Shohei Ohtani is an Angel. Giancarlo Stanton is a Yankee. The Dodgers? They’re still the reigning National League Champions. I think most of us believed that at least one of the two, Ohtani or Stanton, would become Dodgers. If not both. Then again, a logical case couldn’t be made for either. Ohtani wants to hit and pitch, something an AL team would be able to help him do better than a National League team. As for Stanton, the Dodgers wanted to decrease payroll, and couldn’t match the deal that the Yankees offered the Marlins.
It’s December 13th. Opening Day is 15 weeks away. 15 weeks sounds a lot sooner than 105 days, but I assure you, the Dodgers have plenty of time to make this team World Series ready once more. Last season, the most important signings were Justin Turner, Rich Hill, and Kenley Jansen. In the end, those were three of the most pivotal players in the Dodgers historic run.
I know it can be hard to sit and watch teams change during the offseason, with no games or pennant chases to divert your attention, but remember this—there are no guarantees in this game. Ever. We can’t even begin to tell what the 2018 season is going to look like because, until Opening Day, the answers we have simply won’t be enough to map out the entire season.
Clayton Kershaw could have the best year of his career. Walker Buehler could be called up to the majors and become the setup man to Jansen. Chris Taylor could hit more grand slams than anybody in the game. We can’t predict any of it with the utmost certainty.
All we can do is hope.
The Dodgers’ most apparent needs are in the bullpen. The loss of Brandon Morrow to the Chicago Cubs will be noticeable. It may not be a disadvantage, but the front office will need to either find a replacement or promote from within. Potentially, Wade Davis could be a great person to fill the job.
The rotation will be a question, especially if the Dodgers don’t re-sign Yu Darvish, which doesn’t seem likely at this point. Though, I am not as worried as I would have been had Alex Wood not had the best season of his career. Between Kershaw, Hill, Wood, Kenta Maeda and Hyun-Jin Ryu, not to mention a late-season return of Julio Urias, the rotation is in pretty good shape heading into spring training.
If the rotation stays the same, it’s looking like the starting five will be Kershaw, Hill, Wood, Maeda, and Ryu, in order to give Urias a little more time to rehab in the minors before returning to the team. That means they’d have a starting rotation with a 3.26 ERA. That’s great, and, most likely, it’s enough to get the Dodgers back to the postseason. Good news is, teams can always get better.
The Dodgers intend to. And, when they do, it’s bound to be remarkable, because I doubt they’ll do anything less.
(FOLLOW SARAH ON TWITTER: @SARAHMANINGER)