At What Point Will Roster Adjustments Occur?

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For some reason, many fans of the Dodgers are intrigued at the prospect of team management making roster adjustments. As a matter of fact, some people thrive on it, suggesting that even the most capable players be replaced when they’re in the midst of slumps of even small duration.

Obviously, six games isn’t quite enough time to evaluate a player from the standpoint of whether or not he should retain his spot on the 25-man roster, but those six games do give us a indicator of where said player is at as far as production goes. Offensively, two players who are drawing enormous criticism at the moment are Chris Taylor and Max Muncy—so much so that the aforementioned fans are already calling for their heads.

So far, Muncy has gone 2-for-20 with seven punchouts, and Taylor has gone 2-for-16 with four Ks. Both players have each hit one home run and are the only extra-base hits either has tallied.

We discussed all winter how we thought Muncy would digress, and that has certainly been the case, at least in the first six games. However, for all we know, he could catch fire at any moment. That’s the beauty of baseball and why we watch it. If it was 100% predictable based on the study of numbers, there would probably be a mass exodus among the fan base.

Hypothetically, though, if both players continue to produce at their current rates, there could be some moves made. I think Taylor might be the last to be optioned, only because he is more versatile defensively than Muncy. Both players have one option on their contracts, so there’s really no difference in that regard.

The thing about Muncy is that Cody Bellinger—whose bat is absolutely on fire—can easily be shifted to first base. Bellinger probably prefers to play first, actually. He may even be better suited to earn a Gold Glove there. And, between Alex Verdugo, Enrique Hernandez and Taylor, right field would probably still be in great shape. Verdugo is delivering big-time in the limited action he’s seen, and he would likely have a starting spot on eight out of 10 of rival clubs across the league.

Regardless, it’s still early. Six games is hardly a decent sample size. But, it’s definitely something to keep an eye on. The management team and coaching staff are in no hurry. After all, it took 163 games to secure a division title last year. The season is long.

Nevertheless, the starting rotation possibly will be seeing an adjustment or two in the foreseeable future. Clayton Kershaw will make the Opening Day start for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Thursday, when he’s expected to go about four innings and 60 pitches, followed by a cool-down session in the bullpen. Rich Hill, on the other hand, has backed off the gas a bit. The veteran southpaw won’t throw off a mound again until Saturday at Coors Field. After that, he may be in line for a sim game before making some type of minor league rehab start. So, to say it will be a matter of “weeks” for Hill would likely be a safe assumption.

As far as Kersh goes, if all goes well in his OKC start, he may end up replacing Ross Stripling in the starting rotation. It’s not set in stone, but Roberts has suggested that Julio Urias will remain in the starting five until Hill returns, and deservedly so. He looked fantastic in the series opener against the Giants, throwing five shutout innings of three-hit ball while striking out seven.

Roberts suggested that Urias will get bumped to the bullpen with Hill’s return. In a recent interview, boss Andrew Friedman still remains non-committal on the details of the young lefty’s innings limit, saying that nothing yet has been set in stone.

It’s all worth keeping an eye on, though, especially if the bullpen continues to throw ineffectively. Before spring training began, an ideal ending to a perfectly designed game would have seen Pedro Baez, Joe Kelly and Kenley Jansen throwing the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, respectively. However, at the moment, the final three frames of any game almost feel like an adventure.

Stay tuned.

 

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22 thoughts on “At What Point Will Roster Adjustments Occur?

    1. Good one Rich.

      100 PAs. Muncy hit .207 March/April last year, OPSd .730, then blowed up to .942 and 1.176 in May & June. We need to show some patience here.

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  1. With the Dodgers, I rarely expect any adjustments to the roster unless they are injury related. Max will get his chance to improve. But if he is still having issues by the end of May, I send him down. He is not an asset at that point.

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  2. The Max Muncy situation might even be out of his hands. If Alex Verdugo keeps hitting the way he has then he’s going to force his way into an everyday role at the expense of Muncy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you put the players on the field who give you the best chance to win. Right now, Muncy is not one of those guys and neither is Taylor. But like everyone has pointed out, it is way too early to make any assumptions. That being said, I still think Bellinger should be the every damn day starter at first base with Verdugo taking over in RF.

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  3. Wow. The pitch that Belt just hammered couldn’t have been fatter. Right down the middle. Your stuff ain’t good enough to get away with that Strip.

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  4. Your powers of perception are disappearing there Scoop. Taylor had a clutch hit tonight. Turner just avoided the Golden Sombrero. They should have traded Muncy while he was a hot commodity because he is a redundant piece and in my calculations is no where near the hitter he was last year and is not going to be that player again. If I am wrong, I will gladly eat crow.

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    1. I can still perceive Bear. I’ve got a few things right over the last few weeks. Months, Years.

      I thought they should trade Muncy too. They didn’t. Their plan is for him to play first base. I know you don’t like that plan, but, it wasn’t that difficult to figure out. If they keep Muncy, which they did, he has to play first base. I think he can do it. I could be wrong about that, but I knew damn well second base wasn’t the place for him.

      Yeah, Taylor hitting .150 now. On his way up. Only striking out 25% of the time, which is an improvement. He’s a utility player. I think that’s replaceable.

      Team again with more Ks than hits, 2 for 10 WRISP, but win. Why? Likely because it’s SF. They aren’t good.

      We’ve got a string of 20 games in 22 days coming up that will be more challenging. 14 of them on the road. We finish this month against Pittsburgh and SF, so, that’s a good thing. I believe those 20, most against better clubs, will be true test of where we are early.

      For the record, I believe Muncy projects better than Taylor. I also think he projects better than Verdugo – not over a career maybe but over the next 6 months. Verdugo isn’t a starter yet. Muncy is. I suppose that could change.

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      1. I get it. I know Muncy is going no where and they are going to ride the pony until it is obvious it should be put out of it’s misery, I have little faith in either of them as far as that goes. The difference is Taylor’s obvious versatility and his defense. I have felt from the get go that Muncy was not going to repeat his numbers from last year the same as I felt Taylor would not repeat his breakout year. Pitchers have adjusted. So far they have not. But it is still very early in the game and I see no immediate changes on the horizon. The best thing for the Dodgers would be an improvement on defense and a return to form by Max. But I in no way think he is coming close to 35 dingers this year. 20 is iffy. They are what they are. And Andy is content with the guys he has on the roster. If he had not been, some would not be here.

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    1. Roger that Rich.

      The trade deadline is 2 months after the end of May. That gives the team plenty of time to evaluate any roster and lineup moves made at the end of May. I fully expect to be in first place at both target dates.

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    2. Oh hell no! They need a massive BP overhaul right now and that Muncy dude should be sent to Cleveland for a used rockers guitar…………..LOL

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      1. California Bear is seemingly more testy.

        The pen still looks good to me. Maybe not at the moment but long term they will work it out.

        Most of us agree Muncy won’t OPS .973 again, but he most likely will OPS in the low to mid .800s. I believe he will come around. Be patient.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Boy you are off of your game…that was sarcasm pure and simple…but yeah, the bear is a little testy…you come out of hibernation and lets see how you are!

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  5. The bull pen has started slow the last couple years, they need a little more time to find their rhythm, and their roles. I think the pen will eventually be a strength for the team.

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    1. I agree Keith. We need to exercise some patience as it’s worked out.

      Off my game? But I got the testy part right. Ok. Sarcasm. Testy sarcasm. Got it.

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