The Los Angeles Dodgers come into 2012 off of a disappointing 2011 campaign, finishing third in the National League Western Division.
The Dodgers finished their season on a high note going 34-20 over the last two months of the season, and finally looked to hit their stride. Especially since many of the young players the Dodgers trotted out last summer were still getting used to the rigors of the major leagues and facing better talent, the strong finish gave hope that 2012 might be the season everything clicks together and brings some glory back to Chavez Ravine.
Second-year manager Don Mattingly does not have too many major decisions to make in determining his lineup for Opening Day this season, as general manager Ned Colletti was active this offseason: He signed second baseman Mark Ellis, starting pitchers Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano and re-signed left fielder Juan Rivera.
Along with bringing in some complementary pieces such as utility man Jerry Hairston Jr., reliever Todd Coffey and backup catcher Matt Treanor, Colletti managed to spread his decreased payroll around to bring in a new wave of Dodgers.
With the core of the team returning, anchored by NL MVP runner-up Matt Kemp, the Dodgers have an established identity going into the early part of spring training. It is only a matter of getting contributors like Andre Ethier, James Loney, Juan Uribe and the aforementioned Rivera to heat up and find their optimal place in the batting order.
Let’s check out where each Dodger will be batting come April 5th in San Diego, opening night for the Blue Crew.