Picture courtesy of Bleacher Report
By Ross Sutton
The Dodgers had a dominant year in 2017, finishing with a 104-58 record in the regular season and cruising through the playoffs until they the lost to the Astros in the World Series in a thrilling seven game series. Despite last year’s great season, the Dodgers have seen a lot of turnover in their roster since the final game of the World Series. This offseason, the Dodgers made a couple of impactful trades featuring some big name players. The first trade sent Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, and Charlie Culberson to the Braves in exchange for Matt Kemp. This trade was essentially an exchange of big contracts (Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Kemp), that will give the Dodgers some more financial flexibility down the road. Adrian Gonzalez became expendable for the Dodgers after rookie Cody Bellinger hit 39 home runs last year and won the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Gonzalez was designated for assignment by the Braves shortly after this trade was made and went on to sign a one-year deal with the Mets. Scott Kazmir was also released by the Braves but that did not occur until yesterday. Many thought that the Dodgers would do the same and release Matt Kemp, but the veteran outfielder must have been motivated by the thought of playing for Dodgers again as he committed to losing some weight in the offseason and it looks like Kemp will be a key contributor for the Dodgers in 2018. The Dodgers were not done making trades though, as they also acquired lefty reliever Scott Alexander from the Royals in a three-team trade that also included the White Sox. Los Angeles then re-signed veteran second baseman Chase Utley, but players such as Brandon Morrow (Cubs), Yu Darvish (Cubs), Curtis Granderson (Blue Jays), and Tony Watson (Giants) all signed elsewhere in free agency.
Despite losing a lot of talented players this offseason, the Dodgers should be set up for a playoff run again in 2018, as they have a great young core on offense that will take a lot of pressure off of the pitching staff. Even though the Dodger offense is one of the best in the league, the best player on the team is pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who continues to dominate the rest of the league as his only concerns at this point of his career are trying to stay healthy and win a World Series. I predict that the Dodgers will have another great season this year and will finish the regular season with a 97-65 record, winning the NL West for the sixth straight season. In my opinion, the strongest competition the Dodgers will face in the National League will be the Cubs and Nationals, as both teams have extremely talented teams. Overall, I believe that the Dodgers have as good a chance as anyone in the NL to make it to the fall classic, but right now I think that the Cubs or Nationals will beat the Dodgers in the playoffs in 2018.
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