We’ve finally made it to the last weekend without baseball. Pitchers and catchers begin reporting to their respective compounds early next week to start preparations for the upcoming season. We thought it would be fun to look at a few somewhat crazy, but still plausible things that could happen with the Dodgers this season.
With the hot stove season and baseball’s winter meetings inching ever so closer, there has been a huge amount of chatter and speculation among followers of the Dodgers surrounding potential trades or the addition of a few free agents. But while the squad will indeed have a slightly different look come spring, there’s a pretty good chance that management builds the 25-man roster from the existing framework within the organization. Last week, general manager Farhan Zaidi addressed the media, stating that he thinks the roster won’t need much work.
Prior to the 2017 campaign, 29-year-old pitcher Kenta Maeda had never made a relief appearance outside of a single game for the Hiroshima Carp during his 2008 rookie season in the Japan Central League. But the manner which he handled himself in the bullpen during the NLDS sweep over the Diamondbacks may have persuaded the management crew of the Dodgers to use the right-hander in similar higher-leverage relief spots moving forward into the playoffs.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are headed to the 2017 National League Championship Series after sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks in convincing fashion. The 3-1 win was led by Yu Darvish and Cody Bellinger. They are the only MLB team to sweep in the divisional series.
As there’s still the matters of wrapping up the division, vying for home-field advantage, and putting together some much-needed continuity inside the final nine games of the regular season, many fans of the Dodgers can’t help but look ahead and wonder which players will be called upon for the 25-man roster when the postseason arrives in just a few short weeks.
Among the minds of many fans of the Dodgers, there seems to be the speculation that there are quite a few auditions currently being held for spots on the prospective NLDS roster. Yet, outside of perhaps one or two last minute decisions, the roster is probably close to being solidified—at least in the eyes of the management crew. One of the final contemplations, however, will be trying to figure out how to put the finishing touches on the bullpen, which could very well boil down to the inclusion of either Kenta Maeda or Hyun-Jin Ryu.
At this point last week, many followers of the Dodgers were beginning to show signs of concern for a major collapse in the standings, yet many close to the team who knew a little bit about mathematical probability simply shrugged off the slump as a common occurrence which could happen to any contending squad.
I watched some Dodgers games last week and they didn’t get any runs and the starting pitching gave up a whole ton of runs and there were players playing I didn’t know much about and some players I really like are hurt and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.
As the month of September is now upon us, and despite the foregone conclusion that the Dodgers will capture their fifth consecutive NL West division crown in the coming weeks, there really hasn’t been much discussion about a prospective playoff roster. Subjectively, it’s probably a lot better that way, because the next four weeks will be an audition of sorts for some areas of the roster, and the bullpen is shaping up to be a place that’s potentially loaded with surprises.
As I was watching the game on Wednesday, one of the announcers (I think Orel Hershiser, but my apologies if it wasn’t) made a flip remark about Clayton Kershaw being the stopper, brought in to stop losing streaks. And I thought, “Oh goodness, it’s been three games so far, sure, but no way they’ll need him to stop a five game losing streak.”