"We'll see," Mattingly said Wednesday
The Dodgers won 94 games in 2014. They were the champions of a division that included the
Back at Dodger Stadium for a development camp for the organization's top prospects, the manager said that the Dodgers lost some offensive firepower when Kemp was traded to the
"I think there are always concerns when you lose Matt Kemp," Mattingly said. "You're losing a guy who was a tremendous offensive player for us last year the second half of the season. Hanley, tremendous offensive player."
But Mattingly said the Dodgers probably won't have to score as much as they did last season to win games, pointing to a new middle infield with
By trading Kemp, another below-average defender, the Dodgers can move rookie Joc Pederson into center field and return
Mattingly thinks the Dodgers have a team that can better compete in the kinds of low-scoring environments they will encounter in the playoffs.
"Over 162 games, you think that the team that's the best over that time is going to win," Mattingly said. "When you get into five games, seven games, that's a different thing. It's a different mentality of how do we get on base, how do we put the ball in play? We have to catch everything."
Mattingly also sounded optimistic about his team's reconfigured bullpen, which replaced the likes of
Without mentioning Kemp and Ramirez specifically, Mattingly talked about the challenges he faced last season as he tried to manage a team with several oversized personalities. The current construction of the roster, he implied, could alleviate some of those problems.
"I think the pieces fit together more as a baseball team than a collection of talent," Mattingly said.
One source of tension last season was Mattingly's decision to take Kemp out of his preferred position in center field.
In the wake of Kemp's trade to the Padres, Mattingly reached out to the two-time All-Star. He never heard back.
"It doesn't necessarily bother me," Mattingly said. "I'm not sure Matt ever got the text, to be honest. Guys change phone numbers like they change underwear."
Mattingly said he also didn't receive a response from Ramirez.
Even with Kemp and Ramirez playing elsewhere, there could be conflicts in the clubhouse.
Mattingly said he expects
If Pederson fails to win the job, Ethier is expected to be part of a center-field platoon that includes
Carl Crawford is projected as the starter in left field.
As for Puig, Mattingly called on the 24-year-old to improve his focus.
"I really feel sky's the limit with Yasiel," Mattingly said. "I think Yasiel's the only one that gets in his way. … He's just got to concentrate."
Mattingly said he hasn't decided how he'll divide playing time at catcher between newcomer