|Even after trades, Dodgers are skidding||| Print ||
Written by Jim Mancari (Contact & Archive) on September 19, 2012
Then, after the blockbuster deal that landed Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford in LA, the Dodgers were instantly dubbed contenders to represent the NL in the World Series.
However, the “new” Dodgers have yielded results that have been far from expected. The team went 8-13 in the first 21 games since the blockbuster trade and finds itself eight games behind the San Francisco Giants in the NL West and barely contending for the final wild card spot.
The roots of the problem go deeper though. Since acquiring Ramirez on July 25, the Dodgers are just 23-26 in 49 games. Though Ramirez gained a reputation as a negative clubhouse presence in Miami, it’s tough to point at just one player in such a team-oriented sport.
The issue here is just a general lack of team chemistry. Maybe there are now too many personalities on the team, or maybe even there are too many players pressing in order to gain the respect of their teammates or be a team leader.
But whatever is going on, it’s not working.
It’s amazing that the Dodgers were in first place at the All-Star break with a rag-tag group of ballplayers playing well together. Of course, the stars like Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw did much of the heavy lifting, but the team was getting contributions from a variety of sources.
Photo by Ron Reiring, used under creative commons license.
Usually when a team adds a group of players that combined for 17 All-Star appearances, things can only get better. Granted, four of those All-Star appearances belong to Crawford, who was already out for the year at the time of the trade after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but still the talent level the Dodgers added at the waiver-wire trade deadline signified unprecedented moves that late in a season.
The Dodgers now faltering is just another example of money not being able to buy success in baseball. Through all their moves, LA added an additional $260 million in payroll.
What’s worse for the Dodgers is that staff ace Kershaw is out indefinitely with inflammation in his right hip. Doctors said pitching will not cause further damage, but the Dodgers must be cautious with their prized lefty as to not jeopardize his future.
Regardless of how this season turns out, the Dodgers on paper will have a strong team heading into 2013. Such an expensive experiment definitely needs to time to fully unfold.
However, if the team is having trouble winning now, will things be any different next season with basically the same group of players?