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The 2013 Cy Young Award winner, Clayton Kershaw, is already on the disabled list.
In 2013, the Los Angeles Dodgers compiled a record of 92-70, winning the NL West in by 11 games. The Diamondbacks were second, with the Giants and Padres tied for third, 16 games back.
On paper, the Dodgers looked virtually unbeatable this spring, but some issues have developed in L.A.
Ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw has been placed on the DL with a bad back, and it looks like he will be out until May. Setup man Brian Wilson has also been placed on the DL with nerve irritation in his pitching elbow.
The Dodgers started their season early, as they and the Diamondbacks opened in Australia. Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com reported that there is speculation that this rushed the pitchers and could have been a factor in the injuries to Kershaw and Wilson.
Matt Kemp, out with an injured ankle, has yet to play in a game. Kemp hopes to be ready for the home opener, however. In 2013, Kemp played in only 73 games as injuries plagued him throughout the year. Whether Kemp can play a full season is a major question mark for the Dodgers.
With the health of Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier always a concern, production from the Dodgers' outfield is far from a sure thing.
Yasiel Puig, who burst onto the scene in 2013, has also shown some major flaws. At his best, Puig is a dynamic player and devastating hitter.
However, Puig does have some holes in his swing that can be exploited. In addition, his reckless style of play puts him at a greater risk of injury.
Puig and manager Don Mattingly have also had some conflicts based on some poor baserunning by Puig and his defensive mistakes. Puig lacks maturity and seems to be a very self-centered and egotistical athlete. We could definitely see more fireworks in L.A. before the season is over.
The Dodgers led all of baseball with an Opening Day payroll of $234 million. The Dodgers also have the money to make major acquisitions prior to the trade deadline if they need to.
A Dodgers repeat as NL West champions is far from guaranteed at this point. If the Giants can stay healthy, they will be right in the thick of things.