Dodgers have the money-Do they have the answers”.
It might have been a once in a lifetime opportunity to see what we saw last summer when the Dodgers played. Frontline pitching that equaled Koufax and Drysdale. An individual effort similar to the dominance of a Bob Gibson.
That was then, and this is now.
Despite the brilliance of the tandem of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, the Dodgers did not get to the World Series. It’s been since 1988, thank you Kirk Gibson, since they won a ring, raised a trophy, had a parade.
And now that special summer, when Kershaw had a (2.13ERA) and Greinke outdid him with a (1.66) mark, is over.
So is the era of the Dodgers record 281M payroll. Greinke is gone to the Arizona Diamondbacks. And now the challenge, with a bit lower payroll, to find enough arms to replace Greinke.
The challenges are great, despite what President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman may believe.
You give the ball to Kershaw on opening day. After that, somebody else starts, and maybe you have to hope for the best. New manager Dave Roberts hopes it’s not that.
Each of the arms seems to come with a question mark attached to it.
Scott Kazmir, who has become a journeyman lefthander, is now part of the rotation. Some years better than others, depending on where he is, Oakland, Houston, Cleveland, Tampa Bay. You never know one season to the next. If the cat has nine lives, Kazmir has indeed been able to re-invent himself.
Kenta Maeda got a whopper of a free agent contract coming out of Japan. Might he be the next Hideo Nomo or Chan Ho Park? Time will tell, but already there is concern about elbow issues. You wonder if he becomes Dice Matsuzaka.
Yes Brett Anderson returns for his second year, but his solid seasons have been interspersed with injuries of all kinds, bad luck if you want to call it.
Hyn Jin Ryu underwent torn labrum surgery last spirng. He had all the ingredients of being a lead arm, but now the arm issues have to be of concern. Who knows now about durability, dependability.
Alex Wood came from Atlanta, but erratic outings shunted him out of the postseason rotation. Yes the ex-Braves lefty has potential, but it’s not there yet, start to start.
The young arms of a year ago, forced into the starting slots, eventually wound up back at Oklahoma City. No one is talking much now about Mike Bolsinger nor Zach Lee.
There won’t be any Brandon McCarthy sighting for a while, the aftermath of elbow surgery, and that rehab comeback takes forever.
A year from today we may be talking about the next generation of Kershaw types, Julio Urias and Jose DeLeone, but that takes time to grow them on the farm, even if the Dodgers have the best farm system in baseball.
So LA has 6-weeks now to figure this out. Find the right people to put behind the greatness of Kershaw. All the money in the world cannot buy you guarantees on the mound.
The Giants and the Diamondbacks went big-time on spending sprees to upgrade their staffs, and in San Francisco and Phoenix, those starters look better than the ones on Elysian Way. Thank goodness Colorado and San Diego are in the division.
The Dodgers have been caught in the crossfire of criticism about whether they should have given Greinke a 6-year deal at mega money that would have taken him thru age 37.
They didn’t like the criticism this winter. They won’t like the criticism this summer if they don’t find find the right arms to back up that great lefthander