A pair of pillars propped up the
Clayton Kershaw dominated from the left side,
In the winter, Greinke bolted for a $206-million offer from the
When Greinke departed, the Dodgers faced a decision. The team could pursue another front-line starter. Or it could bolster the organizational depth. The latter route won out, as the team added
With the addition of Kazmir, the return of
The organization has an impressive amount of depth. Yet uncertainty surrounds so many of their pitchers. Kazmir struggled after joining the
If the group gels, it could mitigate the loss of Greinke. But there are still a lot of unknowns. Here are the other main issues facing the latest edition of the Dodgers:
How will Roberts handle the club as a first-year manager?
After the Dodgers parted ways with Don Mattingly in the fall, Roberts zoomed past eight other candidates to win the managerial opening. He was impressive with his positive energy and insistence on team unity. He emphasized the collective over the individual as critical to the team's fortunes.
Implementing this vision with the team will not be simple. The outfield remains full, with
In years past, the Dodgers clubhouse was a breeding ground for tension. The team hopes this era has passed, but Roberts still needs to establish a relationship with Puig, perhaps the organization's most talented, temperamental asset.
Which version of Puig will perform?
Puig captivated the sport upon his arrival in the majors in 2013. His performance has steadily declined since then, falling further last season. Hampered by hamstring injuries, Puig appeared in only 79 games and hit just .255. He was not a factor in the team's first-round playoff defeat to the Mets.
Puig was asked to shed some weight during the off-season, and he insists he took the message to heart.
The team still must handle Puig's tendency toward tardiness and lapses in concentration. Roberts met with Puig at the team's Fan Fest at the end of January. Roberts promised Puig a clean slate. Puig also indicated he planned to speak with Kershaw during
Will youth rule the day?
In Pederson, the Dodgers possess a center fielder blessed with tremendous power, a rare gift in today's game. Pederson smashed 20 homers in the first half of 2015, but fell apart in the second half as he struggled to make adjustments to opposing pitchers.
If Pederson and Seager progress, the team will be equipped with a pair of dynamic offensive forces. If the duo suffers the normal growing pains of younger players, the team must adapt. While Ethier and Thompson could handle center field, the organization lacks a credible backup plan at shortstop.
How will the surgically repaired Dodgers perform?
Turner emerged as one of the team's best hitters during the previous two seasons. Grandal hit 14 homers in the first half of 2015 but only two the rest of the way as his body broke down. Hernandez provides depth at many positions.
The greatest strength of the Dodgers — besides the left arm of Kershaw — is depth. Still, the club hopes all three can recover without issue and make it through spring training to opening day.