The Los Angeles Dodgers have spent millions upon millions of dollars trying to revamp their franchise, buying expensive free agents and signing in-house stars to mega-contracts. All of this done with the thought of returning a once glorious baseball franchise back to a place of prominence, and to win a championship.
The only problem is that a lot of those dollars that have been spent are riding pine on the injured list, or simply didn’t perform up to the hopes attached to the paycheck.
Does this sound like another Los Angeles franchise’s story? Do the names Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and company ring any bells out there in Tinseltown?
The 2013 version of the Dodgers could very well end up looking like the 2012-13 version of the Los Angeles Lakers. Lots of hope and promise attached to attracting the biggest stars, only to have the team falter due to injuries and lack of chemistry. The biggest difference being, the Lakers won a world championship just a few years ago, while the Dodgers haven’t won their final game of the season since 1988.
Right now two of the main cogs in the Dodger machine–outfielders Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp–are recovering from injuries and subsequent surgeries. Kemp is having the easier time returning to this point, recovering from surgery to fix the torn labrum in his left shoulder that occurred when he crashed into the wall at Coors Field last August. Kemp is the Dodgers heart and soul of the lineup, and the two-time All-Star finally got back on the field this week in Spring Training.
Crawford is a different story.
The Dodgers picked up Crawford from the Boston Red Sox during their huge fire sale of 2012, just two days after he had season-ending Tommy John surgery. Crawford was scheduled to return to the diamond this week as well, but his hitting session was cancelled. The Los Angeles Daily News‘ J.P. Hoornstra reported that Crawford would be held out for a week due to lingering effects from his surgery.
When you look at the Dodgers’ 2013 roster right now, it almost looks like a Fantasy Baseball manager’s dream. But in baseball, throwing together a group of talent doesn’t always (make that rarely) get you a championship. Just ask any New York Yankees fan. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly knows this all too well.
Kemp and Crawford are crucial to the Dodgers, and the team has a lot riding on them. But even more than that, the team has a lot riding on Crawford and some of the other spectacular talent they picked up late last season and during the off-season to be able to gel into a unit.
The Lakers banked on the same thing, and so far, the house is winning that bet. Not only will the Lakers probably not win the NBA Championship this year, but there are doubts in the minds of many that they will even make the playoffs. It’s not outside the realm of thinking that the same thing could possibly happen to the Dodgers if this collective still operates like a lot of individual parts.
Right now, Dodgers fans can only hope that when all is said and done, their boys in blue more resemble the city’s other NBA franchise.