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Yasiel Puig has created a huge buzz in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have, by far, the highest payroll in the National League, at over $216 million. Thus far, that has not been money well spent. The Dodgers are 28-36, seven-and-a-half games behind Arizona.
Currently last in the NL West, you had better not count the Dodgers out just yet. Yasiel Puig has given this team a renewed vigor, and after only nine games, he has captured the hearts of Dodger fans.
The Dodgers have suffered several injuries that have caused star players to miss time. Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford all have spent time on the DL.
In addition, the Dodgers' pitchers have also struggled to stay healthy. At one time or another, Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly and Zack Greinke have had DL stints.
Expect the Dodgers to make a run for the division title. They are close to returning their injured offensive players and with the renewed excitement in Los Angeles because of Puig, they have momentum not seen in LA for several years.
GM Ned Colletti has an open checkbook, so we can also expect him to be making some moves before the trade deadline. One deal could involve outfielder Andre Ethier in a deal for a starting pitcher or third baseman.
The emergence of Puig has taken Los Angeles by storm. He is currently hitting .471, with four home runs and 10 RBI, in only 34 at-bats. The Dodgers can ride this momentum and get right back in the race.
One of the most interesting decisions is who will close out games for the Dodgers. Brandon League has struggled and has lost his job, for now. Kenley Jansen will take over. If Jansen does well, that will further strengthen the Dodgers' chances.
Dodger Manager Don Mattingly is on the hot seat. If LA falters, it will likely cost Mattingly his job.
Probability that Los Angeles will win the NL West: 15%.
All stats are courtesy of mlb.com.
Salary data courtesy of baseballprospectus.com.