I, like many of you, miss baseball a lot right now. It’s been two weeks since Game 7, and I finally feel ready to move forward, but spring training doesn’t start for three months. Until February, we have the holidays, we have the joy of winter, and we have offseason trades and free agent signings. Though the offseason is not nearly as riveting as Game 7, it’s still something, and it’s worth getting excited about. In the past, my predictions as to who the Dodgers would sign have been, for the most part, incorrect and conventional.
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.
Heading into the deciding Game 7 of the 2017 ALCS on Saturday evening, the most popular talk among fans of the Dodgers seems to be revolving around which American League club provides the more favorable matchup for Los Angeles. Plenty of different criteria is being thrown around and about—regular season stats, managerial success rates in the postseason, who plays better in certain weather—just to name a few. But at the end of the day, playoff baseball is such a completely different animal, as it’s almost impossible to predict the mindset of the team which will take the field in the opener.
As it’s been nearly two weeks since we published our initial projections of the Dodgers‘ roster for the 2017 NLDS, several circumstances have transpired which in turn have shed some light on the squad which will take the field at Dodger Stadium on October 6.
While the playoff roster for the NLDS is shaping up relatively quickly, the prospective roles of the players who’ll make the squad are still somewhat undefined. The management team and the coaching staff of the Dodgers still have plenty of decisions on their hands, and determining the planned usage of southpaws Alex Wood and Hyun-Jin Ryu may be among the biggest.
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.
Clayton Kershaw. Everybody knows that name. It’s a name that is often followed by these words: “The Best Pitcher on the Planet.” I agree with that statement, and not just because I’m a fan of the Dodgers. I agree with it because it just makes sense. People often say that Kershaw has the potential to be the best pitcher baseball has ever seen, all he needs to do is win a World Series. The Dodgers have as good of a chance at a championship this year than they ever have before.
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.
When the Dodgers snagged Yu Darvish in the waning moments before the 2017 non-waiver trade deadline, there was a mixed reaction among the more educated fans of the club, especially when considering his two-inning, 10-earned run debacle against the Marlins just days before. However, the 31-year-old Japanese righty seemingly put that entire mess to rest after he threw seven shutout innings in his Dodgers debut against the Mets, striking out 10 batters and only surrendering three hits and a walk on August 4.
At this particular juncture of the 2017 campaign, it’s a bit difficult to provide a general outlook regarding the starting rotation of the Dodgers, mainly because of its present instability. Yet, although the pitching hasn’t been the sole culprit of the club’s first four-game losing streak since May of 2016, it has indeed been ugly as of late, especially in the current series against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.