The names on the roster don’t guarantee a championship, Adrian Gonzalez warned.
The money the Dodgers spent this winter won’t translate into a playoff appearance if they don’t play the game the right way, Gonzalez said. They have to be focused.
But at some point, the soft-spoken first baseman conceded, “We should win, yeah.”
Luis Cruz offered a similar thought.
“I think next year is going to be our year,” Cruz said.
While attending a Christmas party Wednesday at Dodger Stadium for elementary school students, Gonzalez and Cruz were still smiling as they talked about their team’s recent additions of Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu. The two pitchers cost the Dodgers more than $200 million.
“This is pretty incredible,” Gonzalez said. “We’re going to have a team that should go out there and beat anybody on any given day.”
Gonzalez applauded the front-office’s efforts.
“The front office, the coaching staff, the players all have to be on the same page,” he said. “That’s what makes a good team. That’s what makes a team win. When you have that, that’s special.”
Asked about the expectations that came with fielding the most expensive team in baseball history, Gonzalez pointed to a meeting the players and coaches held at the end of the regular season.
“We’ve already talked about it,” Gonzalez said. “We understand the expectations that are going to be upon us. Expectations are one thing. On paper is one thing. But it comes down to us, it comes down to everybody preparing the way they need to prepare and playing the game the right way.”
Gonzalez then recited one of baseball’s most popular phrases.
“The focus needs to be one game at a time,” Gonzalez said. “I know it’s so cliche. You can’t focused on, ‘How many wins are you going to have?’ If we play the game of baseball the way it’s supposed to be played day in and day out, we’ll be in the playoffs. It’s just a matter of taking care of our bodies, staying healthy and playing the game of baseball the way it’s supposed to be played.”
Many of the Dodgers’ high-priced acquisitions, including Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez, were made during the season. While that failed to produce immediate results, the team showed a glimpse of its potential by winning seven of its last eight games.
“I think the last 15 games of last season, we started playing together,” Cruz said. “I think we’re going to going to carry that into spring training, opening day and the whole season. We want more than what we did last year.”