Injuries. It was the underlying storyline of the entire Dodgers season, and you probably got sick and tired of reading about it. But do you realize how much the Dodgers had to overcome throughout 2013?
From Spring Training to postseason the narrative was never ending. It began before the season even started, as Hanley Ramirez needed surgery after jamming his thumb on a play during the World Baseball Classic.
Coming into the year, a lot of talk surrounding the club was about their surplus of starting pitchers. That chatter died down as they lost two starting pitchers for most of 2013, with Chad Billingsley going down after two starts, and Josh Beckett being done by May 14. Both pitchers received major surgeries and are potentially in the mix for the 2014 starting rotation.
Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly both suffered from multiple injuries, and even their replacement, Stephen Fife, took two trips to the DL for shoulder bursitis. Perhaps the most maddening of all pitcher injuries was when Zack Greinke's collarbone was broken during a brawl with San Diego's Carlos Quentin.
Multiple hamstring injuries took out Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, and Ramirez, while strained quads, groins and obliques sidelined A.J. Ellis, Mark Ellis, Jose Dominguez, and Jerry Hairston Jr.
That is a huge chunk of the Dodgers starting lineup.
Freak accidents also took out Kemp with an ankle injury on a poor slide, and Ramirez when he dived into the stands to catch a fly ball in Chicago.
It even continued into the playoffs. Ethier's ankle kept him out of the NLCS, except for a few pinch-hit appearances, and Ramirez was hit by a pitch in Game 1 of the NLCS that broke two of his ribs.
The season has come to a bitter end, but injury news is still rolling in with reports that Kemp had surgery on his ankle on Tuesday.
The Dodgers faced these issues head-on and overcame it all. It really is quite amazing what they did this year with 17 players hitting the Disabled List in 25 different occurrences for a total of 1,109 games.
That does not even count the time that Adrian Gonzalez spent on the bench with a sore neck, or the games Yasiel Puig rested his hip after banging into outfield walls for half the season.
All those games missed add up, because whether guys play or not, they get paid. Billingsley, Beckett, and Kemp all received over $10 million each while they were on the Disabled List. Other big chunks of change went out to Ramirez, Crawford, Lilly and Greinke, who were all paid at least $3.4 million.
Altogether the Dodgers spent $55,250,000 on injured players this season. That is over 25 percent of their $215 million payroll.
But, with injuries is there really anything you can do? You have a team full of veteran players, many with a history of injuries. Most of the trips to the DL this season came from injuries that have been documented before.
There is not much to do when Kemp pulls the same hamstring over the course of several seasons, or when Ramirez suffers a sequence of freak injuries like jamming his thumb, falling into the stands, and then having his ribs broken by a fastball.
Aside from signing players without a history of injuries, the only thing you can do is hope that next season these guys come back healthy. But, that is the same thing we said this year, and it cost the Dodgers over $50 million.