When your roster costs you a cool $300 Million each year, fans expect deep playoff runs and World Series Titles; but instead the Los Angeles Dodgers are literally turning into baseball’s version of the Cincinnati Bengals. When the dust settled on Thursday night, it was the New York Mets advancing to the 2015 NLCS, and the Dodgers with yet another early exit.
The face of the 2015 Dodgers was undoubtedly pitcher Clayton Kershaw; a very close second would be Zack Greinke. These two performed well in the post-season, but not quite at the level Dodger fans were accustomed to seeing during the regular season. It was the rest of the team that failed to live up to any kind of expectation, no matter how low. With the exception of Justin Turner and Adrian Gonzalez, the team had a total of 8 RBI in 5 games. Aside from Turner & Gonzalez, the team batted just .162 (6/37) with runners in scoring position. Multiple times in Game 5, the Dodgers had deGromm on the ropes – but never put him away. The two runs they scored in the first inning were the only runs scored in the entire game.
All season long, the Dodgers have struggled with men on base – not able to move them along, not aggressively stealing, not hitting sacrifice flys. Let this stat sink in for a bit: the Dodgers had 30 sacrifice flys in 2015… 30. That ranked them 29th in the league – the only team worse was the Philadelphia Phillies, who finished with the worst record in the league.
So what do you do about this roster? Millions of dollars are tied up in injuries and platoon players. We know that the Dodgers were aggressive during last year’s winter meetings, ridding themselves of Matt Kemp, and receiving some quality talent in the process. But Matt Kemp had upside – arguably the only player on this Dodgers roster with that kind of potential is Yasiel Puig. Would the Dodgers be willing to part ways with him? Will anyone take on Carl Crawford’s aging body, let alone his ridiculous contract? Can the Dodgers re-sign Zack Greinke, or does he walk for more money?
Only time will tell what the Dodgers roster will end up looking like; but if the budget is anywhere in the neighborhood of $300 Million again next year, there had better be a World Series appearance to go along with it.