Itâ€™s been almost two months since the Los Angeles Dodgers got knocked out of the postseason by the New York Mets, and what an offseason it has been.
Days after the teamâ€™s Game 5 NLDS loss to the Mets, former manager Don Mattingly was fired. After weeks of speculation, former Dodger and Padres bench coach Dave Roberts was named as Mattinglyâ€™s successor.
But the managerial switch paled in comparison to the loss of Zack Greinke, who signed a six-year, $206.5 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
As the front office gears up for a winter full of retooling the teamâ€™s roster, here are nine bold predictions for what might happen next year in Los Angeles.
1. Adrian Gonzalez will clobber at least 30 homeruns.
Itâ€™s going to happen. In three complete seasons as a Dodger, Gonzalez has hit 22, 27 and 28 home runs per season, respectively, according to baseball-reference. Itâ€™s about time he gets over the 30-homer hump for the fifth time in his career.
2. The Dodgers will trail the Giants or Diamondbacks in the NL West at the All-Star Break.
Itâ€™s a hunch, but I could see a team like the Giants or Diamondbacks having a strong first-half. But itâ€™s very likely Roberts will turn the team around following the All-Star Break and lead them to a fourth consecutive National League West crown.
3. Clayton Kershaw will win at least 18 games.
Book it. As the squadâ€™s sole ace, Kershaw will thrive under pressure.
4. Kenley Jansen will notch 35 saves.
Jansen is 16-11 with a career ERA of 2.28, according to baseball-reference. Thereâ€™s no reason why he wouldnâ€™t improve on his save total. However, expecting him to earn more than 40 saves is a stretch.
5. Corey Seager will bat .320.
In 27 games this season, Seager posted an impressive .337 batting average with an on-base percentage of .425, according to baseball-reference. His batting average will decline slightly in 2016, but not below .320.
6. Hyun-jin Ryu wonâ€™t start his first game until June.
Itâ€™s a hunch. Itâ€™s doubtful the Dodgers will rush back their Korean All-Star.
7. Dave Roberts will develop a strong bond with AJ Ellis.
Donâ€™t be surprised if Ellis starts more games behind the plate.
8. Joc Pedersonâ€™s hitting woes will continue.
His rookie season was full of exuberating highs and disappointing lows. He finished the season with a .210 batting average, according to baseball-reference. Donâ€™t bet on it climbing above .260.
9. The Dodgers will win the World Series.
First-year manager, new clubhouse energy, competition in the NL Westâ€¦the Dodgers have the recipe for success