There are teams out there that get nervous about spending a ton of money and take chances in any sport. The same statement goes for baseball, there are big market teams and small market teams. In Major League Baseball there is one team not afraid to open their check book, for example the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers have the largest payroll in baseball. L.A. has made the playoffs the past four seasons but still no World Series.
The Dodgers have some of the most notable players in baseball, some of them new to the game, some of the stars have been with the franchise for quite some time. Clayton Kershaw will once again lead the way for the Dodgers pitching staff after coming off a stellar 2016. This will be Kershaw’s 10th season for L.A., in all those years with the club he has never had a losing record. The Dodgers ace has an all-time MLB record of 126-60 with an ERA of 2.37 striking out almost 2,000 hitters. Clayton ranks 94th on the Major League Baseball list for strikeouts with 1,918. To back up Kershaw, the Dodgers will also start Julio Urias who started 15 games his rookie season recording 5 wins and only 2 losses. Dodger fans are looking for Urias to be the ace of the future. The Dodgers are also looking at Rich Hill to potentially be in the mix for a starting role. Hill maybe 37 years ago but he still got the job done last season going 12-5 with an ERA of 2.37. Rich Hill spent time with LA and Boston in 2016. The Dodgers also have Kenta Maeda returning to the pitching staff after his rookie season. Maeda had 16 wins which was good enough for the team lead. If you’re an opposing team of the Dodgers and trailing late in the game, coming back would be a real challenge as you will be facing one of the best closers in the game.
Kenley Jansen is entering his 8th season with the defending West Division Champions. Jansen will be the closer, in 2016 he saved 47 games which tied for 2nd best in Major League Baseball. The Dodgers also added former Giants closer Sergio Romo to be their set up man in the 8th inning. Staging a rally on this team will be a very difficult task.
Preventing the Dodgers from even getting a lead will be far from easy. The starting lineup will look almost the same as 2016. The division winners had 5 players a year ago with 18 homers or more. All five of those players will be in the opening day lineup. The two leaders were Justin Turner and Yasmani Grandal who each had 27 home runs. Despite off the field issues the team expects Yasiel Puig to return to his dominate forum in 2017. Power hitting first baseman Adrian Gonzalez will begin his fifth full season with the Dodgers since being traded in 2012 from Boston.
With the combination of young players and veterans, the Dodgers look to be one of the most put together teams in baseball. L.A. has the largest payroll of any team in baseball. Despite making the playoffs each of the last four season they still have not made a World Series. The last time the franchise made it to the fall classic was in 1988, since then 24 of the other 29 teams have made it. Could this be the year for the Dodgers?