2009 Los Angeles Dodgers Team Preview – Betting Odds
by Badger of Predictem.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers were swimming along with the rest of the mediocre pack in the National League West Division last season when
they traded for controversial slugger Manny Ramirez at the trading
deadline. Manny hit .396 with 17 homeruns and 53 runs batted in
during his 53-game stay in Dodgertown, and the Dodgers rode his hot
bat and the spark he provided the team all the way into the second
round of the NL playoffs.
The spark wore off in four games versus the eventual World Series champion Phillies, but the Dodgers and Manny-being-Manny made L.A.
buzz with baseball excitement once again. This year they will look to
improve on their 84-78 record in 2008, but with the long list of free
agent departures in Loa Angeles, if the Dodgers are able to do it
they will do it with a dramatically different team than they did in 08.
IF YOU’RE NOT BETTING INTO A 10
CENT LINE FOR BASES THIS SEASON, YOUR NUTS AND PISSING AWAY LOOT!
In fact, as of press time, the Dodgers still have yet to make any
significant offseason roster moves other than letting players go.
Gone are key contributors like pitchers Derek Lowe, Greg Maddux, Chan
Ho Park and Brad Penny. And the on-again, off-again courtship of
Manny to bring him back in Dodger Blue is in the off-again stage
right now. They can still recover to win the weak NL West again, but
they wont do it with the team they have on the field at the start of
2009 World Series Odds 25-to-1
2009 NL Pennant Odds 10-to-1
2009 NL East Division Odds 1.4-to-1
(All of the listed odds are those currently offered at Sportsbook.com)
As mentioned, we really cant analyze the 2009 version of the Dodgers
until we know what pieces of the puzzle are in the box. As is, the
Dodgers are a young team that fall just a few pieces short in both
pitching and hitting.
Offense Shortstop Rafael Furcal is the most likely leadoff candidate, since speedy left fielder Juan Pierre doesnt hit well
enough to stay in the lineup consistently. Furcal only played in 36
games last year, but he had a .378 on-base percentage and nine runs
in the Dodgers eight postseason games in 08, so he looks like he may
be capable of filling the role at the top.
Catcher Russell Martin, who has quickly become the benchmark catcher in the NL (.385 OBP, 87 R, 13 HR, 69 RBI), is perhaps the ideal No. 2-hitter in the NL as well.
The Dodgers re-signed third baseman Casey Blake in the offseason after he hit 10 homeruns and drove in 23 runs during his 58-game stay in L.A. last year. Blake, along with young outfielders Matt Kemp (.290,
18 HR, 76 RBI) and Andre Ethier (20 HR, 77 RBI), and young first
baseman James Looney (.289, 13 HR, 90 RBI) form the heart of the
Dodgers order. A heart that would gain serious clout, as well as
controversy, if it were to somehow insert Manny into the middle to be
Pitching Without Lowe, and the now retired future Hall of Fame righty Maddux, the Dodger rotation will go into the season by just
bumping up everyone on the depth chart.
Young righty Chad Billingsley, who went 16-10 with a 3.14 ERA in 32
starts last year, becomes the de-facto ace of the staff. Japanese
import Hiroki Kuroda (9-10, 3.73) moves up to the No. 2 slot, and
free-agent pickup Randy Wolf (12-12 4.30) mans the third spot, but
after him it is anybodys guess who will stay healthy enough to man
the other rotation spots.
Veterans Jason Schmidt, Jeff Weaver and Shawn Estes were brought in to compete with youngster Clayton Kershaw (5-5, 4.26 in 21 starts in 08) and top-prospect James McDonald for the final two rotation spots.
Bullpen The Dodgers also have some big questions at the back-end of their bullpen, since former closer Takashi Saito is now gone as a
Jonathan Broxton, who converted 14 of his 22 chances last year while Saito was injured, will get the first crack at the closer job. But if
he fails to hold it, lefty Hong-Chih Kuo (96 K in 80 IP) could be the
Free-agent pickup Guillermo Mota (from Brewers) and Cory Wade will provide most of the late-inning setup work from the right-handed side
of the mound, while Eric Stults and Scott Elbert will compete for the
lefty-specialist job out of the pen now that Joe Beimel has moved on
as a free agent.
As is the case with teams that underachieve and flirt all season long
with a .500 record, the Dodgers were not a good wager in 2008. A
really bad road record at the window (36-45, -1071) killed any chance
at making money as they finished down -829 for the year. They were
also a poor runline team, with a -197 tally, and trended toward the
under (73-83 versus the total) with a weakened lineup and a big
Sharp bettors no doubt noted the job Kershaw did as a starter after
his callup, as the Dodgers won 13 of his 21 starts to finish +457 in
08. Billingsley (16-16, -421) and Kuroda (15-16, -495) did not help
bettors stay afloat last year, but with the bump up the rotation they
may face better (maybe even underdog) odds in 2009.
Lets face it, without knowing if Manny Ramirez is coming back or
not, stay away from any Dodger-related wager with a 10-foot pole.
As the team stands today, 25-to-1 odds as World Series champs and 10-
to-1 odds as NL Champs looks way too bleak to even consider.
Oddsmakers are assuming on Mannys return, and even if he does
return, Im not so sure 25-to-1 and 10-to-1 are good enough to make
me hit the hip for my wallet.