Andrew Friedman, Dave Roberts Confident Dodgers Have Potential To Be More Consistent Than 2018 Roster
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off back-to-back losses in the World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers will take the field in 2019 looking to get over that final hump and win the last game of the season in October.

The team returns several key players from a year ago, although there were some notable changes. Specifically with Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Yasmani Grandal, Manny Machado and Alex Wood no longer being part of the team.

Brought in to help replace them thus far are A.J. Pollock, Russell Martin, Joe Kelly, and of course, the return of Corey Seager who underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in 2018.

While Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman believes the 2018 team was the best he has ever been around, he is confident they can be an improved group in 2019.

“We felt like we were much better than a 92-win team and that matters,” Friedman said at Dodgers FanFest. “It factors in as far as when we were putting together the roster for the following year. And we do think we’re going to be a really, really good team this year that’s going to be extremely well balanced.

“That’s something for us that, again, consistency is something that I think we’re gonna harp on a lot. And being able to have our talent level come out on a nightly basis way more often I think is something that is important.

“Balancing out a little bit more than vs. right, vs. left was important for that, or like we saw a couple years ago, where teams start rearranging their rotation for their left-handed starter to get us is something we didn’t want to confront again.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts echoed Friedman’s thoughts, first pointing to the bullpen upgrades that Kelly and others will bring. “I think Joe Kelly really tiding up our bullpen, and also with the strides of Baez, Ferguson. I think our bullpen is in a really good spot. Getting Cingrani back as well.”

Despite losing Wood, who ranked second on the team in innings pitched last season, Roberts feels re-signing Hyun-Jin Ryu back and having a healthy Julio Urias gives the Dodgers a capable starting rotation.

“Starting staff, you lose Wood, but then you’re counting on Ryu to come back healthy and then Urias to come back,” Roberts said. “So with the depth that we have, Walker obviously taking strides, so on the starting staff I still like the depth and talent.”

Finally, Roberts broke down what he sees in the rest of his personnel both at the plate and defensively. “Position-player-wise, I think adding A.J. doesn’t make us as vulnerable against left-handed pitching; there’s a lot more balance,” he explained.

“Defensively, I think with the guys we have, and Verdugo as a young player who should be getting a nice runway, he can give you things on both sides of the baseball. To be honest with you, I think there’s no reason we shouldn’t be better (in 2019).

“Lose a catcher in Grandal, but the tandem in Barnes and Martin, I think the individual at-bat quality should be better. I can’t say the production, but I still think those guys are going to line up at handling a pitching staff. There’s not a whole lot of drop off for me.”

Throughout the course of the 2018 season, the Dodgers had several games where they would score 10 runs, but then also a lot where they would score zero or one, particularly against left-handed pitching.

Roberts believes that the moves the team made this winter will help address those issues.

“Yeah, but you also are getting Corey Seager back. You lose guys like Kemp and Puig, but Pollock has been a very consistent player,” he said. “So I think having him and Corey Seager back, I think offensively we’ll be a lot more consistent.”