Dodgers Roster: What Will the Outfield Look Like in 2019?

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A lot of changes may be coming the Dodgers‘ way over the winter, and the biggest may come in the outfield.

On the current Dodger roster, there are six players that could play in the outfield: Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernandez, Cody Bellinger, Matt Kemp and Joc Pederson.

Puig had a pretty decent year, with 23 home runs,  also playing well in the playoffs, especially in the World Series. He has one year of control left on his team friendly contract. He’s been trade fodder for pretty much his whole career as a Dodger, and this off-season probably won’t be much different.

The next three also play infield positions. As the Dodgers do not currently have a second baseman signed, and if nothing else changes, one could assume that Taylor and Hernandez would split time at second. There have not been rumblings of the front office signing a second baseman, not even of Brian Dozier being re-signed. They may surprise us, but I would look for the front office to cover the keystone with in house options.

Bellinger is, of course, a top rate first baseman in addition to being able to patrol center field. He spent most of the 2018 season out there because of the emergence of Max Muncy and his powerful bat. Whether Bellinger continues to roam the outfield depends on whether Muncy can continue his offensive output or whether Bellinger will resume being the day-to-day first baseman.

Matt Kemp surprised everyone by having a resurgent season, carrying the team the first half when he seemed to be the only one who could hit. But now he’s one year older, still on an expensive contract, and would be prime for another salary dump, or even just being let go.

Joc Pederson has not ever quite lived up to what he could be, batting .248 with 25 homers last season. He has gone from the starting center fielder to begin a platoon player. Still, he could be good trade fodder, as teams would like those 25 homers for their team.

Alex Verdugo may very well push his name into the conversation. He has been requested by other teams looking to do trades with the Dodgers, but has seemingly always been off limits. This could be the year that he is ready to come up to the big leagues and stay for good. There’s also Andrew Toles, who has been lurking on the fringe of the majors since resurrecting his career a few seasons ago.

But the biggest indicator in what the Dodgers outfield will look like in 2019 is if the front office does actively pursue and sign Bryce Harper. Last week, there were rumors that the Dodgers would sign Harper to a 14 year, $420 million contract. That doesn’t remotely sound like anything this front office would do. But they still may pursue him, as he is actually a lefty batter that can hit left or right-handed pitching. At age 26, he’s got quite a few good years left, and would be an upgrade for all the outfielders they have now.

Signing Harper would perhaps spell the end of Puig as a Dodger, as they both play right field. I don’t know if Puig would be willing/able to move to left. Perhaps Harper would be willing to move to left. It also depends on how much platooning the Dodgers plan to do going forward, although if they sign Harper, he would not be one of the players being platooned. There are many variable at play for the Dodger outfield, and it will be incredibly interesting watching it all play out. Fans should be prepared that one of their favorites, i.e. Puig or Kemp will be gone once spring training rolls around.

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16 thoughts on “Dodgers Roster: What Will the Outfield Look Like in 2019?

  1. Your right Andy, I don’t see the team bringing back the outfield exactly the same way it was in 2018. I don’t have any clue what they are going to do, but something will change.

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    1. Something will change alright. Friedman has money to spend. Zaidi will probably move to a nice 6 bedroom in Pacific Heights. The outfield will be filled with launch angle and exit velocity, but nobody will hit over .250. Knowing how Friedman’s brain works he would probably sign Harper and platoon him with Puig.

      I wonder if Jansen is ok. 2 blown saves in the World Series followed by heart surgery. And Kershaw. 3 years of back and hip injuries, bicep inflammation, a 90 mph fastball, ending the year with 9 earned runs in 2 losses.

      Yeah. The outfield might look different. So might the bullpen. But both will be run the same. Hope it works.

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    2. I agree with the article with the exception of parting ways with Puig. I feel he has not hit his potential as a star. If Harper is signed then use the surplus of out fielders to trade for a starting pitcher that could win games in the playoffs. It is time to bring one of our top farm catchers up and get them ready for the majors. John Byer

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  2. They are not going to go after Harper. Quit your dreaming. They have never given anyone more than 5 years. Jansen got that and they also have never given anyone a 9 figure contract.

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    1. I recognize that picture. Welcome to a new playground Bear.

      I think they will go after Harper. Bryan Harper, 28 year old AA pitcher. Why him? Spin rate. He spun the name Bryce into Bryan. As soon as he has his Tommy John surgery the package will be complete.

      Rumor has it the Dodgers will trade Pederson, Smith and May, plus cash for Realmuto. I started the rumor, so, feel free to run with it.

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  3. Sign Harper. 10 years $300 million. Move him to first before his legs are completely gone.
    Outfield: RF = Puig; CF = Bellinger; LF = Verdugo
    Infield: 1B = Harper; 2B = Muncy; SS = Seager; 3B = Turner
    Bench = Freese, Hernandez, Taylor, Toles & Pederson.
    Trade for Realmuto

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    1. While I do like that lineup, and the bench, I think Harper might get more AAV than that. $420 sounds unlikely but $350 doesn’t. That’s not Friedman’s M.O.. At least it hasn’t been.

      Listening to PTI today they were hinting at this being a good time to give both Harper and Stanton a chance to play out their careers with their home town team, or in Harper’s case the team he idolized as a kid. Stanton’s AAV is still under $30mm and takes him to 37. He’s built like The Rock and probably will earn his money for at least the next 5 years. He’s 29 next year, makes $26, $26 and $29 for the next 3 years. Anybody interested in taking him and maybe helping Harper go to NY? Stanton could be the RH Thunder we’ve needed.

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      1. If my math is correct (and it often isn’t) I think he has 9 years left @ 270 mil. I seem to remember reading somewhere that the Marlins agreed to send the Yanks 30 mil if Stanton doesn’t pick up his opt out in 2020. If all of the above is correct and they take back Kemp’s contract I might have to think seriously about doing the deal. I think Stanton would be much happier out here than he is in NY but baseball history is littered with power hitting outfielders having their performance fall off a cliff part way through a long contract. Maybe we shouldn’t do it. Aw hell, I’ll let you decide Scoop.

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      2. 2019: $26 million
        2020: $26 million
        2021: $29 million
        2022: $29 million
        2023: $32 million
        2024: $32 million
        2025: $32 million
        2026: $29 million
        2027: $25 million
        2028: $25 million team option/$10 million buyout

        I added these up and I got 10 years 270 million. By the time he turns 35, 2025, cost per WAR in free agent pricing should be way over $12mm so over the course of this deal if he puts up 23 WAR he’s paid for himself. He’s averaged 4.36 WAR over his first 9 so I think he can easily earn his money. And there will be a star power element with him in the lineup. Who knows, his B.I.S. revenue may pay part of his salary. Dodgers could draw 4 million with him on the team.

        I like the idea. Now, how to get it done? Iontkno. I’m an idea man, not an accountant. I expect Farhan to make it so. Oh… wait…..

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    1. Farhan is leaving so start thinking about guys on the Giants roster you’d like to have him send us. Pretty slim pickings I’m afraid.

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    2. The Dodgers are saying they have interest in DJ LeMahieu, but we know from our own reporting they are working behind the scenes for Scooter. And, everybody wants Stanton in LA.. But…. Farhan is outta here, so, who closes these deals? Friedman? Byrnes? Keith? Jeff D? Stanton wants to be a Dodger. Harper wants to be a Yankee. Puig and Muncy would hit 60 home runs in Cincinnati. Bring the heat Keith. Make it be, Jefe D.

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  4. Andrew is going to be so busy the next couple of days, looking for a new GM, he should let us make the gennet, Iglesias deal, and the Stanton deal, that would take a lot off of his plate. I’m sure we can get it done, Jeff you make the reds deal happen, the Stanton deal is your baby, scoop I’ll advise, and keep Andrew distracted until we get it done.

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    1. Nobody but the Dodgers would be remotely interested in Stanton. His salary is too large for any team but us, plus he made it abundantly clear where he wants to play. The trade of Stanton would be clearing salary and a roster spot for Harper. I can get that trade done over morning bagels. We give them 5 guys, none of whom amount to more than a possible cup of coffee over the next 3 years. Sopko, Carrillo, Brito, DiCaprio and Dwayne Johnson. Done deal. Welcome home Mike.

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  5. Okay Jeff, scoop got the Stanton deal done your up, what’s it going to take to get the reds deal done, while I have Andrew busy looking at what’s behind curtain number three.

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