Assembling a Functioning Outfield for 2020

If you’re one of those folks who follows every major rumor surrounding the Dodgers during the offseason, it wouldn’t be difficult to find yourself spinning in circles after just a few minutes of internet surfing.

Anthony Rendon at third base. A switch for Justin Turner to first base. Max Muncy the regular second baseman. Cody Bellinger in center field every day. Austin Barnes not tendered a contract.

Obviously, all of these moves are speculative, but it’s not hard to imagine how a single addition or departure could affect the entirety of the 26-man roster.

One of the things that front office boss Andrew Friedman prides himself on is having players who are versatile. We see it especially with Bellinger and Muncy alongside guys like Enrique Hernandez and Chris Taylor; yet, for as much as these guys are moved around the diamond, there’s no guarantee these players can shoulder an offensive load—something the Dodgers were definitely lacking in the 2019 NLDS.

That’s where the addition of someone like Rendon would play huge.

Regardless, there’s as good a chance as any the roster stays relatively uniform heading into the 2020 regular season. As a matter of fact, if the whole 40-man crew is healthy, it will be especially difficult selecting the final 26 players, specifically when it comes to assembling an outfield crew.

Thanks to our own Jeff D., and a few tweets from Alex Verdugo‘s brother, Chris (who coincidentally goes by the name of Sirdugo on Twitter), we learned that the 23-year-old Alex is fully healthy and plans to start his offseason training routine very soon.

My opinion is that Verdugo and Bellinger might be the guys the Dodgers build their outfield around. With Gavin Lux conceivably in the picture as the team’s everyday, left-handed hitting second baseman, it could push Muncy back to playing first base regularly, aside from the few occasions when he provides cover at third base.

Take your pick as to who handles the center field vs. right field duties. Both Verdugo and Bellinger have superior quickness, range and glove skills. Verdugo may arguably have the better arm. By reviewing both their offensive splits from last season, there’s really not much to worry about when it comes to facing southpaw pitching, either.

Based on those suppositions, that leaves the team with a straight platoon of Joc Pederson and A.J. Pollock in left field. Yes, Pollock will still be around, unless there’s a way Friedman can move him in a trade. Still, having a fourth outfielder with the skills of Pollock (or Pederson, depending on how you look at it), certainly isn’t a bad problem to have.

Playing exclusively against lefty pitchers wouldn’t give Pollock a ton of playing time, and assuming that both Bellinger and Verdugo shouldn’t need many rest days, there might not be much need to use Pollock for cover in center field. Nevertheless, having Bellinger, Verdugo, Pederson and Pollock as the core outfield group gives the team a decent landscape with which to work.

A fit Verdugo pushes Kyle Garlick out of the 26-man roster picture completely, primarily if both Hernandez and Taylor are both still around and healthy. Furthermore, Verdugo’s presence theoretically diminishes left-handed hitting Matt Beaty‘s value, unless Beaty gains the trust of Friedman and skipper Dave Roberts to play third base more often.

Also out of the picture is Edwin Rios, who moves even farther down the totem pole with Beaty ahead of him.

Another thing to look for is the potential return of Andrew Toles. If Toles does indeed return to spring camp on schedule, it wouldn’t be foolish to think that he spends the entirety of 2020 in the minors while moving to the bottom of the outfield pecking order.

With the chance of DJ Peters being moved to the team’s 40-man roster over the coming weeks, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him make his MLB regular season debut, depending on how he handles the pitching in the Pacific Coast League.

 

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What Lies Ahead for Alex Verdugo?

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(Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

Since the moment the Dodgers made A.J. Pollock a part of their everyday outfield picture, there has been plenty of speculation regarding exactly how the club plans to set up the outfield for the 2019 season.

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

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(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.

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Dodgers 2019 Outfield: A Closer Look at Shane Peterson

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While we first heard news about it on New Year’s Eve, and even though the Dodgers themselves still haven’t announced the signing of Shane Peterson, on Wednesday Ken Rosenthal tweeted a report, which makes the addition at least a little more official.

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Dodgers Prospect Watch: Yusniel Diaz Is Rising Quickly

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(Mandatory Credit: Ben Sandstrom/MiLB.com)

Unlike several of his predecessors, Dodgers‘ boss Andrew Friedman is developing a reputation for giving his younger players opportunities to show their value on the highest stages. This spring, for example, the Los Angeles management crew invited a whopping 22 players who were not on the 40-man to take part in major league workouts at Camelback Ranch, elevating the number of participants on the big league side of camp to well over 60 players.

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Dodgers 25-Man Roster: Putting Together a Functioning Outfield

Joc Pederson, Enrique Hernandez, Yasiel Puig
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The 2018 Cactus League schedule hasn’t even started yet and already I’ve changed my mind at least twice about which players will make up the Dodgers‘ 2018 Opening Day roster.

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5 Things to Look for at Dodgers Spring Training

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After one of the saddest and longest winters ever for Dodgers fans, the end is finally here. Pitchers and catchers report tomorrow to Camelback Ranch. Although many of us are still hungover from what might have been, most of us can’t help but get excited about what might be waiting for us during the upcoming season.

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Dodgers Roster: What Lies Ahead for Trayce Thompson?

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(Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

While there’s been quite a few discussions lately surrounding the prospective big league outfield picture of the Dodgers, there hasn’t been much chatter about Trayce Thompson. As a matter of fact, if veteran Matt Kemp somehow squeezes his way onto the Opening Day 25-man roster, it will likely create a logjam for a handful of other players, resulting in Thompson’s chances of making the big league squad extremely slim.

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Dodgers Roster: Several Pros and Cons of Moving Matt Kemp

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(CBS Sports Photo)

Picture this—it’s Saturday, October 4th, 2014. The Dodgers are tied with the St. Louis Cardinals 2-2 heading into the bottom of the 8th, in the second game of the National League Division Series. Matt Kemp, one of the most well-known Dodgers of this century, is walking to the plate. J.P. Howell is in the dugout, well aware of the two runs he’s given up, simultaneously reducing the Dodgers lead to 0. On a 2-1 count, three pitches into Pat Neshek’s appearance in the game, Kemp launches a monster home run to deep left field, right next to the Dodgers’ bullpen.

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Dodgers Roster: More Updates Surfacing on Outfield Picture

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(Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

The Dodgers held their FanFest this past Saturday, and there was the usual fun of autographs, pictures and interviews. During those interviews, some new information has come to light, especially concerning the outfield and Matt Kemp‘s situation.

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