Five surprises about the Dodgers I would not have predicted in the offseason…
- Zach Lee signing. Signability concerns dropped Lee to #28 in the June draft, and many accused the Dodgers of purposely taking a player they knew they wouldn't sign. Instead, they gave Lee a club-record $5.25MM bonus to pass on a baseball and football career at LSU.
- Manny Ramirez claim. It wasn't shocking that the Dodgers let Manny go to save $3.8MM. It was a surprise that a team that still considers itself a contender felt they'd be better off without Ramirez.
- Matt Kemp's struggles. The .299 career hitter slumped to .255 this year and his defense dropped off too, according to UZR. The difference from '09 might end up being a matter of four wins or so.
- Jonathan Broxton's struggles. More than anything, Broxton's batting average on balls in play jumped up. He's also lost a few miles per hour on his average fastball, bringing him back to his still-respectable '07 level of about 95. It's been enough to allow Hong-Chih Kuo to sneak into the closer role.
- Rafael Furcal's season. He's missed significant time due to injury, but is having his best season outside of his 36-game '08 stint.