2009 Los Angeles Dodgers Outlook

Darren Feeney@DFEEN15_SDCorrespondent IMarch 31, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 05:  Manny Ramirez #99 (L) of the Los Angeles Dodgers hugs manager Joe Torre #6 during a news conference on March 5, 2009, at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona, after he re-signed with the Dodgers.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Farewell

P Derek Lowe, P Brad Penny, P Takashi Saito, 2B Jeff Kent (retired), IF Nomar Garciaparra, P Joe Beimel, OF Andruw Jones, P Scott Proctor, SS Ivan DeJesus Jr.

Welcome

2B Orlando Hudson, P Randy Wolf, P Claudio Vargas, IF Mark Loretta, P Guillermo Mota, C Brad Ausmus, P Shawn Estes, P Eric Milton, P Jeff Weaver

Projected Lineup

1 Rafael Furcal SS

2 Matt Kemp CF

3 Russell Martin C

4 Manny Ramirez LF

5 James Loney 1B

6 Andre Ethier RF

7 Casey Blake 3B

8 Orlando Hudson 2B

Projected Starting Rotation

1 - Chad Billingsley
2 - Hiroki Kuroda
3 - Clayton Kershaw

4 - Randy Wolf
5 - Claudio Vargas

Setup: Hong-Chih Kuo

Closer: Jonathan Broxton

Prospect Watch: P James McDonald - Back to back Dodgers Minor League Pitcher of the Year.  With past-their-prime veterans holding down the back of the rotation, McDonald could seize the fifth spot or find his way into the setup role by seasons’ end.  

 

Bottom Line: It was a long and onerous task, but the Dodgers have reclaimed their meal ticket by re-signing the inimitable Manny Ramirez.  "Mannywood" is back and in Dodger Blue for his first full season after carrying the Dodgers to the National League Championship Series.

An above average offense—likely the best in the National League—with speed and power, the only real question marks reside in the pitching staff.  Can Chad Billingsley establish himself as an ace of a pitching staff? Will Clayton Kershaw live up to high expectations? How will Jonathan Broxton handle the role of closer now that the duties are all his? 

Even if a few of these questions don’t go as planned, Los Angeles has a winner—and will likely find a way to do just that—with Joe Torre as Commander in Chief.

Fearless Forecast: A great mix of youth and experience to go along with a manager out to prove his success was not the result of an obscene payroll. Expect Los Angeles to put together back-to-back National League West titles.   

91-71  (First NL WEST)

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