Rox Pile: How will Justin Turner’s injury impact the season?
JR: The Dodgers lost easily their best bat in Justin Turner for the first six to 10 weeks of the season. Turner is an on-field and off-field leader and his absence will definitely hurt the team. That being said, the organizational depth is still strong and Dodgers should be able to adequately patch the hole until he is ready to return.
MW: Assuming that the preliminary projections are right, Turner should be back by the middle of May. He missed a few weeks last year and the Dodgers were fine so I don’t think Turner’s injury will impact the Dodgers too much in the big picture. The Dodgers usually don’t start fast anyways.
Rox Pile: Outside of Kershaw, what is the confidence level in this season’s rotation?
JR: I really think the Dodgers have one of the best rotations in baseball. As it stands right now, Alex Wood, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, and Hyun-Jin Ryu are all good pitchers and they are behind arguably the best pitcher in the game. Also keep in mind the team is waiting for Walker Buehler to enter the starting five … and then I really think opposing teams are in trouble. So aside from injury issues, I think this year’s rotation is a very good one.
MW: I am not worried about the quality of the Dodgers starting pitchers outside of Kershaw. Wood, Hill, Maeda, and Ryu have all had success in the big leagues. What worries me is if they will all stay healthy. Outside of injury, I think the Dodgers have a top-three rotation in the National League.
Rox Pile: What are you predicting for the Dodgers this season?
JR: The Dodgers are dominant year after year and this season should be no exception. They have the same roster with the exception of a few players and I think they are poised to get right up against the century mark in terms of wins. Anything less than an NLCS appearance would be disappointing.
MW: With the lack of quality teams in the National League, I think the Dodgers will once again win 93-95 games at a minimum. As we all know, the playoffs are a crapshoot. I think the Dodgers will make it back to the NLCS but anything beyond that will depend on good breaks and no injuries.