The Dodgers' off off-season
Now, hasn't this just been the most exciting Dodgers off-season? Just get chills thinking about it.
They added Jamey Carroll and Reed Johnson and somebody named Justin Miller.
Be still, my beating heart.
It has been one of the most passive Dodgers off-seasons in history, made only mildly acceptable by the fact that baseball-wide, off-season movement fluctuated between slight and nonexistent.
On the bright side, the Dodgers didn't drop $47 million on a broken-down Jason Schmidt or $44 million on singles-hitting Juan Pierre.
But as an off-season to juice up the fans and build excitement for the coming season, it was a letdown of "Land of the Lost'' proportions.
The Dodgers used to love to sign or trade for a big name in the off-season -- Kirk Gibson, Darryl Strawberry, Eddie Murray, Kevin Brown, Shawn Green, Joe Torre -- to create a buzz, to help generate interest in the coming season.
Last year their off-season was filled with news as they re-signed Manny Ramirez. This off-season, the team's biggest news was the divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt. Thinking that won't sell a lot of tickets.
The Dodgers are poised to tell their fans: If you liked last season, come back for more of the same.
They're counting on continuing improvement from their no-longer-quite-so-young core and a full season out of Ramirez to improve. Could happen, particularly with no other team in the National League West exactly tearing up the off-season either.
Their rotation, though, is filled with question marks: Chad Billingsley faded in the second half (3-7, 5.20 earned-run average), Hiroki Kuroda turns 36 on Wednesday and battled injuries last year, Vicente Padilla still has to prove he can find peace and harmony in the Dodgers clubhouse a full season, Clayton Kershaw is a potential ace but only 21, and there is no fifth starter.
Kinda fragile for a team that, for the first time, will be trying to reach the postseason for a third consecutive year.
And the team that beat them in the National League Championship Series the last two years, the Phillies, did add Roy Halladay. That should get the hearts going in Philly.
In L.A., the Dodgers are hoping last year still gets you going.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Kirk Gibson. Credit: AP.