For the second consecutive offseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers are coming off a disappointing loss in the World Series. The club fell to the Boston Red Sox in five games, seeing the organization’s drought reach an even 30 years.
Just to advance to the Fall Classic was an uphill climb in itself. The Dodgers had to overcome a plethora of injuries to key players early on and didn’t even clinch the National League West until Game 163 of the regular season.
Facing adversity for much of the past year, the Dodgers are perhaps more battle-tested than any organization in baseball entering the 2019 season.
With all of that in mind, Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill spoke to David Vassegh of AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio and expressed his confidence in the club’s ability to finally get over the hump next season:
“I think we have a really good chance in 2019. We’re going to have a great year. Looking forward to turning the proverbial page and moving forward. Guys are a little ticked off. Not a little bit but a lot, moving into this Spring Training. Last year, I think it was a little bit more of, if you want to call it a World Series hangover. You go seven games and you fight hard to the end but obviously come up empty-handed. This past season, we felt we had a better opportunity to actually pull it off but came up short again. That’s why the season begins anew in March. Everybody is excited and has a chip on their shoulder to start the season off right this year.”
As Hill points out, the Dodgers will again enter Spring Training with a chip on their shoulders. While optimism is high, the club must account for some noteworthy losses to both the player side and coaching staff.
Yasmani Grandal, Matt Kemp, Manny Machado and Yasiel Puig are among the notable departures that the Dodgers must replace, while former coaches Turner Ward and Chris Woodward have each departed as well.
On the contrary, Los Angeles will get back a key piece to the puzzle in shortstop Corey Seager, who missed nearly all of the 2018 season after undergoing separate Tommy John and hip surgeries.
A trio of newcomers in A.J. Pollock, Joe Kelly and Russell Martin should help fortify some of the weaker areas of the roster. The possibility of further upgrades shouldn’t be ruled out, either, as Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman recently indicated.