2019 Los Angeles Dodgers Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
Anyone for a Kings-Bruins Stanley Cup Finals? How about a Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals?
Yeah, neither of those are going to happen this June, but Boston can sure claim ownership of Los Angeles of late in the four major American pro sports leagues. Of course, the New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII, and last October the Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in a surprisingly quick five-game World Series.
We started our 2019 MLB previews here at Doc's with the champion Red Sox , so it's only natural to continue with the Dodgers, who were runners-up for the second year in a row. Is the championship window still open for a franchise that has won the NL West for six straight years but not a World Series since the Kirk Gibson/Orel Hershiser club did over heavily favored Oakland in 1988? It probably is, although on paper this team doesn't look as good as last year's.
Still, the NL West is clearly there for the taking again. The Diamondbacks are in a full-on rebuild, the Padres are still at least a year away from being any good, the Giants are somewhat stuck in neutral and aging fast (assuming they don't get Bryce Harper), and the Rockies are pretty good but likely nothing more than a wild-card team again.
The Dodgers open Cactus League play on Feb. 23 against the White Sox and the regular season March 28 vs. Arizona.
Dodgers 2019 Projected Lineup
This team is swimming in money because of the most ridiculous cable television deal in sports history, but it was awfully quiet this offseason because management didn't want to deal with luxury tax issues. How did the Dodgers not get actively involved in Harper or Manny Machado? Of course, Machado was acquired during last season from the Orioles but might have worn out his welcome with a perceived lack of effort in the postseason.
Los Angeles let excellent catcher Yasmani Grandal leave in free agency, and instead of trading for perhaps the best catcher in baseball, J.T. Realmuto (went to Phillies), they dealt for way-past-his-prime Russell Martin of the Blue Jays. In fact, the team made a cost-saving move by trading outfielders Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig along with pitchers Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer to Cincinnati for Homer Bailey, whom they released, and two minor leaguers.
That Harper wasn't going to be an option became clear when the Dodgers signed former Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock to a five-year, $60 million deal. Pollock is a great player that's relatively cheap; the reason it was so affordable is because Pollock can't stay on the field. Pollock missed almost all of 2016 with a broken elbow, and had long disabled-list stints in 2017 (strained groin) and 2018 (fractured thumb).
The Dodgers' biggest every-day addition is former Rookie of the Year Corey Seager, who was limited to 26 games last year. Seager had Tommy John surgery on May 4 to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament and had arthroscopic surgery on his left hip on Aug. 7. He's expected to be ready by Opening Day and did make Machado redundant unless Machado moved back to third and the Dodgers shifted Justin Turner somewhere else.
L.A.'s lineup should be something like Pollock, Seager, Turner, 1B Cody Bellinger, 2B Max Muncy (a huge surprise in 2018), OF Chris Taylor, OF Joc Pederson and Martin or Austin Barnes behind the plate. Or Muncy could play first, Bellinger right field and Taylor second. There's still talk Pederson could be traded. The team has outfield depth with Enrique Hernandez, Andrew Toles and top prospect Alex Verdugo.
Dodgers 2019 Projected Rotation & Closer
The biggest question mark entering the offseason was whether three-time Cy Young Award winner and future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw would exercise his opt-out clause and perhaps go sign with his hometown Texas Rangers. Alas, no drama there as the team and Kershaw agreed on an extension through 2021 almost immediately after the World Series.
Is Kershaw what he once was? No, but then no pitcher could really have kept up his level of dominance. Since the start of the live ball era in 1920, he has the lowest all-time career ERA (2.38) and WHIP (1.00) among starting pitchers with more than 1,500 innings pitched. Kershaw is still a No. 1, it's just that you have to assume at least one DL stint these days. He made two last year and finished 9-5 with a 2.73 ERA with 155 strikeouts and just 29 walks in 26 starts.
There had been persistent rumors the Dodgers were close to acquiring Indians ace Corey Kluber, but that appears dead for now. Could be revisited if the Indians struggle. Kershaw should be followed by Walker Buehler (great as a rookie last year), Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda. Hill is almost a lock to spend time on the DL as well.
Kenley Jansen is one of the best closers in baseball but is coming off corrective heart surgery. Perhaps issues there were part of the reason Jansen was just very good instead of great last year with 38 saves and a 3.01 ERA in 71.2 innings. He gave up two home runs and blew both of his save opportunities against the Red Sox in the World Series. Jansen is good to go this spring. The Dodgers added a good set-up man in front of Jansen in Joe Kelly.
Dodgers Futures Odds
At 5Dimes , the Dodgers have a win total of 93.5 ("over" is -135 favorite). They are +165 to reach the NLCS and +325 favorites to win the pennant again. L.A. is +750 to win the World Series, and a Dodgers-Red Sox rematch is a +1720 exact result favorite.
Dodgers 2019 Predictions
Super deep club lineup-wise, but major, major questions injury-wise in the rotation. Thing is, you know the Dodgers have the money and prospects to go out and get whomever they want if necessary. FanGraphs projects 93 wins. Two straight trips to the World Series could have leave some guys a bit ragged. I'm going under that 93.5 win total and no pennant - but the Dodgers do win the division again (no division odds out yet).
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