The biggest storylines of 2013
As we count down the last days of 2012 armed with eggnog, here's a look ahead to the biggest storylines of 2013:
1. The fate of the '13 Los Angeles Dodgers
The new ownership group took over with a vengeance, investing $650 million in player-acquisition cost in its first seven months and immediately changing a reputation sullied by former owner Frank McCourt. The Dodgers made the richest in-season trade in major league history, with the Red Sox deal that netted them Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, before making Zack Greinke the highest-paid right-handed pitcher ever. The Dodgers are spending (or investing, depending on your point of view) so rampantly that some agents wonder whether they'll sign Michael Bourn and trade Andre Ethier -- whom they just signed this past spring to a whopping five-year, $85 million deal -- in an effort to glean a defensive upgrade.
As soon as the season begins, however, the Dodgers will face exceptional scrutiny and pressure as much as the Phillies did after they landed Cliff Lee. The new standard for the Dodgers is easily stated: World Series or bust. Manager Don Mattingly has already spoken of expectations that could be unfair to the players.
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