The moment that fans of the Dodgers have been waiting for all winter has finally arrived. Even though there normally isn’t much news surrounding the first reporting day, pitchers and catchers are indeed in the house.
Chase Utley is enjoying quite an offseason.
He’s hanging out at Disneyland, having a day with the singer from OneRepublic and their families. He’s in Dubai, talking about robot umpires. He’s on social media, celebrating the Hall of Fame induction of his buddy, Jim Thome. He’s out golfing at Justin Turner’s charity golf tournament (and outgolfing Turner, according to the host). He’s going viral, making Eagles hype videos with the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Statistically, second baseman Chase Utley by no means had a season which will highlight his long list of achievements in the baseball history books. Over 127 games in his 15th big league campaign, the UCLA product slashed .236/.324/.405 with eight home runs and 34 RBI for the Dodgers, basically as a secondary platoon partner to Logan Forsythe and often as a late-inning pinch hitter off the pine.
Earlier in November, the Dodgers exercised their option to bring back second baseman Logan Forsythe for another season at $8.5 million, perhaps making evident that the team views the 30-year-old Memphis native as the main guy at the keystone moving into 2018. But there’s one potential problem with the way the roster may shape up—there’s nobody at all on the radar who bats left-handed and can play second base.
The Dodgers announced on Monday afternoon that third baseman Justin Turner was named the winner of the 12th annual Roy Campanella Award. This honor is given to the Dodger player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher. The award, which was voted upon by Dodger uniformed personnel, will be presented to Turner by Campanella’s daughter, Joni Campanella Roan, and his grandson, Cary Bell, during pregame ceremonies on Tuesday night.
The Dodgers have finally clinched the division, and are one win away from reaching 100 wins this season. Their PECOTA projections was 98 wins, so in that respect they have exceeded expectations. What was not expected, however, is the makeup of the roster heading into the playoffs.
Although there is still a lot of work left to be done, those of us in Dodgers Nation can breathe a little sigh of relief after the recent series in San Francisco. Our beloved team is starting to look like the powerhouse team it was earlier in the season.
To say the Dodgers‘ offense has been lackluster lately would be a bit of an understatement. After scoring 10 runs in Milwaukee last Friday, the Dodgers have only scored five runs in five games since then. Granted, they were facing some of the best pitchers they’ve face so far in Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, but still the offense has left something to be desired.
Up until recently, many media outlets have been emphasizing how the starting rotation and the relief corps of the Dodgers have been the backbone of the club over the course of the season’s first quarter. While this is certainly true, it can also be said that the team’s offense is quickly building momentum, and if the lumber can maintain any kind of steady reliability, the Dodgers may be controlling the National League West in the blink of an eye.