The Los Angeles Dodgers won a third consecutive National League West division title last season for the first time in franchise history.
They also put together a third straight season with at least 90 wins for the first time since 1976-78.
However, the offseason brought sweeping changes and now frustration as the team has yet to make a splashy signing or trade.
Though it should be noted the Dodgers’ can’t be accused of lack of effort.
They had a trade in place to acquire Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman, only for a report of his involvement in an alleged domestic violence incident squashing the deal.
Then a three-year, $45 million agreement with Hisashi Iwakuma came undone as the right-hander failed a physical. Iwakuma since re-signed a one-year contract that includes vesting options for 2017 and 2018 with the Seattle Mariners.
As the Dodgers have a memorable offseason for the wrong reasons, the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants bolstered their respective starting rotations. As such, the Dodgers front office has come under fire.
While the criticism and expectations in Los Angeles may be difficult for some to handle, Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten is not among them, made evident in an interview with Joel Sherman of the New York Post:
“I remind the thin-skinned people in front offices of the smart words Hyman Roth gave Michael Corleone in that hotel room in Havana — ‘This is the business we have chosen,’ ” Dodgers president Stan Kasten said by phone. “The criticism and fishbowl scrutiny is just part of the business. … I am really proud to represent a team that has won 90 games and the division title [each of the last three years]. Yet, that is not good enough for our fans, the media, ownership and me. That is the way it should be. We are the Dodgers, we represent Los Angeles. We should expect to compete for the top every year. Criticism is what goes along with that, which is just fine.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently voiced his support for the front office, stating he’s impressed by the group’s ability to make a trade or signing simply for the sake of doing so.
With starting pitching an area of need for the Dodgers, they reportedly continue to have trade talks with the Miami Marlins for ace Jose Fernandez.
Having hired Andrew Friedman as president of baseball operations last October, and with Roberts their hand-picked manager, criticism, pressure and scrutiny of Friedman and Kasten likely isn’t to subside anytime soon.