By Ross Newhan
I don't buy it.
I don't buy the contention by some columnists and theorists that the Dodgers will be better next year specifically because Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez will have had more time playing together.
I think the Dodgers will be better next year because Ned Colletti is certain to have improved the pitching staff, Ramirez will be moved to third fulltime and either Dee Gordon or another proven and newly acquired infielder will be at shortstop, the Dodgers could have a more offensive catcher and a surgery recovered left fielder Carl Crawford will be dedicated to proving he can be the player that he once was.
My point is that Kemp, Ethier, Gonzalez and Ramirez aren't the type hitters--on a general basis--who hit behind runners, who hit and run, who do the little things that hitters benefit from by knowing each other better and by spending more time playing together.
Yes, Kemp could be fully healthy and better, Gonzalez and Ramirez won't have been newly acquired and trying to prove themselves, and Ethier won't have recently received a contract extension that he may be feeling he has to justify.
For these four, standing in the batter's box is standing in the batter's box and reacting to the pitch as talented hitters/sluggers do.
They should (could?) benefit by playing for a better all-around team, but not necessarily because they will have had more time playing together.