1. Clayton Kershaw will pitch for the Dodgers. Pretty obvious, sure, but made more urgent because the Dodgers lack a true number-five starter, forcing them to carry 12 pitchers on the roster and do silly things like play Russell Martin at third base. The only question is when Kershaw is promoted: Bill Plaschke says sooner; common sense says later.
2. Jonathan Broxton will become the Dodgers' closer. The era of the dominant closer is over, and the Dodgers are not exempt. Takashi Saito and his 65 career saves have been a bargain and a blessing for the Dodgers, but he's already reached half his blown saves total from last year (4). Meanwhile, Broxton has been quietly effective as Saito's setup man. Expect those roles to switch.
3. Nomar Garciaparra will play his last game. Ever. Too brittle for everyday play and lacking the power to DH, Nomar will find little interest in the free-agent market. And why would he want to move wife Mia Hamm and their twins to another city? Nomar's status as a Los Angeles fan favorite means he'll always have a home in the Dodger organization. And a paycheck, too—the Dodgers are paying him a $2.5 million signing bonus over 2009-10.
4. Blake DeWitt and Andy LaRoche will do battle for sole proprietorship of third base. DeWitt has the head start—that is, if all that airline food doesn't do him in—putting up serviceable numbers and playing (anecdotally) above-average defense. LaRoche has the weight of pre-season expectations but also a higher immediate upside. A healthy LaRoche wins this battle.
5. Rafael Furcal will get extended. One of Ned Colletti's first deals was also one of his best ("I came to the Dodgers because they gave the better deal to me," said Furcal, refreshingly B.S.-free). Now Furcal is saying he wants to finish his career a Dodger and Colletti has indicated interest might be mutual, although such a deal would be outside his short-contract comfort zone. But if Furcal re-signs, he would anchor a defensively outstanding infield that could benefit the team for years.