Dodger moves will pay off

Andrew Choi, Sports Editor

The combination of the baseball masterminds Andrew Friedman and Farlan Zaidi is something special. Friedman, the president of Baseball Operations for the Dodgers, and Zaidi, the general manager of the Dodgers, has completely reformed the franchise by making numerous transactions that made the Dodgers a better team in just a 12-hour span. After adding more depth and upgrading at positions of need, the Blue and White are in the driver’s seat for the National League Championship.

Last year, the drama in the crowded outfield was hectic and unnecessary. Players like Andre Either and former All-Star Matt Kemp complained multiple times to the media about not having enough playing time. This just added more stress to manager Don Mattingly as he was reported to be on the hot seat in the last couple of months of the 2014 season.

However, the Dodgers’ new management soothed out this Hollywood drama by trading Kemp and his $100 million contract to the far below-average San Diego Padres.

The underrated aspect of the Matt Kemp trade was the acquisition of catcher Yasmani Grandal. “Yasmani who” were the words many Dodger fans said as they were baffled by the franchise for giving up a former All-Star who was on a hot streak toward the last end of the season. However, Grandal is a major upgrade over Dodgers’ catcher A.J. Ellis. Last year, Grandal was a better defensive catcher as he was ranked 13th in pitching frame compared to Ellis’ ranking of 99th.

The infield of the Blue and White has been completely transformed and has a more veteran look to last year’s team. The Dodgers chose not to re-sign overrated shortstop Hanley Ramirez and traded away second baseman Dee Gordon, which was the most confusing move of the entire offseason. Gordon was an rising infielder who led the league in steals with 64. Instead, Friedman and Zaidi acquired veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins and second baseman Howie Kendrick. Both infielders give the team consistent bats that have the potential driving in runs. Gordon only gave the team speed while the acquisition of Rollins gives the team a consistent lead-off hitter and a great defensive glove.

The Dodger’s finally got rid of starting pitcher Dan Haren. I have always thought the franchise made a bad investment in Haren as he was on the downhill of his career. The Dodgers were too late in the season to realize that Haren, who posted a 4.02 earned runs average, was a liability more than an asset. In the offseason, the Blue and White took the risk of signing starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy to take his spot in the rotation.

Although McCarthy’s track record is not phenomenal compared to Clayton Kershaw and Zack Grienke, Dodgers fans have to believe in the new management. This transaction is a big-reward, low-risk deal since the former New York Yankee had a sub 3.00 era until he got injured mid-season last year.

Opening Day is just around the corner. With these acquisitions, fans of the Blue and White better get their popcorn ready to the new Dodgers. As Vin Scully would say “It’s time for Dodger baseball.”