While most viewed the Los Angeles Dodgers' 2011 season to be a failure, they actually had success hidden underneath all the failure. With swirling rumors behind Frank McCourt's divorce and misuse of the team's funds, the Dodgers actually finished with a winning record of 82-79.
They finally found their key players in Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw, and neither is predicted to regress this season. The Dodgers finally locked up Kemp for the long term, signing him for eight years at $160 million.
The team is in the process of selling to new owners, and it is presumed that one of baseball's most storied franchises will be under new ownership for the start of the 2012 season. After the team sells, the new owners will be able to re-negotiate their television contract, à la the Miami Marlins. After the TV deal is completed, the franchise will finally have money to spend on next season's free agents, a list that includes Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, Josh Hamilton, B.J. Upton and Shane Victorino.
While the 2013 season looks like the Dodgers' start of a new era, 2012 looks about the same. The Dodgers' payroll is currently at $105,112,432, with $21,712,432 committed to: Manny Ramirez, Andruw Jones, Rafael Furcal, Juan Pierre, Jon Garland, Hiroki Kuroda and Casey Blake.
Kemp and Kershaw have to lead the Dodgers for the entire season, while rookies such as Dee Gordon and Jerry Sands have to step up to the plate.
What does this season have in store for the Dodgers? Let's find out.