Manager Don Mattingly believed that the Los Angeles Dodgers squad he brought out of spring training would be good enough to make the playoffs. Although few people believed him, the teamâ€™s 31-13 start proved otherwise. Along the way, the Dodgers added a slew of talented veterans, including Hanley Ramirez, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, and along with Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, the Dodgers have the core of their team set for the next handful of years.
However, they still failed to make the playoffs and clearly have a bit of work to do as the offseason begins. At one point, it seemed that starting pitching would be a strength for the Dodgers but experts and MLB odds makers saw it become a weakness in the 2012 season.
On paper, the Dodgers look healthy with Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Beckett, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang and Ted Lilly. However, Billingsley may require surgery for a torn ligament in his elbow, which could cost him the 2013 season, Lilly is fresh off surgery himself (although he should be ready for spring training) and Kershaw battled a hip injury towards the end of the regular season.
That leaves Capuano, Beckett and Harang, who are all veterans but are somewhat inconsistent. It would be ideal to see Beckett return to the ranks of the leagueâ€™s elite pitchers because that could potentially give the Dodgers as stellar trio with Kershaw and Billingsley. However, if he doesnâ€™t regain that caliber and Billingsley is out for 2013, the Dodgers are again putting too much weight on Kershawâ€™s back.
New ownership has already invested a lot of money in the team but picking up a stud like Zack Greinke would be a huge boost to the Dodgers. Regardless, they need another good arm to feel better about their chances in 2013.