Here is a shocker. No, not that kind of shocker; Nomar Garciaparra is already hurt and 'doubtful' for the season opener. So Grady Little is out and Joe Torre is in. Not sure if that is an upgrade or not. However, it is true that the Dodgers are the second largest city in the country, actually maybe largest but they still don't spend like the Yanks. Torre always had the talent around him and yet still only won 4 World Series. Is that a testament to his management or a detraction?
Why the hell did this team pay Andruw Jones to be their centerfielder when they have three ballers in Juan Pierre, Andre Ethier, and Matt Kemp? This team has sick young talent and they are stunting their growth with signings like A-Jones for 2 years $36.5 million. Let's not sleep on Delwyn Young either. The dude is in the mold of Kemp, Ethier and James Loney. Straight stick that can hit for average and has speed and natural baseball ability. Maybe a platoon of all 5 guys is the right decision for now, but I can guarantee unless one of these young outfielders is moved before spring training 2009, that contract will be killing this franchise.
You have the old dudes in Jeff Kent and Nomar Garciaparra, both injury prone liabilities, and not much in the form of a solid back up. Mark Sweeney could crack the line up at first once and a while if needed but he is not taking at bats away from baller James Loney. Rafael Furcal is more than solid at shortstop, but needs to get that batting average up if he thinks he is either elite or a top of the order kind of guy. Look for Kent to slowly hand this team over to the noobs in Loney, Either and Kemp, finally. Oh wait, how could I forget to mention all-star catcher, Russell Martin? Dude is solid and will continue to build on a promising career. Plus he has a veteran pitching staff and doesn't need to be any kind of leader just yet.
Brad Penny, Derek Lowe, Chad Billingsley... OH MY. This team has one of, if not the best top 3 starting rotation in the National League. I have no idea who Hiroki Kuroda is, especially since this appears to be his first year in the "U.S. of America". There are worse #5's than Esteban Loaiza, although he is coming off an injury and fading fast in the history of Major League Baseball, but still has $8 mil in guaranteed cash! Money! Chan Ho Park might be making a return if Loaiza can't do it, but look for balla Clayton Kershaw to come up mid way through the season. Although, the thought of that scares the shit out of me especially with Joe Torre and his penchant for riding young pitchers and their arms into the ground.
The N.L. West is ridiculous, in fact it puts the East to shame. It is nearly impossible to predict how that division will play out but barring major catastrophe with the regime change the Dodgers will push at least for the wild card.