|2007 Postmortem: The Los Angeles Dodgers|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on December 10, 2007
2007 Season Postmortem the Los Angeles Dodgers
Highlight of the season:Â It wasnâ€™t a pretty season for the Dodgers but the team hung tough well into August and kept the Western race a four way affair for a lot longer than anyone expected.Â Even though the Dodgers were clearly outclassed by teams that could pitch and hit better they managed to post a winning record.Â The emergence of a lot of the young and semi proven talent like James Loney (.331-15-67), Matt Kemp (.342-10-42 with 47 runs and 10 steals), Russell Martin (.293-19-87)Â and Takashi Saito (1.40 ERA, 2-1 with 39 saves and 78 Kâ€™s in 64.1 innings) showed they were on the right track.
Low point of the season:Â Being outstripped by the Padres and Rockies really hurt - especially for a franchise that hasnâ€™t been cutting corners when it came to signing players to big contracts.Â But the Dodgers just couldnâ€™t find a way to make it happen and while the Diamondbacks sat ahead of he Dodgers for the majority of the season the team could take some solace that they still were better than the Rockies - at least until September when the Rockies ran away from a falling Dodgers team and left the Dodgers sitting alone in fourth place.
Best move of the season:Â Waiting for the highly touted youngsters to show up and preview just what they can do.Â Matt Kemp, James Lonely, Andre Ethier and Russell Martin have all emerged as quality major leaguers and have a ton of upside.Â Hanging onto them instead of trading them away in a desperate attempt to make the playoff should pay dividends down the line.
Worst move of the season:Â When the Dodgers signed Juan Pierre to a five year free agent deal it didnâ€™t look like a great move but rather like the Dodgers were overreaching.Â Â But on the surface his 2007 numbers look pretty good - Pierre led off stole bases and he was driven home 96 times.Â But that wasnâ€™t the whole story - his weak arm, .331 OBP and .685 OPS showed weaknesses, so much so that the Dodgers have been talking about moving him to left field where his fielding will be less of a liability.
The Jason Schmidt acquisition could also be called a bust but due to injury and with just 25 innings pitched its hard to judge just how well he could have pitched.
Key Player:Â Jeff Kent.Â You can say what you want about this seemingly ancient second baseman but there is a reason that Jeff Kent is a lock for the Hall of Fame.Â Thatâ€™s because he puts up numbers that are better than just about any other second baseman in the Majors.Â Kent led the team in both average and home runs.Â He also provided a veteran presence which this young team really needed.
Up and Coming Player:Â Matt Kemp.Â The largely unheralded Kemp is a big power bat and could be the central threat in the Dodgers lineup for the next five years.Â In just 292 at bats Kemp parked 10 baseballs deep in the stands, stole 10 bases and hit .312.Â Heâ€™s a legitimate speed/power guy and as heâ€™s only 23 the sky is the limit.
What went right:Â As mentioned before the Dodgers young talent really began to manifest but it really wasnâ€™t enough to carry the team.Â Â Even with a solid season by Jeff Kent the Dodgers finished 10th in runs scored.
That left the Dodgers pitching to try to make up for some of the slack, and well they did.Â The Dodgers finished sixth overall in pitching in the National League behind a threesome of solid pitchers lead by Brad Penny (16-43.03), Derek Lowe (12-14,3.88) and Chad Billingsley 12-5, 3.31). But the relief pitching was good too.Â
What went wrong:Â Â The offense failed to score many runs and the youngsters really canâ€™t be faulted for that.Â Disappointing seasons by Nomar Garciaparra, Luis Gonzalez and Rafael Furcal dragged the team down and kept the Dodgers out of contention.
Offseason Preview:Â The Dodgers are going to have a new look in 2008.Â New skipper Joe Torre will lead the charge as will rather expensive free agent Andruw Jones.Â That should leave the Dodgers with a surfeit of outfielders which will make either Andre Either or Juan Pierre the likely man out and both have decent trade value. That trade value will likely be applied towards gaining a third baseman or adding depth to the pitching staff.