Kenley Jansen is back with the Dodgers. I ... I really thought there was a chance that they would have to scramble for a closer. I thought Jansen was enamored of Don Mattingly and the idea of a low-pressure, low-visibility spot in Miami. I thought the Dodgers were going to have to trade for David Robertson or hope that Greg Holland could crack 90 mph once spring training starter. It was filling me with so much glee.
Nope. Jansen’s back. The ninth innings will be as annoying as ever.
Justin Turner is back with the Dodgers. I thought there would be a chance he would find a home with the Cardinals or Red Sox, or ... heck, I don’t know. The potential fallout from that move scared me — Brian Dozier would have hit 50 home runs against the Giants in August alone — but there would have been a sense of security that came with Turner leaving. I held out hope that he would join his Uncle Traveling Matt and just, you know, see the world.
Nope. Turner’s back. He’ll terrorize Giants pitching, just like always.
Rich Hill is back with the Dodgers. We’ve known that for a while, but it’s worth mentioning with the other two. I figured there was a great chance he would leave. He didn’t have the roots in Los Angeles like the other two, and he was just about the only starting pitcher worth a dang on the market. I could definitely see him getting a deal that was about $10 million more than the Dodgers wanted to pay.
Nope. Hill’s back. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that the Giants should be completely vulnerable to left-handed pitching next season. Unless that’s a lead lining. Silver and lead are both elements, so either way, really.
The real silver lining is that the Dodgers might be done with the offseason. They’re trying so very hard to get under the salary-cap tax, and they’ve just invested about $192 million on three players. This might mean no Justin Verlander. It might mean no Ryan Braun. It might mean no Ian Kinsler. That’s the upside.
It could also mean that the Dodgers will double-down on efforts to get Jose Quintana, specifically because he’s more affordable than any of the other alternatives. That’s a very real and unfortunate downside.
Either way, the Dodgers look like they’re going to be the favorites in the NL West yet again. The Diamondbacks are all over the place, which isn’t surprising considering they have a new front office. The Padres might lose 100 games, even if they beat the Giants 13 times along the way. The Rockies just might be a sleeper contender, but their pitching is far from a sure thing.
No, it’s the Dodgers that the Giants are likeliest to chase, and while it’s probably not accurate to say they got better — not when the roster is roughly the same as last season — they certainly didn’t get worse, and they still have the potential to get better with a trade or three.
You might not think this is the kind of article that would merit a mention of J.D. Martinez, but you would be wrong. I’ll slip that sucker in anywhere. The Giants should probably still try to improve their team, imo.
Regardless, if you were tricked into thinking the Dodgers were going to get worse like I was, let’s all console each other. I was so, so hoping for David Robertson and a series of several ninth-inning meltdowns, each one worse than the last, extending into September. It would be only fair. As is, the Dodgers are bringing everybody back, dang it. Adjust your expectations accordingly.