Joshua Saylor was born and raised in West Hills CA. While he grew up a die hard Lakers fan, nothing compares to his love for the Dodgers.
Josh graduated from Cal State Long Beach in 2012, where he not only watched his 49ers make the NCAA tournament for the first time in five years, but also attained a degree in Broadcast Journalism.
While in school, Josh began his radio career as an intern for Homefieldsports and AM 1400 KKZZ in Ventura. He then worked as a producer and co-host of a sports radio show at Kbeach radio on the campus of Cal State Long Beach. Finally, in the summer of 2011 Josh became the intern of the Loose Cannons Radio Show, featured on Fox Sports Radio. After a year helping produce the Loose Cannons, Josh was then hired to be a part of the AM 570 Fox Sports LA Promotions team.
In his free time Josh enjoys sleeping, listening to music, browsing the internet, playing fantasy sports and hanging out with his dog Kobe.
This is going to be an interesting offseason for the Lakers. They have a lot of unanswered questions heading into the offseason.
Here are the three biggest questions facing the Lakers this offseason...
1. Steve Nash
Lets face it Lakers fans, Steve Nash looked old and brittle this season. He just wasn’t the same player we saw in Phoenix the last few years. He is, after all, 39 years old. Even superstars can only defy getting old for so long. It will be interesting to see what the Lakers do about their point guard situation this offseason. Only time will tell, but just to add a little twist here, Chris Paul will be a free agent this offseason. Maybe the Lakers can still get what they wanted after all?
2. Kobe Bryant
Yes, there is no doubt Kobe Bryant is the heart and soul of the Lakers, even at 34 years old. However, he is also making 30 million dollars next season season. If the Lakers want the ability to make more moves, and to bring in better players, Kobe Bryant will take a pay cut. I mean the best player in the NBA, LeBron James, only makes 18 million dollars this season. Why? Because winning is more important than making as much money as possible. We will see this offseason what is more important to Kobe... winning or getting paid. Also, under the new collective bargaining agreement, a player making 30 million a season just doesn’t work anymore.
3. Dwight Howard
Let the drama begin. Will Dwight Howard be back in a Lakers uniform next season? For those Lakers fans saying he should remain loyal to the Lakers... You're forgetting, this a business, and this is Dwight Howard. The guy hasn’t been able to make up his mind about anything since his final year in Orlando. He finally has what he wanted all along. The chance to choose where he wants to play. He didn’t show up for the Lakers in the playoffs this season, and even got himself ejected in the final game against the Spurs, leading to an apparent little feud with Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak. It will be interesting to see if any of that has an effect on whether Dwight chooses to stay with the Lakers this offseason.
Matt Kemp needs to be healthy
In order for the Dodgers to have a successful 2013 season, Matt Kemp must return to form. That shoulder injury Kemp is returning from was much more serious than people thought. It would be nice, at some point, to see Kemp move to one of the corner outfield spots in order to preserve him offensively for years to come. Nonetheless, Matt needs to return to his 2011 .324 average, 39 home run, 126 RBI, .586 slugging percentage and .399 on base percentage good old self. Now, I’m not saying he needs those exact numbers, but he needs to get back to the player who was capable of putting up these kind of ridiculous stats.
Besides his on the field play, Kemp needs to be the the leader of this team. They're massive expectations in LA for the Dodgers. We have seen the Lakers fail to live up to championship expectations so far this season. A healthy Matt Kemp is not just the Dodgers best player, but is also the heart of the Dodgers and their brand. He needs to become what Derek Jeter means to the Yankees. The best way to start is by leading the Dodgers to a World Series Championship in 2013.
Hyun-Jin Ryu and Josh Beckett will surprise people this season
Yes... I am saying it here.
Lets start with the rookie Ryu...
According to MLB guidelines Ryu is a rookie, even at 26 years old and after playing 6 seasons professionally in South Korea. In 6 spring training starts, Ryu has posted a 2-2 record and 3.86 era. He showed off his mid 90’s fastball, devastating slider and deceptive change in his few starts. There is definitely room for improvement with that curveball, but that will come. This guy is good. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win the NL Rookie of the Year. Most importantly former Dodger Chan Ho Park said he will shine in Hollywood.
And now Josh Beckett...
There is no doubt Beckett is not the same pitcher he was even a few years ago, when he was blowing batters away with that 95 plus fastball. However, he still has quality stuff, and can still get major league hitters out. He also posted a sub 3 era over his last 7 starts last season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Beckett winning at least 15 games for the Dodgers this season, and help provide a solid 1-4 in the Dodgers rotation consisting of Kershaw, Grienke, Ryu and Beckett.
Clayton Kershaw needs to continue his dominance
Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in the National League. I would say in baseball if that guy Justin Verlander didn’t play for the Detroit Tigers. He and Matt Kemp are the two most important parts for the Dodgers this season. However Verlander is already 30 and Kershaw is only 25 and left handed. So who would you take?
Over the last 2 seasons, Kershaw has lead the national league in strikeouts, era and whip. He should have won the Cy Young last year, but RA Dickey was the best story in baseball and played in the biggest market. I can’t see him not winning his 2nd Cy Young in 3 years this season. He will outduel Stephen Strasburg in every category. Strasburg hasn’t even thrown over 200 innings once in his career, while Kershaw has cracked the mark each of the last 3 seasons. As long as that hip is healthy, which it appears to be, nothing can stop Kershaw from exerting his dominance over the NL.
At some point Yasiel Puig must be called up to big leagues
Little was known about this player when the Dodgers gave the Cuban defector a 7-year 42 million dollar contract. Well that contract appears to be a steal now. He had the best spring training of any dodger. He hit .527 with 3 home runs and 11 runs batted in this spring. Puig even showed off his speed with 4 stolen bases. He has too much talent not to be called up before September. Look what happened when the Angels called up Mike Trout last season due to injuries to outfielders. Trout took off from that point, and that is the same feeling I have regarding Puig. He may not be quite as good as Trout, but he is simply too talented to keep in the minors for long. He has been optioned down to AA, but it is only a matter of time before Puig is off and running at the major league level. The bigger question is who would he replace in the outfield? It appears the odd man out would be Andre Ethier...
Finally what will Carl Crawford provide for the Dodgers
Crawford is recovering from Tommy John Surgery, but has looked good this spring for the Dodgers. The Dodgers need someone who can provide a spark at the top of the order. It’s the one big question the Dodgers are still facing, and something they were really missing last season. If healthy Crawford is one of the better weapons on this team. Crawford is a career .292 hitter, with over 400 stolen bases in his career and a ..332 on base percentage. He can create havoc on the base paths, and provide scoring opportunities for the heart of the Dodger lineup. He even has a little pop in his bat with 118 career home runs and 114 career triples. Just 3 years ago in 2010, Crawford had his best season, posting a .307 average, 19 home runs, 13 triples, 90 rbi’s, and a .356 on base percentage. If healthy, Crawford can become that elite leadoff hitter the Dodgers have been searching for.
The Dodgers open up their season against the rival San Francisco Giants on April 1st. No matter what happens, it is going to be a season full of drama for the LA Dodgers. Hopefully the drama includes their first World Series Championship in 25 years.
What’s going on in LA sports? USC is not the team everyone thought they would be. UCLA is much better but not great quite yet. Dodgers have been all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, and last but not least, Lakers training camp starts on October 2nd... Yes, people... Lakers basketball is finally on the horizon.
The USC Trojans have not been off to the National Championship caliber start everybody predicted for them. There have definitely been some struggles this year, beginning with Heisman Trophy candidate QB Matt Barkley. Its seems as if the pressure of all the expectations put on his shoulders, have effected his play on the field. In 2011, when there were very low expectations for the Trojans, Barkley threw for a career high 39 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. In contrast, this season he has only 12 TD’s through 4 games and has already managed to throw 5 interceptions. Looks like the bye week for the Trojans came at the perfect time. They can take the time to work out some of there issues and hopefully rebound. Remember, the Trojans were able to rebound from an early season loss last season to Arizona State. With there next three games against Utah, Washington and Colorado, the Trojans are primed to bounce back and still hopefully make a run at a National Championship.
On the other hand, the UCLA Bruins came into the season with much lower expectations than the Trojans. After getting off to an early 2-0 start, including a win against 16 ranked Nebraska at the time, expectations started to go through the roof. The Bruins have looked like a new and rejuvenated team under the guidance of new head coach, Jim Mora Jr. However, some of their weaknesses were exposed in there 27-20 loss at the hands of the Oregon State Beavers. During the bye week. the Bruins have to fix up some holes on defense, and see how the recent injures to there offensive line are going to effect them. Hopefully, a game against Colorado coming off there break, is the medicine they need to rebound from this loss.
And then there are the Los Angeles Dodgers. What is there to say about them? They definitely have not lived up to expectations since making that blockbuster trade that landed them Adrian Gonzales and Josh Beckett. It seems as if the Dodger players have been pressing ever since the trade went down. The fans expectation to win went through the roof, which is fine, but the players seemed to let those expectations effect there play on the field. There have also been injuries to key players including Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw, that have obviously effected there ability to win. With 6 games left, they're 3 games out of the final wildcard spot. Not exactly the best spot to be in. However, there is still a slight chance for the Dodgers. Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzales have seemed to bust out of their slumps over the last week, with Kemp hitting 333 with 1 home run, and Gonzales hitting 355 with 2 home runs. More importantly, the St. Louis Cardinals, the team the Dodgers are chasing for the final wild card spot, have to play two of the best teams in baseball over there last 6 games, in the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals. The Dodgers have to go 6-0 against there Western Conference rivals, the Colorado Rockies and San Francisco Giants, and hope the Cardinals can lose at least three games somewhere down the stretch. It's possible, people. We saw the Cardinals do this last year. For now, all we can do is sit back and watch some great baseball down the final stretch of the regular season.
Everybody knows what people in LA are really excited for. Nothing compares to the Lakers in this town, and training camp is now only 3 days away! The city is buzzing with excitement to see the new look Lakers led by there new stars, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. Unfortunately, we will not see Dwight Howard at the start of training camp, since he is still recovering from his off-season back surgery. However, reports are that Howard will be ready for the start of the regular season, which was not originally thought to be possible. The real interesting person to watch this season is not even a player, but head coach Mike Brown. Their is now the pressure to win immediately with all of the new additions that Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss have made in the off-season. He's also installing the Princeton Offense this season with the team, in order to emphasize the skills of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, along with Kobe Bryant. We have three days until the Lakers finally start taking over this town.
It has been a busy couple weeks in the LA sports scene. Thankfully, with Carmageddon 2 approaching this weekend with the closure of parts of the 405 Freeway, USC and UCLA have a week off to regroup, and the Dodgers can hopefully continue to win, so fans can be happy when they are sitting at home watching sports on their big screen TVs.
Until next time.