For the first time in the franchise’s history, the Los Angeles Dodgers have won three straight National League West titles.
However, despite making the postseason the past three years, Los Angeles has only advanced to the NL Championship Series once — in 2013 when they defeated the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in five games in the NLCS.
The past two seasons have ended with first-round defeats, in 2014 at the hands of the Cardinals once more, and last season to the New York Mets.
As expected, pressure has continued to grow on the Dodgers for them to not only continue with their division success, but also end the World Series drought.
During a recent interview with Chris Russo on MLB Network’s High Heat, Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi discussed the pressure that the organization faces, and goals set for not only 2016, but every season:
“We understand and embrace that challenge and responsibility in this big market. The bottom line is we still have two goals going into every season. One, is to get to the dance, because if you don’t get to the playoffs then talking about how far you’re going to get is kind of moot. So, we do have to have some focus on that. The second part is we have to try and get as deep into the playoffs as we can, try to win the last game, that is what fans’ expectations are, and that really needs to be the ultimate goal for a franchise of our stature. Everything we do, we do keep an eye on both of those goals. There are certain things you have to do, like having a lot of depth both in pitching and position players is part of what you have to do to get through a 162-game season. But then you also have to keep an eye on frontline players and the kinds of matchups you might have in the playoffs, having a strong bullpen and those kind of things that tend to matter more in the playoffs. Both things are pretty important, obviously.”
The Dodgers will be led by a new manager for the first time since 2011. On top of the change, the organization handed the keys to first-year skipper Dave Roberts. What Roberts may lack in experience, he’s expected to make up for in personality, ability to connect with players, and baseball acumen.
Although Roberts inherits a roster that’s without Zack Greinke, much of the core from last season’s team remains intact. Additionally, Roberts has the added benefit of a deeper starting rotation than the 2015 club had.