Boston’s media and fan-base are literally reeling from the shock, the former have nothing to write about anymore, and the latter simply stunned this is happening. Perhaps conditioned by weeks, nay, months of negative Front Office bashing by The Knights Of The Keyboard (as Teddy Ballgame sardonically called Boston’s sports media), Red Sox fans were under the impression the Front Office at Fenway Park had no clue how to run a Major League ball-club. As it turns out, their timing was absolutely impeccable and they have managed to not only drop those $260 million in wages, they have also changed the club-house attitude completely. There is still some work to do, obviously, however right now the future looks definitely brighter and clearer for the Red Sox. The fans are delighted by and large, the media, well, they are a little stunned.
Meanwhile, flying somewhat under the radar, are the Dodgers. The L.A. Dodgers have gone from something of an after-thought to a legitimate World Series contender in a very short space of time. Magic Johnson and his co-owners have signaled their aggressive intent with the Hanley Ramirez pickup, they have now literally engaged afterburners and left many an opponent in their wake with the arrival of Beckett and most of all Gonzalez. The Dodgers line-up, already awesome, is now a veritable Murderers Row for opponent pitchers, who are basically going to have nightmares every night before taking on this lot. Consider, for a second, the core of the Dodgers lineup on a nightly basis. Kemp\Ethier\Ramirez\Gonzalez is a simply scintillating three through six, perhaps superior to anything else in baseball, NL and or AL. Seriously, look at those names, and imagine for a second being a middle level pitcher trying to navigate their way through those four, back to back to back to back. Then throw in pesky leadoff guy Shane Victorino and other parts like Nick Punto, and you can understand the ferocious, other-worldly potential of this Dodgers lineup.
Of course with the addition of Josh Beckett the Dodgers have also upgraded their pitching staff. Beckett will provide experience, depth, and, for my money anyway, wins. He did not turn into a bad pitcher overnight. He can still bring a fastball, and still has a burning desire to win every single battle with every single batter. Beckett is going to love pitching in the wide open expanses of Dodger Stadium, which make Fenway Park look roughly the same size as a tiny little panic room. There are going to be a lot of fly balls to left and center in particular that turn into outs for Beckett, reducing his ERA, his WHIP and his stress levels.
Say what you want about Beckett, he tells it like it is, and has been brutally honest about his own performance when asked about it on the Left Coast. Take these comments for example;
“I’m as big a part of that as anybody. That’s not what they wanted to do. They wanted Adrian to stay. They wanted me to stay. They wanted Nick [Punto] to stay. They wanted Carl [Crawford] to stay. We just didn’t do our jobs.”
He is clearly invigorated and ready to, frankly, be awesome again. Beckett was a huge fan favourite in Boston just two seasons ago. It all fell apart in a short space of time, but the good people of L.A. will probably end up loving the big Texan, particularly if he puts up a few wins for them between now and the World Series.
Speaking of the latter, our overall point is that right now is the time to get on board the Dodgers bandwagon. A few weeks ago the Dodgers were as high as 25/1 to win the World Series. With the addition of Hanley Ramirez, they moved in to 20/1, and now suddenly with the big trade there has been a further market adjustment, all the way in to 12/1 or 14/1 with some establishments.
For me, this adjustment still is not big enough. You are telling me that 12/1 isn’t incredible value for a deep pitching staff, a good bullpen and a simply superb, out of this world lineup? We’re talking value here. We aren’t suggesting for a second that the Dodgers are 100% locks for the trophy, however you cannot deny that at 12/1 they represent superior value, considering the sheer talent of the pieces they have added recently.
The Dodgers are building something special for the short term. The bookmakers have not fully adjusted as yet. Find a way to get on the bandwagon, and enjoy the ride.
Follow Cormac on Twitter