Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Eight storylines for 2016 you can ponder now

Ryu Pederson

By Jon Weisman

It’s no secret that this will be another offseason of change for the Dodgers.

Already, manager Don Mattingly and vice president of medical services Stan Conte have departed. Five days after the World Series ends — sometime before November 10 — free agency begins. And you never know what the trade market will bring or take away.

The winter months will address several issues facing the Dodgers. But whatever happens will still leave several questions that won’t be answered until we’re well into the 2016 season.

Among them, these:

  • Joc Pederson’s bat: Can the first-half power sensation crack the whip while reducing the whiff? Solving the vulnerable spots in his swing could return Pederson to the top third of the batting order, if not the leadoff spot?
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu’s health: Ryu began a throwing program on flat ground earlier this month. His return would be huge for the starting rotation, but few if any know what to expect.
  • Kiké Hernandez’s role: Full-time infielder, full-time outfielder or super-utilityman? Much could depend on how he hits right-handed pitching in 2016.
  • Corey Seager’s stability: Seager’s September debut did not affect his rookie status for 2016. He figures to be a preseason Rookie of the Year favorite, and more likely to avoid the kind of prolonged slump that derailed Pederson. But you never really know what kind of ups and downs a player will have in his first full season.
  • Yasiel Puig’s development: In his first 365 days as a Major Leaguer, Puig hit .326/.405/.559. Since then, plagued by injuries, he has hit .265/.341/.422. He turns 25 in December, more of a mystery than ever (or at least since before he first arrived at Spring Training three seasons ago).
  • Alex Wood’s consistency: Among pitchers born in 1991 or later, only one has thrown more big-league innings than Wood. He’s experienced, but still young. He was also far more inconsistent in 2015 than the year before. One rudimentary example: His quality-start percentage declined from 79 percent (19 of 24) to 53 (17 of 32).
  • Chris Hatcher’s reliability: Few Dodgers ended the season on a higher note than Hatcher, who allowed 21 baserunners while striking out 31 in 24 1/3 innings from August 15 on, including the playoffs. Can he do it for a full season?
  • J³=X: Julio Urias (19 years old), Jose De Leon (23) and Jharel Cotton (24 in January) all pitched well for Double-A Tulsa in 2015. None would be expected to start 2016 in Los Angeles, but could one become the homegrown compliment to Kershaw the Dodgers have been looking for by summer? (No offense to Zach Lee and others whose names don’t begin with “J.”)

In the cool before the Hot Stove, it’s fun to imagine what it would mean for these storylines to play out in a happy way …


The chase


World Series Game 1 had something for everyone — even Dodger fans


  1. jpavko

    Pederson swing was messed up by competing in the home run derby, Seager will be at the head of the pack in rookie of the year candidates, Ryu will come back strong as reliable starter and Dodgers will kick butt in 2016 go Blue!

  2. Throw whatever dollar amount is necessary to try and keep Zack, then dump Puig , don’t need him or Crawford in that outfield. Get another QUALITY starter (or two if Zack leaves), bolster the bullpen (it’s fine with Hatcher and Jensen, but you need to be able to get to them after the starters are out) and finally get a REAL hitting coach, dump McGwire. Oh yea….wtf is the front office thinking Andrew Friedman for manager?….pleeease, Tim Wallach deserves that spot and has earned it.

  3. I would think who the manager will be, and who the hitting coach will be would be in this list …

    • Jon Weisman

      I mentioned the manager in my opening, but this list is about people who are here now.

  4. #1… resign Zack
    #2… resign Zack
    #3… resign Zack.

  5. None of those story lines will mean much if we don’t resign Zach Greinke. Get it done, front office!!

  6. Frankly I don’t care who the new manager is. Zack Greinke is the much bigger priority. Look at the pitching on the two teams in the world series.

  7. Address Zach first. Trade Puig! Help Joc get his swing back with a new hitting coach. Get rid of Crawford. Infield good! Get a couple outfielders! Bolster BP.

  8. Don’t get rid of Puig until we know what kind of player he is going to be. He’s cheap and has little trade value because of the season of injuries. He has a possible huge upside that should not be traded away until we know more.

  9. Keep Greinke, goodbyes to Crawford (injury prone) Puig (injury plus no team player ) Rollins seen his days, Utley ditto , Big Mac as hitting coach, Let the minors come up and show what they have ! we saw that with a couple late this year, there more hungry and want to play the game ! that’s what minors are all about. you did it years ago with the infield (Cey,Russell,Lopes, and Garvey they all gelled into winners. For the Coach I’m up in the air hard one to answer sense Alston and Lasorda….

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén