Zack Greinke, Matt Kemp, and Clayton Kershaw (left to right) offer one strong core to build around in Los Angeles. (Image Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

2013 MLB Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers

It was a season of transition for the Los Angeles Dodgers in some regards, as the team’s ownership situation finally became finalized early last season. The new Dodger way wasn’t fully established until this winter, though hints at the new freer-spending ways were evident early. The Dodgers took on a big chunk of future salary commitments over the summer, picking up Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins and landing Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Carl Crawford from the Red Sox. Add in Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu this winter and suddenly the Dodgers have a strong rotation to pair with their much-improved lineup. After finishing in 2nd place last season, at 86-76, there’s reason for optimism in LA once again.

With the start of the 2013 Regular Season upon us, it seemed like the ideal time to check in with each of our team sites here at FanSided MLB and check out what our experts have to say on the upcoming season. Let’s check in with Lasorda’s Lair Co-Editor Scott Andes, and see what he had to say about the team’s best and worst case scenarios, as well as what’s most likely to happen.

Best Case Scenario

The Dodgers are under a lot of pressure, and the expectations after all of the blockbuster trades, and free agent signings is sky high. Dodger fans are expecting results. The best case scenario I would think would be a three part outcome. First the starting lineup gels and becomes one of the most feared offenses in the National League. Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez, and Hanley Ramirez all hit between 20-30 home runs, and drive in 90-100 runs. Carl Crawford excels as lead-off hitter, regaining his all-star form. The pitching staff dominates led by Clayton Kershaw, and Zack Greinke, and the bullpen shuts down the opposition. Stage one: Defeat the evil Giants to win the NL West. Stage two, defeat all National league opposition to advance to the World Series. Stage three: win it all. If everyone stays healthy the best case scenario has the Dodgers living up to the pre-season hype and bringing the World Series back to Chavez Ravine where it rightfully belongs. All of Los Angeles explodes into a delirium of joy and celebration as the Dodgers win their seventh world championship. Looks like money can buy happiness!

Worst Case Scenario

The worst case frightens me to death, but it’s always a possibility. Hanley Ramirez is already o9ut for two months with a thumb injury. The injury bug hits the Dodgers again. Just like last June. Half the starting lineup pulls a hamstring, and the Dodgers are forced to call on the punch- and-Judy hitting bench guys to populate the lineup. Kershaw tears his hip, or Greinke’s elbow problems flare up again. If the injuries the Dodgers struggle to score runs throughout the summer. The pitching staff just can’t support the lack of offensive production, nor can the club keep up with all the injuries. Despite the generally solid pitching, the Dodger season is once again doomed by injuries and poor hitting. Oh god, I can’t even write this part. Yuck.

Most Likely to Happen

What’s likely to happen is something in the middle probably. As long as everyone stays healthy especially Kemp and Kershaw, then the Boys in Blue should be fine. The Dodgers appear to be a team with a strong roster built to make a deep run into October with a lineup loaded with all-star sluggers , a powerful starting rotation, and a shutdown bullpen. I wish I could say with certainty that the Dodgers will win it all, but the games are played on the field and not on paper. Still as I said, the Dodgers are a good team. I’ll say the Dodgers win 90 games, and make the playoffs as NL West Champs. A date with the evil World Series Champion Giants in the NLCS seems inevitable. I’ll take the Dodgers in seven.

It was a war for the headlines in LA this winter, with both the Dodgers and Angels trying to outspend one another to bring the best team to the city. The Dodgers have a stronger foundation to build from, plus the sexiness of Magic Johnson as part of the new ownership group, that work in their favor but ultimately this debate will be settled by whichever teams wins first. The Dodgers appear to be in primed position to take that next step, as they could seriously contend in the NL West for a division crown with a roster led by Greinke, Kemp, Kershaw, and more.

For more on the Dodgers throughout the regular season, be sure to keep up with Lasorda’s Lair.

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