Oh, Dodgers fans. You may have to prepare for a long summer. Long. Like, really long.
In fact, now's a great time to become an Angels fan, if you're interested!
In case you haven't heard, last week the Los Angeles Angels signed the biggest offensive weapon on the free agent market in three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols and, a few hours later, added All-Star southpaw, C.J. Wilson. All for a cool $331.5 million.
And the Dodgers offseason transactions? Well...
That's exactly why this is just the beginning of what could be the worst Los Angeles Dodgers season ever.
Look, I know. How many more Dodger articles are going to talk about Frank McCourt and all the horrible things he has meant to the Dodgers? Not this one.
Let's just all agree this situation is definitely a top 10 reason why the Dodger season is (already) going to be a disappointment. Agreed?
Even if everybody knew the Dodgers weren't going to be able to afford "Prince" Albert or Fielder this winter, there was still a glimmer of a hope for them to take a stab at Carlos Pena for a multi-year deal.
When Dodgers GM Ned Colletti was quoted near the end of the season as saying, "I say the most dramatic way we can improve the offense, that would be the way we would go," there was still (perhaps naive) belief that despite a broke owner/franchise, the Dodgers could be buyers in the offseason.
And it's such a shame too because the Dodgers have been desperate for a legitimate power bat in the middle of their lineup. And although Pena tends to hit for a low average, he wouldn't be a defensive drop-off from the slick-fielding, weak-hitting James Loney.
There's still a ton of questions surrounding Andre Ethier as the season looms ever nearer.
How will he rebound after a sub-par 2011 season and offseason knee surgery?
Is he unhappy in LA?
If the Dodgers scuffle early, will he be the biggest bat available before the trade deadline?
Will the Red Sox reunite him and his best buddy Dustin Pedroia in Boston?
Has he cut that ridiculous mullet he sported all last year?
Well, that last one was actually just one of my questions. Eh. I let it stand.
On any other year, signing Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang may be pretty good moves to bolster the back-end of an otherwise mediocre pitching rotation. But this year, it just feels cheap.
Still, you have to respect the savvy of Ned Colletti in letting Hiroki Kuroda walk and signing two solid, albeit unspectacular, replacements in Capuano and Harang for half the money.
The problem is those weren't the types of players Colletti referred to earlier in the year when he was talking about "dramatically" improving the offense.
When it comes to young talent in the Dodgers farm system that is MLB-ready, it's pretty much just Dee Gordon. And Dee Gordon isn't even really a prospect anymore. But he's young!
The only other one to keep an eye on might be Zach Lee. He's a right-handed hurler with a powerful arm capable of reaching 95 mph. But he's certainly not enough to change the Dodgers' dismal fate in 2012.
The other top five prospects for the Dodgers are all pitchers, and none of them is regarded as elite talent. Look for the Dodgers to become major sellers before the July trade deadline to improve on their poor farm system.
Nothing against Jerry Hairston; he's put together a fine career for a journeyman, utility infielder. But that's also the problem: he's a journeyman, utility infielder. The Dodgers need some real contributors to protect Matt Kemp in the lineup.
The signings of Hairston, Capuano, Rivera and Harang are all fine. But there's no cornerstone signing, nothing that would suggest the Dodgers will be any better than they were last year.
I guess that's what small-market baseball is. It's just that Dodgers fans aren't used to it.
Adam Kennedy hit 11 home runs two years ago—two home runs shy of his career mark for a single season. But that was two years ago. Last year he posted his second-worst batting average in a single season (.234), and a career-worst (and appalingly bad) .277 OBP.
And he's 35.
He is the biggest offensive upgrade for the Dodgers this offseason. Enough said, right?
Well, one could make the argument that the one positive coming out of the 2011 Dodgers offseason is that they were able to lock up Matt Kemp in a long-term deal for $160 million over eight years.
Sure, that's good. But I'm just not sure what he does for the Dodgers this year. Don't get me wrong, Kemp is a supreme talent, but with a possibly disinterested/hurt Andre Ethier and a 33-year-old Juan Rivera acting as his best protection, he's probably in for a long season too.
What's more disconcerting is these next three or four years may be the very best of Matt Kemp's career. It would be a shame for the Dodgers to waste his skills on an uncompetitive team. However, this is also the one bright spot for the Dodgers who at least have two major pieces (Kemp and Kershaw) to build the franchise around.
As if all this weren't bad enough, the Dodgers' cross-town rivals, the Los Angeles Angels, have become the most aggressive and most improved team over the offseason.
With attendance last year at Dodger Stadium absolutely tanking, the formerly proud Los Angeles Dodgers franchise is in very serious danger of forfeiting their spot atop the Southern Californian baseball food chain to the surging LA Angels.
For Dodgers fans who are proud of the winning tradition that the franchise has maintained for nearly 60 years, this is a huge embarrassment and signifies a huge swing in power in the Southern Californian sports hierarchy.
Good and bad news, here.
Sure, this is probably the worst fate to befall anyone, ever—that's the bad news. The good news is all 30 MLB teams will suffer the same fate if it really is the end of the world.
Oh okay, even if you don't believe 2012 will mark the end of everything, I would encourage you still to stock up on bottled water and batteries. You know there are a ton of weirdos out there, right? And if they really believe the world is going to end... well, just be prepared for the human element in all of this, okay?
And if you really do believe it's the end of the world, and you're nervous about it, let me offer you these words:
Have you ever considered how... well, if not lucky, how unique an experience the end of the entire world will be! Consider that of all the billions upon billions of humans to ever exist in the history of time and space, you and I will be one of the few to ever experience the end of it.