February 23, 2006

More NL West mediocrity

The Dodgers made a few head-scratching moves this offseason. Their all-star shortstop, Cesar Izturis, went down with an injury late last year and is currently rehabbing it. He probably won't be back until mid-season. However, the Dodgers went out and grabbed Rafael Furcal (the #1 shortstop on the free agent market), and then signed another shortstop in Garciaparra. Nomar was signed to play first base, which unclogged some of the middle infield situation, but one has to wonder what will happen when Izturis comes back? The Dodgers will have 3 all-stars slated to play 2 positions (Jeff Kent is at 2B)...so someone will probably have to go either to the outfield or out of LA. The problem is that none of them (other than maybe Furcal) would make a good outfielder, especially in spacious Dodger Stadium.

As questionable as their offseason hitting decisions went, the Dodgers managed to do a nice job with their pitching deals. They acquired the underrated Jae Seo from the Mets (which the Mets will definitely regret later), and managed to shore up their bullpen with Baez, who can step in to close if Gagne isn't back yet from his surgery. They have no established super-ace (not many do) but their rotation is full of decent to good pitchers, backed up by a solid bullpen.

I'm not sure where I see this team going - they have the pitching (and the stadium to pitch in) and a slightly more powerful (and much more athletic) offense to go far, especially against the tepid NL west. We'll see how the chemistry issues play out as the season goes on. I think they probably have the best chance of winning the division (maybe 50%) but I wouldn't call this a big endorsement.