When the 2013 MLB season started, the Los Angeles Dodgers were expected to be World Series contenders. But after about a month of play, the Dodgers were awful and had dropped to the bottom of the NL West. Los Angeles righted the ship and was a contender by the All-Star break. When August rolled around, the Dodgers were running away with the NL West pennant. The team ran into some problems in the playoffs, but it is still the odds-on favorite to win the World Series in 2014. Before the Dodgers can make a run at a World Title, there are some important decisions the team will have to make first.
2014 World Series Odds: 7/1
Decision #1: Does Los Angeles really want Don Mattingly?
Despite success during the regular season and coming in as runner-up for the 2013 NL manager of the year award, Los Angeles skipper Don Mattingly feels like a man without a team. As soon as the Dodgers were knocked out of the playoffs, the rumors about the team not renewing Mattingly’s contract started to swirl. Don Mattingly suddenly found himself fielding questions about where he will be managing next season since the Dodgers did not want him. Los Angeles apparently does want Mattingly, and Dodgers team president Stan Kasten has come out and said so. But if they really want to make Don Mattingly feel at home, then the Dodgers need to stop dragging their feet with his contract negotiations and give the man a multi-year deal.
Decision #2: Who will be pitching for the Dodgers?
Everyone knows that Clayton Kershaw will be on the mound for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014. But what about the numbers three through five starters in the rotation? Los Angeles has been non-committal on what it will do to shore up its starting rotation. Some people think that these decisions will wait until spring training, but pitchers like David Price and Masahiro Tanaka will already be signed by then. What about closer? Brian Wilson is not going to stick around for the 2014 season, so what will Los Angeles do about a closer?
Decision #3: How aggressive will Los Angeles be in free agency?
The new Dodgers ownership has shown repeatedly that it is not afraid to spend money. But how much money does the team have to spend in 2014 free agency? Josh Beckett is still on the Los Angeles roster and taking up a lot of important salary money. David Price will not be cheap to sign, so what does that mean for Beckett? Starting pitchers are not cheap and the Dodgers still need a third baseman who can hit. But if the Dodgers are already financially tapped out, then what kinds of moves can the team really make when it comes to bringing in talent to fill out the roster?
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