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5 Surprises: Los Angeles Dodgers

Five surprises about the Dodgers I would not have predicted in the offseason...

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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