It is put up or shut up time for the Los Angeles Dodgers. This has been the case for a while. An organization that was once the model franchise of MLB has not won or been to a World Series since 1988. This is by far the Dodgers longest championship dry spell since winning their first championship representing Brooklyn in 1955.
The Dodgers seemed poised to make a run in 2012 before injuries beset them. The biggest one was to center fielder Matt Kemp who seemed on his way to an MVP year before injuring his hamstring. Los Angeles never recovered and watched as their hated rivals the San Francisco Giants won the World Series.
The Dodgers made noise at the end of last season by acquiring outfielder Shane Victorino in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies. In the off season Los Angeles signed free agent pitcher Zack Greinke to a $147 million deal. These moves were made with only one thought in mind. Catch the Giants and pass them. The Dodgers feel like the additions of Victorino and Greinke along with a healthy Kemp can help push them into the post season which they just missed by two games last year.
They had better. Since making their last playoff appearance in 2009, Los Angeles has tread water. The Dodgers have won, 80, 82 and 86 games the last three years. All of this while being touted as World Series contenders every year. Meanwhile San Francisco has gone on to win two of the last three World Series.
The biggest reason for Los Angeles’ failures has been their inability to produce at the plate. Despite missing almost 60 games last season Kemp led the club in home runs with 23 and was second in RBI. As a team, the Dodgers batted .252 and hit 116 home runs. This must improve with the talent that they have. Los Angeles has never really been known for its power but with Kemp, outfielder Andre Ethier and first baseman James Loney should produce more runs.
With Greinke joining the pitching staff, the Dodgers hope that he will help Clayton Kershaw solidify a starting rotation that has not pitched up to expectations. The problem is that Greinke is suffering from elbow pain at the present time and Los Angeles is not sure when he will be totally healthy.
The Dodgers are under new ownership with Ervin ‘Magic’ Johnson as one of its stockholders. They want to win right away and expect to. Manager Don Mattingly knows this and would like to please his bosses.
The Dodgers have been a disappointment the last three years to themselves and their fans. It is time for them to put up or shut up.