February is here and the time for baseball is near. Pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch on February 19. The rest of the team will show up on the 24th.
This has been an interesting off-season filled with surprises. Stan Kasten booted Ned Colletti out of the front office and into a plum job as “Senior Advisor” doing who knows what. Talk about a soft landing. Stan then brought in Andrew Friedman as President, Baseball Operations. Friedman, who worked miracles in Tampa Bay with a shoestring budget, then hired fellow sabermetrician and economist Dr. Farhan Zaidi as General Manager. Former highly regarded General Manager Josh Byrnes was brought in as Senior Vice President, Baseball Operations. Former major leaguer Gabe Kapler, a fitness and nutrition expert and communications advocate, was brought in as Director, Player Development. He has been tasked to make sure that all levels of players are on the same page of the Dodgers way to play the game.
Andrew and his brain trust broke apart the team that won 94 games last year, but failed to get past the Division Series. Gone are Hanley Ramirez, Dee Gordon and Matt Kemp. Dan Haren and Brian Wilson are among the pitchers no longer with the team. The defense got better up the middle with the addition of Jimmy Rollins, Howie Kendrick and Yasmani Grandal. Rookie Joc Pederson will be given a shot at Center Field. Chris Heiser will platoon at Center Field and pinch hit. Pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson could be very good if they stay healthy. Joel Peralta should help the bullpen.
I like the roster so far. In two months, we will have a much better idea of the capabilities of the 2015 Dodgers.