The Dodgers starting pitching staff is so deep, that is has three solid MLB starters who cannot fit in the team's projected rotation. Chris Capuano (12-12, 3.72), Aaron Harang (10-10, 3.61) and Ted Lilly (5-1, 3.14 after going 12-14, 3.97 in 2011) would all fit in as 3 or 4 starters on a majority of other MLB teams. Kershaw (14-9, 2.53, 229 Ks) is the number one with Greinke (15-5, 3.48) right behind him. They also signed Hyun Jin Ryu, who should average around a strikeout an inning and will serve as the team's number 3 starter. Josh Beckett (7-14, 4.65) was 2-3, 2.93 in 7 starts with the Dodgers last season. Chad Billingsley (10-9, 3.55) has been a solid starter in the team's rotation for the past couple seasons. The question is what to do with Lilly, Harang and Capuano, as it is unlikely all three will be in the LA bullpen this season. It would not be a surprise to see two of them traded very soon.
Having Brandon League (3-6, 3.13, 15 saves) around all season should solidify the 9th inning. Kenley Jensen (5-3, 2.35, 25 saves) had 99 Ks in 65 innings and performed as well as any reliever in the NL last season outside of Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman. They also added JP Howell (1-0, 3.04 in 55 games) from Tampa Bay and Kevin Gregg from Baltimore. However, Gregg is coming off a bad season in an otherwise perfect Orioles 2012 bullpen. Ronald Belisario (8-1, 2.54 in 68 games) was the Dodgers top setup man last year, giving the Dodgers a solid top four in the bullpen. 26 year old RHP Josh Wall is expected to help out as well. Veteran Matt Guerrier is also in the mix. All that being said, it adds to the point how doubtful it would be to see Capuano, Lilly or Harang part of the mix in the pen. I'd line the relievers up like this: League, Jensen, Belisario, Howell, Wall, Guerrier and leave the last spot for either Gregg or one of the before mentioned starters.
Kemp played in just 106 games last season and that was a major factor. At the time he got hurt, he was as hot a hitter in the game. He struggled down the stretch, finishing off at .303, 23, 69. Crawford is expected to be healthy after undergoing Tommy John surgery last season. Ramirez will miss the first 6-8 weeks of the season as he recovers from a WBC injury. Gonzalez (.299, 18, 108) has lost some power, but is still one of the top run producing 1Bs in the game. Andre Ethier (.284, 20, 89) will patrol RF with utility players Nick Punto and Jerry Hairston, Jr holding down 3B until Ramirez is ready. Free agent bust Juan Uribe is also an option. WBC bozo and fight instagator Luis Cruz will start the season at SS and slide to 3B when Ramirez returns. AJ Ellis (.270, 13, 52) was productive in his first season as the team's starting catcher. Veterans Mark Ellis (.258, 7, 31) and Skip Schumaker (.276, 1, 28) will get the bulk of the time at 2B. The lineup with Ramirez should look great. Crawford LF, Ellis C, Gonzalez 1B, Kemp CF, Ramirez SS, Cruz 3B, Ellis/ Schumaker 2B. Punto, Hairston, Uribe and either Ellis or Schumaker gives LA one of the deeper benches in the NL.
The Dodgers have high expectations based on the moves they have made. Vegas has their over/under at 90. I predict a 96-66 finish, 1st place in the NL West division. If the Dodgers fail this season, I think heads will roll. Manager Don Mattingly and GM Ned Colletti are in a good position, but one or both will pay the price for a disappointing 2012 season.