Five Major Questions for the 2016 Los Angeles Dodgers

 Source: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America

Source: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America

Will injuries harm the team again?

Here’s a fun/gruesome fact about the 2015 Dodgers: They got hurt. A lot. Ryu’s and McCarthy’s injuries were the most significant and damaging, but they were far from the only ones:

Justin Turner dealt with knee soreness that required regular days off for the entire season. He had major offseason surgery on that knee and might not be ready for Opening Day.

Hernandez strained his hamstring just as he was emerging as the best feel-good story on the team. He also had offseason surgery on his throwing shoulder. Hernandez will likely enter spring training in a battle for the starting second baseman job against 37-year-old Chase Utley. Utley only played in 107 games last season.

Howie Kendrick, the man either Hernandez or Utley will replace, spent a month on the disabled list in the home stretch of the season due to a severely strained hamstring.

Jimmy Rollins sprained his left hand in a rogue attempt to steal third and missed two weeks during the home stretch of the season. (That was actually for the best; by the time Rollins was healthy, he had lost his starting job to phenom Corey Seager).

Carl Crawford missed three months with a torn oblique and didn’t appear to be at full strength after he returned.

Puig strained his left hamstring (I’m noticing a trend here), rushed his rehab, and wound up missing a month. He later missed most of the final six weeks of the season after straining his right hamstring and while he did make the NLDS roster, he was clearly incapacitated.

Jansen didn’t make his season debut until the middle of May because of a foot surgery.

At that rate, it was almost miraculous the 33-year-old Adrian Gonzalez and horribly injury-prone Brett Anderson somehow stayed healthy throughout the entire year. Not to mention Kershaw and Greinke, who threw the most combined innings out of any one-two starter punch in baseball last season. The Dodgers have beefed up their pitching depth to prevent another Ryu/McCarthy fiasco; however, their position player depth still looks a bit thin. Given that most of those injuries listed above took place during the second half of the season, it should come as no surprise that the Dodgers scored the third-fewest runs in the major leagues after the 2015 All-Star break.

Can they count on a healthier 2016? Andrew Freidman sure hopes so.

3 Responses

  1. Michael N. Norris

    Lets put it this way…….fans HAD high expectations. If Greinke was still a Dodger and they had that lock down 1-2 punch they had last year with the new additions, then yeah. BUT, this is a flawed roster filled with more holes than Swiss cheese.

    Reply
  2. bandrewv

    Basically none of the hitters in last year’s lineups had spectacular years. Bright spots, there were a few, but we won 92 games despite the fact, as was mentioned in the article, we had the 3rd lowest run production in the second half of the season. I think it is fair to count on most of this lineup regressing and showing improvement back to more typical production (maybe not for Crawford, he seems to be done…). All over the diamond, I think you can say, “odds are that guy will be better than he was last year.” I feel OK about the starting lineup and feel perfectly comfortable in Friedman’s judgement of what it takes to get this team back into the playoffs. Lucky for him, he has the resources to make in-season moves. Better to be in a decent position with plenty of options to start the season, than a marginally better position with much fewer options. As we’ve seen time and time again, it’s all about getting into the playoffs. Once there, it’s anyone’s guess who will take the crown! So, in my humble opinion, Friedman, if you can get us to the playoffs year-in and year-out, that’s the #1 most important thing. I’ll take the opportunity to coin flip over the “guarantee” of a championship any day.

    Reply
  3. Carlos Rendo

    Great article! Unfortunately, I injured my hamstring reading it.

    Reply

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