Saturday, March 29, 2008

Know Thy Enemy: Los Angeles Dodgers

From San Diego we head north to Los Angeles just in time for tonight's craziness at the Coliseum. Alfred, a proud Dodgers fan and noted Red Sox hater, offers his thoughts on the Dodgers' 2008 season.

As if ESPN and SI aren't the only places where the words New York and Boston are tirelessly uttered, the experts in either stable can now twist these within the 2008 make-up of the Dodgers. Or not... With the arrival of Joe Torre and the unfortunate continuing ownership by the McCourts, the 2008 Dodgers are bestowed with pretty demanding expectations.

Joe Torre and Andruw Jones each have defined the last decade of baseball in New York and Atlanta. Bringing them together shoots a dose of optimism in Dodger fans due to the credibility, resumes, and contention they bring to Los Angeles of Los Angeles. There's also a few other core guys in this clubhouse that will keep the Dodgers in the playoff race deep into September. Russell Martin( C ), Matt Kemp(RF), James Loney(1B), and Andre Ethier(LF) will continue to blossom as outstanding players at their respective positions. Jeff Kent has been hobbled this spring, and might see himself dropped to batting 6th in the line-up. The good news is that Delwyn Young/ Tony Abreu have showed potential, if not raw talent, at the position eventually vacated by Mr. Moustache.

This year also differentiates from past years where hitting was the problem, not pitching. Aside from All-Star Brad Penny, Chad Billingsby, and new-comer Hiroki Koruda, there isn't a solidified or healthy rotation. Derek Lowe's struggled in spring training with his location. Ironically, that's something that's actually been a hallmark of his career as a Dodger. Jason Schmidt is out until June. When he returns, we still don't know what three years and 47 million have bought us aside from a shelved arm. The 5th spot in the rotation is a toss-up between Chan Ho Park, who's posted decent numbers in spring training, and Often injured righty Esteban Loaiza. The bright side is that lefty hurler Clayton Kershaw might get a few call-ups this season to polish him into the rotation. His 97 mph fastball and dropping curveball have the Dodgers rejoicing over a potential lefty ace.

SS Rafael Furcal
C Russell Martin
1B James Loney
CF Andruw Jones
RF Matt Kemp
LF Andre Ethier
2B Jeff Kent
3B Andy Laroche*

*Laroche and Garciaparra are both on the 15-day DL. Do'h. God forbid the arrival of Brandon Inge....

RH Brad Penny
RH Chad Billingsby
LH Hiroki Koruda
RH Derek Lowe
RH Esteban Loaiza

RH Yhency Brezoban
LH Joe Beimel
RH Jonathan Broxton
CP Takashi Saito

The logjam in Left Field between Juan Pierre and Andre Ethier is complicated by the fact that Pierre makes 11 million the next three years. Possible trade bait at mid-season if he has a hot start and is packaged witha 2nd-tier prospect to a team DESPERATE for a Center-fielder. Aside from that, Pierre's coming off the bench for Torre in late-innings.

Alfred, aka RawLA, is a Sociologist/Dee Jay/Hater/Chicano from Los Angeles that loves his beisbol. In spite of his hate for all things Boston sans Sam Adams(beer), he would like to visit someday for some authentic New England clam choooooooowdah.

No comments: