As the new Dodgers season approaches, some fans are not as high on the team as others.
The wait is almost over Dodger fans.
We’ve sat patiently for months, twiddling our thumbs and replaying the NLDS over and over in our heads (OK it’s possible that some of you have jobs.) We looked to the Lakers for inspiration, but then Byron Scott happened and now we’re rooting for them to lose every game. We also endured whatever it is that’s happening with the Clippers, until we realized that no one actually cares and moved on. We bought a new coat in anticipation of El Niño, and now we look at it sadly as it hangs in the closet with the tags still on.
Let me know if this is getting too specific.
After that long, uneventful offseason, the day we’ve waited for has finally arrived. Pitchers and catchers are reporting to Camelback Ranch. Ok maybe it’s not actually the day we’ve been waiting for, but it is the first step right? Something’s finally happening. Let us rejoice!
But there is a segment of the Dodger fan base that will not wholeheartedly join in the celebration. This segment of the fan base views the upcoming season with a mixture of consternation and dread.
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No, it’s not Directv customers. I’m talking about the people that are looking at the moves made by Giants and Diamondbacks and thinking that the Dodgers just might be the third best team in the NL West.
I’m not going to lie to you, when the offseason started I thought the Dodgers were going to sign David Price, re-sign Greinke, form the best rotation in MLB and make Bruce Bochy wet himself. That didn’t happen. Instead the team lost Greinke (to a division rival) and replaced him with Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda, who are more cost-effective options (cost-effective is a nice way of saying worse.)
Meanwhile San Francisco and Arizona significantly upgraded their rotations with big, expensive (unspellable) names like Greinke, Cueto, and Samardzija.
On the face of it, this doesn’t sound great. That is until you remember that the Nationals were supposed to have one of the greatest rotations of all time last year. How did that work out?
Losing Greinke is not the worst thing in the world. It’s never great to subtract talent from a roster, but having a deep rotation that consistently puts up solid numbers is probably better than having a middling rotation with a couple of all-stars at the top.
It’s also important to factor in how much better the offense should be. Seager will be in the lineup instead of Rollins, Pederson will have a year of development under his belt, Puig will (hopefully) not be injured and/or terrible for the whole season, and we now know how good Enrique Hernandez is, which we didn’t last season.
None of this is to say that the Dodgers are a lock to win the division. Arizona has improved significantly and the Giants seem to have some weird, inexplicable mojo every other year (I’m calling it; someone up there made a pact with Satan.) But the Dodgers should still be considered the team to beat until one of those other teams actually does something.
While it’s true that there are some question marks on the roster, AZ and SF have more than their share as well, especially with regard to their new signings. Shelby Miller is young and still inconsistent. Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto are questionable from a production standpoint. Jean Segura exists, I suppose.
So, Dodger fans, turn those frowns upside-down. There should be some competition this year, but we’ve said that for the past three years and look what happened. The Dodgers wound up on top. This year should be no different.
Regardless of what happens this season, at least it will be entertaining.