Four days before pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to camp, and here are six questions the
Most of the tough questions about this year’s Dodgers won’t be answered until the season is well underway. Although if we learn in the spring that
Here are six things they do hope to learn:
Can Joc Pederson win the center-field job?
That's their unspoken plan. Despite his remarkable season last year at triple-A, he still needs to demonstrate he's ready to be an everyday player in the majors. It's almost been set up as a spot for him to lose.
Plan B could involve some shuffling, including playing Yasiel Puig in center.
Will they trade
This figures to have a lot to do with how Pederson looks early this spring. Ethier will be fighting not only to win back a starting spot here, but also to impress other clubs enough to pique trade interest.
He's made it clear he's done being a backup, and if he's asked to start the season on the bench, doesn't figure to be a happy camper.
Will the new bullpen be better than the old one?
OK, something of a trick question, since last season, the bullpen emerged as the team's great weakness and almost has to be improved. But there could easily be four new faces in this year's bullpen, and that's a lot of new arms to find roles for.
And role-playing hasn't exactly been a team strength with recent Dodgers teams.
That's what the Dodgers' new front office team has been selling, and it may be proved correct. "Functionality" became the off-season buzz word.
They certainly lost plenty of power with the exits of Kemp and Ramirez, but the Dodgers claim they now have a deeper, more practical lineup that includes switch-hitters Rollins and Grandal.
Who will line up as the sixth starter?
OK, they only need five starting pitchers. It's just that teams actually use the same starting five all season about as often as it snows on the Huntington Beach Pier.
Last season, the Dodgers got 137 starts from their expected rotation (Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu,
They need to figure out how Joe Wieland, Carlos Frias,
Mattingly is in the second year of a three-year contract extension signed under former General Manager Ned Colletti. There's a new team upstairs now, a young one with its own ideas and greater emphasis on statistical analysis.