Los Angeles Dodgers fans had to go through the agony of watching their biggest rival, San Francisco, win their second World Series title in three seasons this October. With a stocked roster prepared for a full 2013 season together, fans are hoping that the script can be flipped around this time next year. Are the Dodgers fully prepared for a World Series run though?
As is the case with every baseball team, the Dodgers are only going to make a push in the NL West if they can remain healthy. The team started off great, but actually faltered after the big trade with the Dodgers. Injuries to franchise player Matt Kemp, as well as the pitching trio of Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly, left the team too shorthanded to hold off the hot Giants.
Speculating is hard to do in November, especially when a team figures to be a somewhat major player in the free agent market. With Josh Hamilton, James Shields, Hiroki Kuroda and Zack Greinke all receiving a heavy dose of attention from the the front office, there is a chance that the Dodgers on paper could be even better come spring training, as well as being packed with fantasy baseball starters..
With so many bats in the lineup, the Dodgers seemed focused on getting that solid #2 or #3 starter who can be relied on. With Billingsley coming off an injury and Lilly aging, Shields or Greinke could be a dominant enough pitcher to rely on in a short playoff series. If the Dodgers can learn one thing from the Giants, it is that a team must have dependable pitching in the playoffs in order to win. The offense is going to be there for the Dodgers if they stay healthy, but pitching, outside of Kershaw, has not always been there.
Many look at the Dodgers and their fall out of contention after the trade deadline as some sort of failure with the Red Sox blockbuster trade. Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzales, Nick Punto and Josh Beckett will all provide value for the Dodgers in 2013, and possibly beyond. If the team can complete a few of the speculated moves in the offseason, there will be no better team in the National League up and down the roster.