Los Angeles

Will the Newest Dodgers Make the Difference During the 2019 Season?

The 2019 Los Angeles Dodgers won't resemble the prior two World Series teams as many fan favorites left the team in the offseason. Will the new pieces be able to make the different this year?

It's been said that we meet the people we are supposed to in life when the timing is right.

For the 2019 Los Angeles Dodgers, they're hoping that a few new people will be the difference in finishing the season as the runner-up, and hoisting the first championship trophy at Chavez Ravine in over 30 years. 

As the calendar changed from 2018 to 2019, and the sting of a second straight World Series defeat began to dissipate, the new year brought some new faces to the Boys in Blue.

However, nothing comes without a price, and the exchange for an infusion of new blood did not come without a hefty price. As one door opened for a few familiar faces, another one closed as many fan favorites were sent packing either via trade or free agency. 

As Manny Machado, Yasmani Grandal, Alex Wood, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig walked out one door, A.J. Pollock, Joe Kelly, and an old friend in Russell Martin all entered the fray through another.

How the new pieces will fit with the old, and replace the ones that left will be a big question entering the 2019 season.

Grandal provided plenty of pop last season with an NL-leading 24 home runs and 68 runs batted in. By comparison, Russell Martin only hit 10 long balls in 90 games with the Toronto Blue Jays. Will the duo of Martin and Austin Barnes be able to make up for the loss in the lineup of Grandal?

Puig and Kemp combined for 44 home runs and 152 RBI in 2018, and the Dodgers hope that their productivity can be replicated by the often injured outfielder A.J. Pollock, who signed a five-year $60 million deal in the offseason. Pollock probably won't be able to put up those kinds of numbers on his own, so the organization is praying for a breakout rookie year by Alex Verdugo.

Finally, the Dodgers fixed a glaring hole in the back end of their bullpen as they bolstered the bridge to closer Kenley Jansen by signing Los Angeles native Joe Kelly as a free agent.

Kelly gave the Dodgers fits in the Fall Classic with the Red Sox last October, throwing six shutout innings in all five games of the World Series. Despite his dominance when the lights were the brightest, Kelly struggled in the second half of the regular season, and the Dodgers are hoping those struggles are permanently behind him, as Kelly comes back to pitch in the National League for the first time since 2014.

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