Dodgers Roster: Dave Roberts Believes 2019 Outfield Is ‘Set’

(Mandatory Credit: Keith Birmingham/SCNG)

While many fans of the Dodgers continue to express their disappointment over the team’s spending this winter, skipper Dave Roberts remains upbeat, especially after the acquisition of center fielder A.J. Pollock last week.

In an interview on MLB Network Radio on Monday, Roberts was asked if the Dodgers were out of the running for the services of Bryce Harper as a result of signing Pollock.

Roberts replied by stating, “All I know is we’re pretty set in the outfield.”

Of course, Roberts didn’t give us a clue as to what the team has in mind as far as specific positional duties or potential platoons go, but he did sound extremely excited about the resources that are available to him.

“We got a lot of depth; we got a lot of good players,” Roberts said. “I think that right now, where we’re at, we’re ready to compete for a championship.”

We’ve been speculating for months about how the lineups will conceivably be structured for the upcoming season. Many pundits initially envisioned the outfield as one giant platoon. Yet, as it stands now, things aren’t any clearer, aside from the assumption that Pollock will see the lion’s share of reps in center.

At one point, many felt that Cody Bellinger would be seeing most of his action in center field; however, with Pollock in the picture, it is believed that No. 35 could be shifted to right field, at least against righty pitching, as Max Muncy would handle the duties at first base.

Last season, Bellinger played 78 games in center while appearing five times in right field. During his rookie campaign in 2017, he logged 39 games in left field, four games in center and five games in right field. Nevertheless, despite his versatility, many still believe that Bellinger’s true position is first base.

Whether or not Muncy is an everyday player in 2019 remains to be seen, but it’s hard to imagine team management leaving him out of the lineup to begin the year after he produced a .973 OPS and a 4.8 oWAR last year. Some feel that Muncy could possibly sit against southpaws, but in reality, his splits aren’t all that bad. Against left-handed pitching last year, he hit .255/.361/.529 with eight long balls in 119 PA. Against righty pitching, he slashed .266/.401/.501 with 27 long balls over 362 PA.

In terms of the entire 2018 team, Muncy’s impressive .391 overall OBP trailed only the .406 mark registered by third baseman Justin Turner.

On Saturday, Roberts hinted that he envisioned Muncy seeing “a little” action at second base alongside Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez.

Also before the arrival of Pollock, speculation was that Alex Verdugo may finally get his shot at playing every day in right field, but with Bellinger being pushed to right—at least part-time—it’s hard to say what’s in store for Verdugo. We know Joc Pederson will see most of the action against righty pitching in left field, which constitutes roughly 66% of the total playing time.

Some fans believe that the signing of Pollock opens the door for Pederson to be traded.

At the end of the day, the 2019 starting outfield crew may boil down to whomever produces during the upcoming Cactus League schedule—aside from Pollock, who will be the Opening Day center fielder.

Obviously, injuries always play a part in the daily lineups. For all we know, there may be a surprise or two in store, much like we saw from Muncy last year and Taylor in 2017.


36 thoughts on “Dodgers Roster: Dave Roberts Believes 2019 Outfield Is ‘Set’

  1. The best thing for the Dodgers would be for Bellinger to play 1B where he belongs and has a truly elite glove but that requires Muncy to be able to ha for 2B the majority of the time which I’m not sold on. Muncy could turn back into a pumpkin and solve all this. I hope that’s not the case but he really struggled after pitchers made adjustments to him.

    1. My point exactly. All of this predicated on Max Muncy repeating what he did last year. I hope he does, but I am of the mind he will regress some. I also would rather not see Bellinger risk injury running around the outfield. His only injury in the majors came playing the outfield.

    2. I have another idea, package Muncy in a deal for Kluber…..Indians get a DH, and the Dodgers get that 3rd class starter.

      1. I had Muncy packaged in a hypothetical deal for Cervelli and Vazquez back in December. Friedman apparently didn’t like my advice, opting for the services or JMart and Joe Kelly instead. 🙂

    3. I’m concerned about Muncy as well. I hope I’m wrong but I see him falling way off from last year.
      Bellinger needs to be at 1b we have plenty of outfielders

  2. “Many believe his true position is 1b”.

    Many? Many who? Are Roberts and Friedman among the many? Other than “everybody plays multiple positions” what do they think?

    All I want to know is what 8 players playing where give this team the best DRS numbers? Maybe we should ask the pitching staff where they want Muncy and Bellinger. I got a feeling they would say 1B and RF. I don’t know that but it makes sense to me.

    1. To answer your question, I would say that Friedman poses himself this question of his own: What’s more valuable, Bellinger’s glove at first base defensively, or Muncy’s bat in the lineup offensively?

      1. Bellinger’s glove is gold glove quality regardless of where you put him so this all rides on Max hitting like he did last year.

    2. it seems to me we are going to have to pick our poison which defensive position we want to sacrifice defense for offense with Muncy.

      1. Again predicated on Mad Max repeating last years numbers. What are you going to do if he hits .150 in spring? No one can predict what any player is going to do year to year. They love the guy because he had a very good year. He regressed in the second half and his strikeouts increased a lot. I would hope he improves, but sorry, I am not betting the house on it. One good year does not super star make. He says he is most comfortable at second. So play him where he is comfortable. That makes Kike what he should be, a super utility player, and pushes Taylor into the LF mix. And Taylor can backup Seager if he needs a day off.

    3. You always make sense Scoop. Thats why I like you. The voice of reason in a sea of dissent, I just think Muncy is not going to be the same guy. Hope he proves me wrong. New rumor has floated the idea that Machado might opt for a 1 year deal. Since what he really wants has not been available. Also floating is the news that Harper might announce his decision tomorrow. Oh one last thing Scoop. I don’t want Bellinger playing a position that increases his risk of injury, Playing the outfield does that. Muncy said he feels more comfortable there. So fine, let him take 100 grounders a day at 2nd and leave first base to the more talented player there.

      1. He may be more comfortable at 2B but his body doesn’t agree. He will need to greatly increase his range defensively if he can be even average defensively up the middle.

      2. Again, I reiterate, all this is supposition based on him performing at the same level. He is at best, mediocre at 1st. He only made 1 error at second, and 5 at first. Most of those were probably on missed throws. He made 7 at third where he is atrocious. And I say again, I do not want Bellinger playing a position that greatly enhances his chance of injury. The outfield is that spot. We have had far fewer first basemen suffer a season ending or lengthy stay on the DL injury than we have outfielders. Toles is a prime example.

  3. I hadn’t heard him say he was “more comfortable” at second. As for errors, the stats say he had 9x the chances at first.

    Look, other than in the American League I don’t know where he belongs. I’m sure Roberts and Friedman will figure it out. One thing for sure, signing Pollock pushes every outfielder on the 40 down the depth chart. Good problem to have, but nonetheless a problem.

    Projections have Muncy about 130 points less OPS, but still pretty good. 440 PA’s definitely says platoon or utility. No surprise there. My guess is they will continue to use everybody the same way they’ve been using them. Keeps everyone sharp. You are all gonna play tomorrow so come to the park ready.

    1. Very true, less chances. But you stretch that out over a full season, he makes close to 20 errors as a 1st baseman and no where near that at the keystone……I still trade the guy while the iron is hot. He fades much and his value is in the crapper.

      1. I traded him too. Maybe to the Yankees, maybe to Cleveland. Who needs a DH that can still play a utility role when needed? I’m sure there would be interest. But he’s still here and as long as he is he needs a position. We already have 2 decent second baseman. They both hit right handers just fine. Freese hit both lefties and righties. We don’t need a platoon at either position. But you know we want one at both. It’s who we are. It’s what we don.

  4. We could argue this point for days and days. We all have our own point of view and rarely are 2 of them the same. Some here love Friedman and the way he works. Others, not so much. Thats cool. Only time will tell who is more right and who is wacky. One thing is for sure, this off season has been extremely boring. Waiting for Machado and Harper to decide where they are going to play has dominated the news, and the lack of news on either front has a lot of fans turned off. There are some Dodger fans who actually believe that the Dodger might still sign both of those guys.

  5. Watch Friedman’s plan all along to be to wait out Harper to get the best deal possible and then blow past the luxury tax.

      1. Not a chance. I think Machado hated it in LA and I think management didn’t think much of him either. I would be on board with a one year deal though

  6. If they are going to go over the line they better get Harper or Machado. That’s the only way they can really justify doing it. I just don’t really like either player compared to Arenado who will be available next year.

  7. Arenado is a monster, I’ll bet he gets a better AAV next year than either Harper, or machado do this year. I would open the vault for arenado, plus he’s a SoCal guy.

  8. On an unrelated but previously discussed subject, some of us have been concerned about the ramifications of some potential wrong doings with some of the Cuban signings which were done a few years ago. Just found this:
    “According to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, neither the Dodgers nor any other club are currently being investigated by the league for international scouting misconduct.” People had been talking about potential penalties like what the Braves had thrown at them so maybe we’ve escaped what could have been a major problem.

  9. Not a snowballs chance in hell Friedman goes over the CBT. What I have been reading is that they have offered Harper a 1 year deal. And it along with his other offers is being considered. It is also said he will probably make his choice known on the website for the video game that he is on the cover for. I doubt Boras lets him sign a one year contract.

  10. If Harper TRULY wanted to be a Dodger like like rumor has it then he would take a one year deal knowing the Dodgers can offer him a huge contract without going over the line. With Bailey, Hill and Ryu’s contracts off the books and low cost young arms from the farm likely to take their place plus the $20 million in deferred money from Kazmir, Kemp and Olivera clearing the books the Dodgers can sign someone like Harper plus add a frontline pitcher if they want.

    1. That is all it is Alex is a rumor. I do not believe any one player is the magic elixir that means a World Series title. I also do not believe that they will sign Harper. Most of the stories right now have them concentrating on Realmuto, which for one of our catchers would not be good news. But the price is still too high. They are insisting on 2 top ten prospects from all of the teams they are talking to. I think Harper and Machado will both go for the highest offer, but I also believe if anyone takes a one year deal, it would be Manny. Harper is a pipe dream. They give him a one year deal for what a lot of people are saying he wants, 35 million and they are over the CBT. With what Kasten said at Fan Fest, I cannot believe they are seriously engaged in contract negotiations with him.

      1. They could structure any deal so it offers escape clauses for each side in case it isn’t working. In Harper’s case, yes. we will have more money after next year, but how much do we want to give him? I’d say yes to Arenado but he’s going to be 29 in his free agent year, so keep that in mind if you’re thinking about a long contract. The data is in and it’s clear – players peak before 30. They can of course be good after that, but $30+ million good?

        There are fans everywhere that will be talking the way we are about our young stars when they hit FA Seager is from North Carolina. He’s a free agent in ’22 and he will be 28. If we don’t lock him up early, you can bet Braves fans are going to be salivating about him “coming home”.

      2. Absolutely right there Scoop. I read today where Roberts stated the Dodger outfield was set. To me, that closes the door on any Harper talk.

  11. Word out this morning that the Dbacks have signed Greg Holland to a one year, 3.5 mil contract. After getting off to a horrible start last year (he signed very late), he was traded to the Nats where he pitched very well. I would have gladly spent Friedman’s money on this contract. Low risk, high potential reward. When I called Andrew this morning to express my disappointment, he explained that he couldn’t sign both Holland AND Kimbrel and was saving his money for Kimbrel. He tells me the Kimbrel signing will be announced in the next couple of days. (For those who are interested, the last two sentences were just me practicing for my creative writing class).

      1. Not to worry. Saving the money for Kimbrel. He’s explained to him that 6 years/100 million is ridiculous and has offered him a 1 year/40 million contract instead. Madsen’s agent has advised that if Andrew can’t sign Kimbrel for that amount, his client would be willing to do it.

  12. This is me…..mellowing out. Spring is nigh. Thats creative writing there Jefe, turning over a new leaf so to speak. No more tirades against Ol Andy…..for now. This is the way Dodger baseball is in this decade. The ownership group has the man in place, Ol Andy, that they trust to steer the good ship Doyer, to victory. At least they hope so. Getting all upset over Ol Andy has proved to be counter productive and very draining. And I am at the age now where arguing is not really condusive to good blood pressure. I have no favorites, although MJ would argue that I do. My favorites are long retired or dead. Best ballplayer I ever saw was Willie Mays. I realized baseball had changed a bunch when I read a post after Bonds did not make the hall that accused Mays and Schmidt of juicing. Unlike Bonds, Mays skills decreased as he got older, and when he was with the Mets in I think it was 73, he was a mere shadow of the Sey Hey kid. His last really good season came when he was 35. 37 Homers and 103 ribbies. The last time he would have over 100 in his brilliant career. He played 7 more years and was serviceable, but not the superstar we all respected. He hit .211 that last year as a Met. 8 HR’s and 22 RBI’s. Sad end for a great player. He would have made the hall easily had he retired at 36. The last time Bonds drove in 100 runs, he was 39. From his 35 year old season through his 39th, 5 years, he hit well over .300 every year. You do not get better in baseball with age. In only 1 of those 5 years did he fail to drive in 100 runs. Where as Mays hit .211 at 42, Bonds hit .276 with 28 homers and 66 RBI’s. That’s more than Pederson had last year. I really believe, had someone offered him a contract, he would have kept playing because he wanted to get to 800 HR’s. But because of the stigma of the juicing and his general demeanor no one would sign him. He had the numbers before he ever started using that stuff to be a HOFer. That he is not in the hall, is his own doing. I have no sympathy for him, Clemens, or anyone else who used that stuff to get an advantage. Neither do I weep for Pete Rose, the guy was amazing to watch. Played with his hair on fire. He came to beat you every game. And he was as hated and admired as any Dodger foe ever. But he succumbed to his addiction and brought that addiction to his job, which specifically bans it. He too has to sleep in the bed he made.

  13. It has been announced that Jackie Robinson will be remembered this coming MLB season. His legacy in base-ball will
    be always honored. However, Branch Rickey should also be remembered. Because of Mr. Rickey’s determination to
    back Jackie at all time, Robinson was able to endure breaking the color barrier in MLB.

    1. Rickey is in the Hall of Fame. He did a lot more in baseball than just sign Robinson, Campy, Newcombe and Joe Bankhead. He also was the guy who made the farm system what it is today. Teams back in the day got their players from semi-pro and the colleges and had very few minor league teams. At one point after Rickey took over the Cardinals, they had 28 minor league teams and over 800 players under contract. Rickey bucked the system to bring Robinson to Brooklyn. But had it not been for a sympathetic Baseball commissioner in Happy Chandler, he may never have had the opportunity. Owners and players back then were that prejudiced that without the commissioners blessing, no way Rickey could have pulled it off. Baseball is a better game for it. Believe it or not, the last team to integrate was the Boston Red Sox. Who did not have a player of color on their team until 1959 when infielder Pumpsie Green made the team out of spring training.

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