The Los Angeles Dodgers have spent the better part of a year transforming themselves into a World Series contender. With pitchers and catchers due to report to the Dodgers’ sprint training facility in Glendale, AZ on Tuesday, February 12, Los Angeles looks like the favorite to win the National League West this season.
The Dodgers have not won the division since 2009, the last time they made the playoffs in any capacity. Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants, L.A.’s chief rival, has won two World Series titles since 2010.
Almost immediately after taking ownership of the team last spring, Guggenheim Baseball Management made a return to playing winning baseball a top priority. Magic Johnson and Co. opened up their wallets, empowering Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti to do whatever it took to turn the team’s fortunes around.
Colletti took that directive literally, making a series of big signings and blockbuster trades to infuse the Dodgers with All-Star-caliber talent all over the diamond. Now, players such as Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Hanley Ramirez and Zack Greinke are all set to play their first full seasons in Los Angeles.
The expectations for the 2013 Dodgers have a World-Series-or-bust feel and understandably so. With a payroll projected to top $213 million on Opening Day—the MLB's Top Payrolls in 2013" target="_blank">highest in MLB ahead of the New York Yankees at $210 million—fans have every reason to expect Los Angeles to end its three-year playoff drought.
The roster is set, and fans are more excited about the Dodgers than they have been in years. Here are eight reasons why Los Angeles will win the NL West in 2013.