The Dodgers have finished the first half of the season with the best record in the major leagues, sitting at 60-32. They reached 30, 40, 50, and 60 wins before any other team in the major leagues, and are three games ahead of both the New York Yankees and Houston Astros. They’ve done this with some of their best players on the IL (and a shaky bullpen).
Over the next week or so, three players that had been out for injuries will return. David Freese, Corey Seager, and A.J. Pollock have been out varying times, leaving it up to some new faces to take their place. Matt Beaty, Kyle Garlick And Will Smith have all seen their major league debuts, and have performed admirably. Chris Taylor has also had to step up in the absence of Corey Seager, and has done a phenomenal job.
So what happens to the roster when they return? Obviously, the rookies will be sent back down to Oklahoma City, where Smith already is. But what do you do with Chris Taylor? His bat has gotten so hot that you need to have it in your lineup. Does he take over to second base, which has been manned mostly by Max Muncy and Enrique Hernandez? Muncy, just recently named to the All-Star team, obviously should be an everyday player. Kiké, while he has been better as of late, probably should not be an everyday player.
Taylor is a little better defensively than Muncy at second, so righty-lefty matchups could be played out there. Muncy has also seen a lot of time at first, but with Freese back, and Joc Pederson taking a lot of reps there, that’s also not a spot to permanently Max.
The outfield will be a little more crowded with the return of Pollack. Alex Verdugo will no longer be roaming centerfield. Cody Bellinger won’t be relinquishing right field duties anytime soon, so Verdugo will be left splitting time with Pederson. Both being left handed, they can’t play pitching matchups to split the time.
It’s a happy problem to have, too many good players for not enough positions, although the maintaining egos parts could be difficult for manager Dave Roberts. But he’s shown to be more than proficient at that over the last few seasons. One does have to wonder though, with the Dodgers trade one of their players to help improve the bullpen for that World Series push? Could that be why Joc has been playing so many games at first base, to show off his versatility?
Most likely, Doc is just trying to get players reps at as many places, so that down the stretch, he’s able to give players as much rest as possible. Still, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that, given their propensity to keep their young prospects, that it could be a current player that’s traded come the end of July, if not sooner. There’s no doubt the bullpen needs help, and it’ll be highly interesting to see what the front office does to make that happen.
23 thoughts on “What Happens to Dodgers Roster When Key Players from IL Return?”
What a great problem to have! I see the Dodgers winning the WS this year and have a hard time seeing anyone stop them.
Well, the red Sox would love to get their cleats in the Dodgers again, but they have to get past the Astros and who knows who else. With that present bullpen of theirs……need i say more?
So what happens? You just called it. We go back to the roster that was planned early, and wait for the next injury. Taylor, Muncy and Hernandez will be rotated in and out of the lineup….. Dodger business as usual.
A bullpen move will be made…. I doubt it’s a huge deal though. The few superior arms that are available will be too costly for Friedman. That’s my guess anyway.
I see Kike definitely losing playing time once the others return but I think that Muncy will start somewhere 90% of the time. That leaves CT-3 and as long as he keeps hitting, there is no reason he couldn’t play 4-5 times a week alternating between left, center, short and second and giving each of those guys a day of rest each week.
CT 3 will be in there when they face a lefty no matter what.; But the main lineup will have Pederson at 1st, Muncy at second, Seager at SS, Turner at 3rd, Verdugo in LF, Pollock in CF, Belli in RF and Barnes and Martin, sounds like a book store, sharing the catching duties. Do not expect Smith back anytime soon. He has a strained oblique and has not played since he was sent down.
Freese was just activated from the 10 day IL and Rios and Garlick returned to OKC. I am thinking he goes under the radar Scoop. Someone like Lugo from the Mets. We will find out in 3 weeks.
Guess it is a good thing that AF did not pursue Cervelli over the winter. He is no longer going to catch. Having suffered his 6th concussion, he said enough is enough. Begs the question, do they need to really upgrade the mask? I saw what happened when Joc’s back swing hit a catchers hockey style mask last week. It took a piece out of it. Lucroy has a concussion and a broken nose from a collision at home plate.
Wish we had “Campy” reincarnated. Maybe if Mike Soctia lost about 50 lbs he could still catch.
They do not make them like Campy anymore. I wish I could have seen him in his prime. Think about this, with all the good players Brooklyn had in those years, none of the main guys, Snider, Hodges or Robinson ever won an MVP. Campy won 3.
Why is it that most people assume Pollock will play every day? He hasn’t been a great player since 2015 and showed almost nothing this season in 28 games played.
Because the guy is a proven major league talent. He was playing hurt. His elbow is healed now. And Roberts has said he will be the CF as soon as he is back…that good enough for you??? By the way, he was pretty good in 17 and 18. .266 and .257 BA, double digit HR’s both years, he does not strike out much and he is a better fielder than Pederson. OBP well over .300 both years, his bad year was 16 when he was hurt. By the way, Pederson would kill to have a BA that high.
using batting average of around .260 as a selling point is kind of grasping at straws. he’s +5.6 WAR in the last 4 seasons combined. Seems like a nice 4th outfielder who should be paid about $5M per year. Playing someone just because you overpaid for him is kind of a Mets thing to do.
Well, check that WAR against Pederson and he still is a better option. How many players on any team are hitting .260 or above? Of the 80 players listed on the NL stat page of MLB.com, 41 are hitting below .260. 20 of those guys are hitting below .250. So a .260 hitter is about the norm. It comes down to contract, track record and the fact that Pollock is a one position player. That’s why Pederson has been playing 1st. To keep his power in the lineup. Taylor will get his reps. So will Kike, but this team has not gone with a set lineup since Friedman took over. I am not grasping at straws at all. I am stating what happens to be fact. In this organization a player does not lose his starting spot, and that why Pollock was signed, to be the starting CF, to injury.
While DBath’s point is valid, Bear’s response is right. Pollock is the starting centerfielder because he was signed and paid to play every day. Too early to admit he’s a mistake.
If Pederson’s average was that high he’d be OPSn 1.000. That won’t happen. Im fine with Pollock in center as long as he’s healthy. Frankly I wouldn’t count on it.
Did you check out those Mexican League relievers I posted the other day. If any of them got spin I could see Andy picking up their contracts for a look-see.
Good lord what a performance by Joc and he STILL loses to Vlad’s kid. The new rules suck. It should still be combined total. Now someone like Alonso will win because the leaders are tired from the early rounds.
You got that one right Alex. Exactly what happened, although Alonso ain’t exactly swiss cheese.
Joc was at a distinct disadvantage in the playoff round against Vlad because Vlad had much more rest going into it.
Total homers would probably be the fairest but that Vlad-Joc battle couldn’t have been any more dramatic.
That was the best HR derby round between two players I’ve seen. Good for joc, seems nobody at espn wanted him to beat VG2. Heck they were still talking about Guerrero half way through jocs four minute round, then they figured out joc wasn’t going to give up easily.
Joc was robbed. I was counting and he hit 30 in that round, somebody missed one.
I was at the pool. Glad you all enjoyed it.
I rank the dunk contest and the home run derby very high on my Top 10 Who Gives a Sh*t List.
No, I don’t actually have a list made out, but if I did those two events would be on it. Along with bowling, curling, political conventions and most soccer games.
I can understand the dunk contest and home run derby, but bowling and curling? Come on now Scoop, those are two of the most fascinating sports ever to come down the pike. I think you should give them another shot. Especially curling which gives you a chance to compete and sweep your house clean at the same time.
You live in an igloo Jefe?
I don’t care about the outcome of this game. It’s only theater so, enjoy it if you choose to. I’m looking ahead to the second half.
Sometimes I yearn for the simpler life.