Sports Out West

How the West Was Won: The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Story

Let’s pretend that the Los Angeles Dodgers are done spending before the 2013 baseball season. Just from looks alone, it would be hard to argue against the Los Angeles Dodgers’ claim as the National League West division favorite; let alone World Series favorite.

Last year, both Los Angeles baseball teams bought and traded for powerful lineups — both with the bat and on the mound. While most of the news and hype belonged to the boys in red, it is the Dodgers that may have the better of the two. Just for starters, here’s the lineup (if everyone comes back healthy):

Carl Crawford LF

Mark Ellis 2B

Matt Kemp CF

Adrian Gonzalez 1B

Hanley Ramirez SS

Andre Ethier RF

Luis Cruz 3B

A.J. Ellis C

pitcher

On paper, it is stacked, and that is just the hitting lineup. To recap, that’s six former All-Stars in the lineup, five players that hit 20 home runs or more, and great speed in Crawford and Kemp. Most of the players listed are near the prime or just beginning the twilight of their careers. That’s even considering the lineup is missing shortstop Dee Gordon as well.

The positives are apparent: power and speed, balanced righty and lefty bats, and superstar depth to boot.

The negatives loom as well: age and decline, injuries, and inconsistency (see: Hanley Ramirez) may plague the overall campaign. The hiring of hitting coach Mark McGuire may help the slumps in the dog days of summer, but it will be up to the superstars to do the work.

On the other side of the lineup card, the Los Angeles Dodgers also stockpiled a pitching rotation of former Cy Young winners, Clayton Kershaw and expensive acquisitions Zack Greinke, Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley, and Japanese import Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Arcade Fightsticks for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3

They may not be done trading or signing new players. With the Winter Meetings all but done and the “Hot Stove” beginning, the Dodgers should not be counted out of any new developments for players, pitchers or hitters alike. Besides, they may even trade Gordon, Ethier or either pitcher Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano, or Ted Lilly.

The major league team looks solid enough, but the depth extends to the farm system. The surprise behind all of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ successes in acquisitions was that it did not cost the team its future. There exists the outfield bat of Cuban slugger, Yasiel Puig. His seemingly random signing to the boys in blue led to many headlines questioning what would be the start of a ludicrous spending spree. On the mound, top prospect Zach Lee remained on the team after the Boston Red Sox swap last season, and he’s as ready to perform on the big league level as any pitching prospect.

While there exists some issues, the Dodgers do stand a great chance to win it all this season. Like many other contending hopefuls, pitfalls and issues will come up, but the future looks great. All the other teams can do is give opinions and critique.

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Timothy Lee

Timothy Lee is a sports and video game journalist born and raised in Southern California. He is great at finding the important detail in the mundane and ordinary. He has published articles for Riot Games, IGN.com, 1UP.com, Rotowire.com, and SBNation.