The Los Angeles Dodgers saw their 2014 season come to a disappointing end in the NLDS, but their World Series aspirations for this year haven't changed. In order for that to happen, here are the biggest questions they have to answer:
The trade of starting outfielder to Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres opens up a spot in the starting lineup for Pederson, who blasted 33 home runs and 78 RBI's in the minor leagues last season. It was only a matter of time before Pederson got a chance to prove himself in the majors, and it looks like that time is now. They need him to be productive to them to have a chance to repeat as NL West champions and also keep the Dodgers from completely relying on Yasiel Puig.
There were numerous reports throughout the course of the season about problems in the clubhouse, most of them centered on disputes between Kemp and Puig. The Kemp deal alleviated that problem, but Puig can still be a disruptive force by himself. Add in Andre Ethier potentially staying in a backup role behind Pederson, and there's the potential for several more major issues to arise. Manager Don Mattingly is going to have to do a better job dealing with problems that will undoubtedly come up this year.
LA's bullpen had one of the worst ERA's in the majors last season (3.80, 22nd), was in the bottom third in opponent on base percentage (.332, 21st) and ranked next to last in wins (18). They brought in Juan Nicasio, Joel Peralta, and Chris Hatch with the hope of solidifying the unit but they have to go out and prove they're improved to take some of the pressure of Clayton Kershaw, Dan Haren, and Zach Grienke.
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