Conversations With The Enemy: Dodgers/Padres 2012 Preview


We continue our series of articles previewing the Padres and the other National League West teams with our conversation with Scott Andes of Lasorda’s Lair.  So let’s get started:

With the Frank McCourt fiasco drawing to a close, do you think the Dodgers are going to be competitive in 2012, and will they finish higher than the Padres in the standings?

Scott – Lasorda’s Lair:

The answer is yes and no. I think they will defiantly finish ahead of the Padres and Rockies. Colorado seems to be in a bit of disarray.  But as for being competitive? Probably not, but second or third place seems doable. They were able to have a wining season last year despite all the craziness, and injuries, and poor performances.

Offense, and specifically power remains their primary weakness. The rotation will be weaker without Hiroki Kuroda, who should have never been allowed to walk, but the pitching staff is generally solid, led by NL Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw and his total domination of all opponents.  The bullpen will be better with Jansen and Guerra providing 8th and 9th inning duties. And of course our franchise player Matt Kemp will provide most of the offense.  I think all the money going to Juan Uribe, Matt Guerrier, Aaron Harang, and all the other mediocre veterans they signed will hamstring them later on, but there still is reason for optimism that the Dodgers could be a sleeper team.  If Andre Ethier returns healthy, James Loney continues his pheonix from the ashes-like resurection, and Juan Rivera is productive, they could have enough internal options on offense.  88 wins could be possible, but I don’t think they’ll overtake Arizona, who will still be the team to beat in the N.L. west.

Justin – Chicken Friars

I agree with you, the Dodgers will finish ahead of the Padres in 2012.  I’m still not sure what direction the Padres will ultimately be going.  We’ll have to wait and see how some of these Josh Byrnes moves pan out.  I think the Dodgers have a real chance to surprise some people next season.  They played through 2011 with the weight of the McCourt divorce on their backs, yet they finished with a winning record.  Clayton Kershaw is an only going to get better (and he destroys the Padres constantly as I wrote about here).  Matt Kemp might come back down to earth a bit next season, but will still have an All Star quality season.  Andre Ethier has something to prove after his 2011 season, so I expect him to breakout in 2012.  In all, I pick the Dodgers to come out of nowhere and win the N.L. West.

What do you think of Jesus Guzman? Is he going to stay at first base? He seems like a good contact hitter with some pop. Will he will be moved and where will he hit in the lineup?

Justin – Chicken Friars

I am right there with you on Jesus Guzman.  I wrote about his offensive talents far outweighing his defensive shortcomings.  No one seems to agree with me though.  I do think he will stay at first base as much as it pains me to say that.  Guzman will probably be used as a platoon player, which is a shame because the Padres should be capitalizing on his offense year round.  I suggested playing him at second base and dumping Orlando Hudson.  This is very unlikely.  If the Padres trade Chase Headley at some point this off-season, Guzman may be able to play some first base.  However, I think the Padres have him pegged for first.  The clubs seems to have lost all confidence in Anthony Rizzo, so Rizzo will essentially be starting from scratch again to prove he’s a Major League caliber player.  Mark Kotsay seems to be slotted for the outfield.  That leaves Guzman at first.  If he can get the time at first without blocking Rizzo’s development, I can live with that.  If Guzman splits time and only plays in half the team’s games, that’s not smart.

Scott – Lasorda’s Lair

I think the Padres better find somewhere permanent for him to play everyday. They have no reason not to play him full time. I’m assuming they will probably move him from first base eventually, but as long as they put him somewhere.  Couldn’t they just stick him in left field? I see alot of potential from him, and frankly I’m surprised that they’re not considering playing him full time, considering all of their offensive issues.  I would hit him third at the moment. He’s basically the Padres best all around best hitter. I;m curious to see how many homeruns he will hit in 2012.

What do you think about Aarong Harang’s chances at Dodger Stadium?  Can he perform as well as he did in San Diego?

Scott – Lasorda’s Lair

I think its possible that he could duplicate the type of season he had last year with the Padres.  Dodger Stadium is a pitcher’s park too. Balls tend to die in the cold night air of Chavez Ravine.  Im not so worried about Harang as I am with Chris Capuano.  Harang seems to be fairly durable and was once very good when he was with the Reds.  He has good strikeout to walk numbers, but much like Ted Lilly and Capuano, he gives up too many home runs.  Fortunately for the Dodgers, they play in a heavily pitching friendly division with three parks that are conducive to pitching.  With that being said, I think if he can keep the balls in the park, he could put up a type of season where he wins 12-15 games and puts up a 3.50-4.00 ERA/FIP with 200+ innings.

Will the Padres get rid of Orlando Hudson?

Justin – Chicken Friars

I do not think the Padres have a realistic chance of moving Orlando Hudson.  Remember, Jeff Moorad, the Padres owner, used to be Hudson’s agent.  I’m sure there is still loyalty there.  Petco has definitely affected his numbers, but the biggest problem has been his lack of leadership.  One of the big reasons the Padres acquired him was to replace the leadership lost when David Eckstein and Yorvit Torrealba moved on.  Hudson has been anything but a leader according to many people.

That about wraps up another edition of Conversations with the Enemy.  Stay tuned for the Diamondbacks and Giants still to come.