Spring is here and Los Angeles Dodgers baseball is looking good on the ownership front. New daring financial players have thrown a boatload of cash to fund a rich contender on the freeway fast lane side of the City of Angels, but will the current crop of mega-trade talent click with the social intangibles of a champion?
When the NBA‘s Magic Johnson led the consortium group that bought this team and saved it from the McCourt tort years, public consensus breathed a sigh of relief but was not without apt reservation.
The cool Los Angeles Lakers legend is not the pivotal baseball money man. The bigwigs who surround him may be green old money team sports businessmen who treat the job of star-stocking a west coast winner like a fun-in-the-sun arbitrary numbers game.
So the new brass breed chose to upgrade LA with leftovers from a castaway Boston Red Sox talent pool of lackluster and injury-prone question marks. But you don’t take a dice roll gamble approach to rebuild a ball club whose salad days have turned into decades without marquee franchise players or champagne on ice.
Just when you thought they had donned a power play aura for a new era, a one-man pitcher effort made it a false positive. The blue boys’ 3-0 shutout yesterday at the hands of the San Francisco Giants marks only one inning of L.A. plate production in two games.
While the embattled Boston flea market trade made for jock shock bicoastal drama, it was not enough for an offensive upgrade. Supporting cast speedsters can fill base paths, but there is not an impressive core of long-ball bashers on this club to drive them home and carry the team for the long term.
If LA has to rely on pitching alone, it will be in for a rude awakening. The NL renaissance is more than pitcher-perfect. Competition has evolved from small ball to new jack city.
With fragile Carl Crawford limited to spot starts day-to-day, the Dodgers must be itching to call up Yasiel Puig, who may very well be the big man to inject some rookie enthusiasm into this mega buck budget experiment. It’s safe to say that they should have added him to their 25-man roster to pad their new-look offense in the first place.
But as to whether the Cuban phenom can straw the numbers to stir their drink, only time will tell. It’s so early in the season that it’s best to take an anything-can-happen approach, and I still expect this team to fulfill a destiny born of a change in owners.
The front office suits can afford to spend their way to re-correct any bumps or detours in the rebuilding process, the first being the karma limbo of settling for a bunch of bruised and abused AL mercenaries.