Coming into the 2007 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers were a popular pick to take the flag in the National League West.
Last year, the Dodgers won 88 games and claimed the NL wild card. Over the winter, they added such notable talents as Jason Schmidt, Juan Pierre and Randy Wolf. They are a game-and-a-half ahead of the Diamondbacks going into Thursday play after taking two out of three at Dodger Stadium this week. So the best is yet to come for L.A., right? Well, probably not.
What's likely going to undermine the Dodgers this season — and, in the long term, keep them from hanging with the D'backs and San Diego Padres — is an offense that simply isn't up to snuff....
Moreover, don't be surprised if, after the D'backs' young bats — Chris Young, Stephen Drew, Conor Jackson and Carlos Quentin — finally wake up (and they will), Arizona begins to pull away in the West. They're simply a better team.
Sure, the Dodgers will hang in there and likely finish with a winning season. However, a great deal of the optimism surrounding the Dodgers this season was misplaced. Much of that has to do with an over-valuing of their off-season moves. Pierre, while exciting, is on balance a mediocre performer who has no power and is an inefficient base-stealer. As for Schmidt, he has a promising recent history, but he's still an injury-prone hurler on the wrong side of his prime (and with no clear timetable for his return from the DL).
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Posted by Orel at 10:16 PM