In the This Is My Nightmare series, we'll take a look at what the absolute worst case scenario for each team would be in 2013. Think of it as the negative complement to our You May Say I'm A Dreamer series that we'll be running during our preview series.
The nightmare has already begun for the Dodgers with the news that Hanley Ramirez will miss eight weeks after tearing a ligament in his thumb this week. That will thrust Dee Gordon into a starting role, and Gordon was so brutal last year that the Dodgers actually acquired Ramirez to bolster their productivity at shortstop.
Continuing along the nightmare theme, highly-paid starter Zack Greinke is questionable for Opening Day with inflammation in his elbow. Put two and two together, and that's not a good thing for th Dodgers. Imagine if Greinke blew his elbow out. Dodgers fans and management would probably begin to get physically ill. Speaking of the Dodgers starting rotaion, what about Hyun-Jin Ryu? ESPN's Keith Law wrote a scathing evaluation of Ryu, calling him a fringy fourth starter if his fastball doesn't improve. That doesn't exactly scream "six years, $36 million", which is what the Dodgers signed Ryu for (plus the $25.7 million posting fee the Dodgers paid for Ryu).
Going to the Red Sox trade from last year for a minute, it would be an absolute nightmare if all of those players contributed as little to the Dodgers in 2013 as they did to Boston in 2012. Carl Crawford's Opening Day status is up in the air as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, and who knows how long it will even be until he's playing like the old Crawford that earned that seven year deal from the Red Sox? Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett are both also on the wrong side of 30 (with Gonzalez turning 31 in May, and Beckett turning 33 the same month), and both had dramatic dropoffs in performance. If both continue their downward trend, the Dodgers could be in a bad position.
Finally, what about the faces Dodgers fans have gotten accustomed to for awhile? Clayton Kershaw has been one of the best pitchers in the game since he debuted, but he just turned 25 and already has nearly 1000 major league innings of work on his arm. There's potential for a serious injury there. Matt Kemp ran into injury issues last season with a strained hamstring that bothered him for pretty much the entire year aside from April, and he was never 100% after that. Kemp's only 28, and he was awesome in 2011 and in April 2012 before the injury…but wasn't an elite guy in his career prior to that 2011 season. Maybe that was a blip on the radar, and he'll revert to his prior self after the hamstring injury. There's also Andre Ethier, who is getting paid like a piece of filet mignon, but plays like a ribeye instead. A player who will be 31 next month who has topped out at 3.5 fWAR and can't hit lefties isn't worth a five year, $85 million contract on any planet.
The Dodgers made some significant splashes over the last few months, throwing money around like no one's business under their new ownership group. But this is a team that lacks depth in the majors and the minors, and could see things go off the rails pretty quickly.