues in his career.

Grade: C