After a disappointing end to the season, Los Angeles Dodgers fans wanted the front office to make moves that would push them from their usual first-round exit from the playoffs to World Series champions. The team with the highest payroll in Major League Baseball by an astounding amount, still has not won a World Series in this century. The abrupt ending resulted in the firing of manager Don Mattingly and a lot of holes to fill in the major league roster. As the offseason went on, the rich Dodgers missed out on David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, and many other top tier free agents. Fans were getting more and more frustrated. How could a team with an opening day payroll of $271 million keep missing out on the star players that would help them achieve greatness?
The Dodgers responded by signing Kenta Maeda, a star pitcher out of Japan, to help their pitching woes, and adding more to the rotation when they signed Scott Kazmir to a three-year contract. They re-signed Howie Kendrick and Chase Utley to add to their depth in the infield. All these moves were good, and are in all likelihood going to keep the Dodgers afloat and will help them stay winning.
The most underrated move in the offseason, however, which people have not spoken about with the attention it deserves, is the hiring of Alex Anthopoulos as their Vice President of Baseball Operations. The shrewd move in picking up the reigning Executive of the Year was, and is, an absolute steal for the organization. In Anthopoulos, the Dodgers have picked up a tireless, selfless, hardworking, and gutsy employee who knows how far to go to pull the trigger on a deal.
After five seasons of mediocrity in Toronto, Anthopoulos finally broke out of his shell, stealing eventual American League MVP Josh Donaldson from the Oakland A’s, signing Russell Martin to add leadership and character, trading for Marco Estrada, and making the Toronto Blue Jays relevant and favorites before the season even started. A slow start to the season and a .500 record at the All-Star break further propelled Anthopoulos to go out there and add the remaining pieces that would make this average team into an absolute powerhouse. At the 2015 trade deadline, the GM went out and got Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, Ben Revere, LaTroy Hawkins, and Mark Lowe. These moves led the Blue Jays to go 42-18 in their last 60 games en route to their first division title in 22 years. The aggressiveness, tenacity, and win-now attitude is exactly what the Dodgers need to make them the powerhouse they should be. They are a living proof that money only takes you so far and the rest is team chemistry and character.
Towards the end of Anthopoulos’ time in Toronto, he stated repeatedly how he had finally figured it out, he had finally learned how to produce a winning product on the field. He stated that over time and with all the experiences he faced, the amount of chemistry and character of players is an integral part of a winning culture. Players who are great clubhouse guys and can help push one another to the best of their abilities are the players who are necessary on a team. With all the problems the Dodgers have faced with chemistry and character, and all the Yasiel Puig drama, Anthopoulos could right the ship and build a Dodgers team that is fun to watch and is winning more often than not. His strategy towards baseball operations and the front office is unbelievable and having him in your corner is a blessing and privilege.
The Los Angeles Dodgers won the offseason. Not by signing a player, but by signing someone who gives his heart and soul to his team, who puts winning above everything, and who is someone you can be proud of running the team’s front office. With Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi, as well as Alex, the Dodgers have become an extremely strong front office and have everything they need to bring a championship back to Los Angeles.
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