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2016 Record: 91-73

2016 Finish: 6th in MLB, 3rd in NL


2016 in Review

Surprises

Dave Roberts had a magical year in Los Angeles. The Dodgers were finally free from the aggravating Don Mattingly style of management. Donny Baseball should be the poster boy for Robert Manfred’s pace of play changes. Mattingly would try to put the game in his hands by controlling the clock, going to a pitcher for just one guy, and doing that multiple times in an inning.IT WAS THE MOST ANNOYING, but he’s in Miami now. Dave Roberts captains the ship in LA.

Dave Roberts faced some tough decisions early on in his first season in Dodger Blue. In his first Major League Start, Ross Stirpling was throwing a no-hitter. The 28-year-old Pennsylvania native, had Tommy John Surgery the season before, was pitching into the 8th inning and had already thrown 100 pitches. Dave Roberts had to make a decision. Pull this kid who has yet to let up a hit, or keep him in and possibly do some damage. Dave Roberts pulled Stirpling. The batter after Stirpling was pulled hit a two-run homer to tie the game and the Dodgers would lose the game in extra innings. This was the first week of Roberts’ season, and he was already being tested. The Dodgers team that plays in Dodger Stadium now is not an easy one to manage. There’s a lot of moving pieces. Lots of guys are not producing at a consistent level, and the ones who are will go into DEEP slumps. It’s a hard one to manage, but when you have a manager who puts his faith in you the way Dave Roberts does, you’ll go places.

The Dodgers almost went the distance in the NLCS with Chicago but fell short. However, this is not the fruits of their labors coming to fruition, this is the beginning of Roberts tapping into the potential of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Mattingly was the kind of manager who says “I know what you can do.” Roberts is the kind of manager who says “Show me what you can do.” That’s what made the difference. That’s what makes Dave Roberts the biggest surprise of the year in LA.

Disappointments

Scot Kazmir is running out of time to fulfill his potential. After being selected in the first round by the New York Mets in 2002, Kazmir spent six years in Tampa Bay, three years in Anaheim and then the next 5 years bouncing around the league, until the Los Angeles Dodgers signed him to the largest deal he’s ever gotten. LA signed Kazmir to a 3-year deal, worth $48 million dollars.

Kazmir is not worth that amount of cash and is only in the second year of that deal. Kazmir also posted a 10 – 6 record, a 4.56 ERA, but only averaged 5 innings a start. Kazmir is getting paid at a higher rate than he should be, and that’s going to become a problem for him moving forward. As we saw with Carl Crawford, the Dodgers are no longer in the mindset that paying a guy what he wants is better than paying a guy what he’s worth. Kazmir’s got to turn it around because he’s getting paid big money to be a backend starter.

Looking Ahead

The Dodgers did a very smart thing this offseason: they didn’t lose too many guys. The 2016 Dodgers roster is pretty much intact for the 2017 campaign. They even made improvements! Logan Forsythe at second is a great addition to the team, coming off a career year in Tampa Bay. Kenta Maeda looked solid in his first year, now all he has to do is continue on that road to success in his second year. The second year for Japanese pitchers is often the breaking point, so if Maeda can stay strong through 2017 it’ll potentially be smooth sailing throughout. The Dodgers are returning with a lot of firepower and a lot of pop at the plate, and it’s no surprise why they have the fourth highest odds of winning the World Series in 2017.

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