The Dodgers Have Added Help This Winter But Their Season Will Still Come Down To How Kershaw Pitches In October

The Dodgers are good. The fact that they even made the playoffs last year is a testament to the quality of depth the organization has built. At one point last summer the team had more salary on the disabled list than on the active roster. Yet just making the postseason has become old for LA. They've made it to October in six of the past nine seasons but haven't played in the World Series since 1988.

The front office was able to keep the core of last year's team together this winter when they successfully re-signed both Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen. Adrian Gonzalez should return as his consistently reliable self, Clayton Kershaw will be as incredible as usual in the regular season, and Yasmani Grandal is one of the best defensive catchers in baseball.

So why should 2017 be any different? Well for starters there's Logan Forsythe. Most baseball fans probably don't know who he is unless you're a diehard or play fantasy, but he's a massive upgrade at second base for them. Additionally Corey Seager should only get better after finishing third in the NL MVP voting as a rookie. Plus Yasiel Puig seems to be more committed to his body this off-season after humiliatingly getting demoted to AAA last season. Any production the lineup receives from him this year will be a bonus from 2016.

Unless something goes terribly wrong the improved lineup should send LA back to the playoffs in '17. From there it'll be up to Kershaw to determine how far they go. The past six years he has been better than any regular season pitcher we have seen since Pedro in his prime. In the playoffs Kershaw hasn't been as bad as David Price, but he hasn't exactly been Madison Bumgarner either.

2016 was huge for him because at one point it looked like he was single handedly going to will the Dodgers to the World Series. After coming out of the bullpen to close out the NLDS he pitched seven shutout innings against the eventual champion Chicago Cubs in game two of the championship series. 

By the time game six rolled around he didn't have anything left in the tank and Chicago was too good. Kershaw gave up four runs and lasted just five innings that night. Still, this marked the first time Kershaw began to establish himself as a dominant postseason pitcher for any part of the playoffs. Loading up the team around him makes sense since we don't know how much longer his prime will last. If he takes another step forward in the 2017 playoffs there's no reason LA can't win it all.