With the Boston Red Sox finishing off the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of the 2013 World Series, the betting lines have already started speculating on the odds-on-favorite for the 2014 World Series. Bill Plunkett, writer for the Orange County Register, reported last night that the Los Angeles Dodgers are those favorites:
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) October 31, 2013
As nice as it is to see others recognize the Dodgers’ prowess and for them to think of the Boys in Blue as a powerhouse, I believe the status as favorites is a bit premature. The Dodgers certainly have a solid squad and will have a majority of the same group back next year, but, in order to make a run at the 2014 World Series, the team still needs to fill some holes and acquire the right pieces.
The Dodgers have 12 players who will be free agents in the winter offseason. For a complete breakdown on what will most likely happen with each one of them, see my slideshow from yesterday. The gist of the story is that the Dodgers will likely part ways with some of their utility players like Jerry Hairston and probably even relief pitcher Brian Wilson. It will be vitally important for the organization to replace them and several of their pitchers who also will not return to the team after free agency.
If the Dodgers can fill these gaps well and add some more pieces, they may very well make a run to the World Series next season. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of work to be done by Ned Colletti and the rest of the Dodgers before that can become a reality. I am optimistic for their chances, but am realistic that they will not just coast to the World Series, no matter how much talent fills the Dodgers’ roster.