Q: Baseball Nation - Going into the season, what do you feel are the Dodgers greatest weaknesses and strengths?
A: Dylan Hernandez – They feel pretty good about their starting pitching depth. They went into camp with four established starters last year; they have six this year. There are a lot of areas of concern – the middle of the lineup, number of low-OBP players, bullpen, rookie manager, bench, advanced age of some key players.
Q: Baseball Nation - The Dodgers situation in left-field is not as bad as everyone is making it, would you agree?
A: Dylan Hernandez – I think it might even be worse. I can’t say I’ve seen Thames play the outfield much, but I haven’t heard anything positive about his defense. Gibbons is a huge question mark. But there’s a chance, albeit a remote one, that the Dodgers could have one of the best left fielders in baseball: If Gwynn can hit, Kemp will move back to right and Ethier will go to left.
Q: Baseball Nation - If Manny Ramirez had never come to the Dodgers, would Joe Torre have been remembered in Los Angeles as a complete bust?
A: Dylan Hernandez – Yes.
Q: Baseball Nation - Where does Don Mattingly stand as a manager? I mean, his only experience is during the AFL.
A: Dylan Hernandez – More important than his experience is the fact that his team has a hole in left field, a closer who might not be able to do the job anymore, a leadoff hitter with a long medical history, a weak bench and a boss who might not have the funds necessary to remedy of those problems.
Q: Baseball Nation - How do you balance being a fan and a reporter?
A: Dylan Hernandez – I have a job to do. It’s as simple as that.
Q: Baseball Nation - What led you to start writing about baseball, specifically the Dodgers?
A: Dylan Hernandez – I used to be a general assignment sports reporter at the San Jose Mercury News. The Times took a chance and hired me to cover the Dodgers in large part because I speak Spanish and Japanese. (My father is from El Salvador and my mother is from Japan; they met on our tour bus in Mexico. Seriously.)
Q: Baseball Nation - Where would you take Jaime McCourt on a first date?
A: Dylan Hernandez – What about a session with Dr. Shpunt?