With Seager / Pollock / Freese returning who will be the odd man out?
The Dodgers get their 2nd half reinforcements on Friday when they are expected to activate Cory Seager, AJ Pollock, and David Freeze but it will come at a price to more than one Dodger who helped propel the team to the best record in baseball while the aforementioned were nursing their injuries.
Matt Beaty has already been optioned back to AAA, and we all recognized his great contributions while he was up. Kyle Garlick and Edwin Rios will be next. Heck of a July trade right? Cory Seager / AJ Pollock / David Freese for Matt Beaty / Kyle Garlick / Edwin Rios.
Dave Roberts will have to figure out how his new lineups will incorporate Taylor, Verdugo, Joc, Freese, and even Hernandez. Right now there simply aren’t enough starting spots for all the players who warrant starting gigs.
While Cory Seager was out, Chris Taylor reestablished himself as an everyday player by being one of the best hitters in the NL since June 11th (when Seager got hurt). Per Fangraphs, Taylor has been the 8th best offensive player in the NL with his 177 wRC+ since June 11th. Seager will slide right back into his SS position so Chris Taylor will need to find a spot somewhere in the lineup.
|Fernando Tatis Jr.||173||1.6||105||0.41||0.652||0.433|
AJ Pollock got off to a slow start and quickly hit the disabled list due to an infection in his surgically repaired body. Alex Verdugo eventually took his spot in CF and has been one of the best center fielders in the NL while Pollock was mending. Using Fangraphs once again we can see how valuable Verdugo has been playing CF since April 29th. It should be worth noting that Pollock came to the Dodgers with a rep as an elite defensive CF and that Verdugo was not supposed to be a good CF. In 2019, Verdugo has been an above average defensive center fielder while Pollock in limited play was below average.
|Ronald Acuna Jr.||2.1||10.9||1||0.363||0.498||0.364||123||292|
If Verdugo moves to LF to make room for Pollock in CF, where does that leave Joc? Both Pollock and Verdugo figure to be full-time players, not platoon players.
The Dodgers recognized the future logjam in the outfield and much to the chagrin of some Dodger fans gave Joc Pederson an in-season try out at 1st base. Joc did not look good at 1st base but if he is going to play, he may have to become a 1st baseman. I thought it was prudent of the Dodgers to entertain this idea since Max Muncy has established that he can play 2nd base. The problem now though is that Chris Taylor needs a place to play, and what about David Freese?
As much as we like Kiké he has lost his starting gig and I’m not even sure how he gets one or two starts per week going forward. Against right-hand pitching, I can see Bellinger/Pollock/Verdugo in the OF and Joc / Muncy / Seager / Turner as the infield leaving Taylor on the bench. Left-hand pitchers could have a lineup of Bellinger/Pollock/Verdugo and an infield of Muncy / Taylor / Seager / Turner.
That leaves Freese and Kiké on the bench all the time except for the occasional start where they rest Turner/Seager/Muncy/Pollock/Verdugo which is how Roberts can still get them some playing time besides Freese pinch hitting and Kiké being a defensive replacement. Expect all of the Dodgers except Bellinger to get plenty of rest in the second half as Dave Roberts tries to make everyone happy.
Of course, this whole exercise could be pointless given the complete health history of AJ Pollock and the recent health history of Cory Seager.