Next up in the series of NL West season preview Q&As: the Los Angeles Dodgers. Chad Moriyama (you can find him on Twitter at @chadmoriyama) was kind enough to answer a few questions about the Dodgers, who are coming off of an 82-79 season.
1. How would you grade the Dodgers’ offseason?
C-. The only thing that prevented this off-season from being a disaster was getting Matt Kemp locked up for the long haul. With a ton of money to spend (despite ownership claims), Ned Colletti brought in Juan Rivera, Mark Ellis, Matt Treanor, Adam Kennedy, Chris Capuano, Jerry Hairston, Aaron Harang, Tony Gwynn Jr., and Mike MacDougal. They should make the Dodgers reasonably competitive in 2012, but there isn’t a true impact player in all that mess, just a cavalcade of mediocre and average. Worse yet, most of them are on two-year deals, which is just mind blowing to me considering he probably won’t even be around in 2013.
2. Best move of the offseason?
Matt Kemp. There’s risk involved, but with a system bereft of bats, he’s one of the few stars Dodgers fans can rally around and he figures to meet his contract expectations unless something catastrophic happens.
3. Worst move?
Tight race between Adam Kennedy and Jerry Hairston, but I’ll go with Kennedy because he figures to be a replacement level player and I think he’s a downgrade from what the Dodgers already have in the system.
4. The Dodgers didn’t finish all that far behind the Giants last season, at 82-79. Where do you see them finishing in 2012?
Barring any significant surprises, the offense figures to be the same or slightly worse, while the pitching staff has seemingly been downgraded. I think it will take either a great deal of luck or a significant amount of surprising performances to get this squad into the playoffs, and I most likely see them finishing 3rd or 4th.
5. What’s the current state of the Dodgers’ farm system? Should we expect big things out of Nathan Eovaldi this year?
Most of the best Dodgers prospects are no longer officially prospects, with Trayvon Robinson traded, Jerry Sands and Rubby De La Rosa not eligible, and Javy Guerra becoming the closer. The rest of the system is completely barren of impact bats at the upper levels, but they do have a ton of mid-20s outfielders that are mashing. Hopefully one of them works out. The pitchers in the system have hope, but besides the aforementioned Nathan Eovaldi, most of them are not ready. Personally, I think Eovaldi could be effective out of the bullpen in 2012, but if the Dodgers want a starter, he’ll have to develop his third pitch and get a little depth to an otherwise flat slider.
The new owner can’t come soon enough.
Thanks again to Chad for taking the time to answer these. You can check out his work here.