Since Andrew Friedman, and this front office, as well as ownership, took the reins in Los Angeles, one of the things they wanted to be was “flexible.”
Flexible in contracts, in personnel, in players, in draft picks, and how they acquire new players via trade or draft. While the on the field success has delivered the first back to back world series appearances since Jimmy Carter was in the Oval Office. It’s built a great foundation for the Los Angeles Dodgers success, but this flexibility has seen them finishing runner-up two years in a row.
Are the Dodgers, and Friedman, content with getting to October and not hoisting a banner? Are they leaning too much on being as flexible as possible, and missing out on additions that would bolster their potency come October? If you look around the diamond, there are two names Dave Roberts will be able to pencil in 90% of the games in 2019. Justin Turner at third and Corey Seager at shortstop. Those are the only staples at any position Roberts can count on. Yes, Cody Bellinger will be playing 150+ games, as long as he is healthy, but will be see time are more than just first base.
There is a platoon already at first base with Max Muncy and David Freese, another at second base with the trio of Chris Taylor, Kiké Hernandez, and Muncy, and even Austin Barnes will spend time there it seems. Speaking of Barnes, he will currently be seeing split time behind the plate with newly acquired, and former Dodger, Russell Martin. That doesn’t even account for the consistent, and current, rumors that the Dodgers are still trying to sweet talk the Miami Marlins into dropping their price for J.T. Realmuto. I still think a package revolving around Keibert Ruiz would get it down. In that package would likely be Barnes, as they would want an everyday catcher immediately.
The outfield, even after trading away fan favorite Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, is overflowing with options and possibilities, none of which are every day positions with the exception of Bellinger. Is Alex Verdugo ready for a full time spot in the outfield? Is Joc Pederson really going to get moved? Kiké, Taylor, Bellinger, Pederson, Verdugo all would spend time in the field. I am not so sure their numbers, collectively, would be any better, or worse, than a full-time role for a new acquisition. However, when it comes to a long season, and short playoff series, what you do in one, won’t work in the other.
Does that mean the Dodgers need to make a move on Bryce Harper already? Not necessarily. However, I think that it’s worth a phone call and constant check-ins to see what could be worked out. Given Harper’s defensive inefficiencies, adding him would add a considerable amount of, you guessed it, flexibility. Not specifically in the field, but in the lineup. Slotting Turner behind Harper, them Bellinger or Muncy, would make the lineup very deep, and force opposing managers to burn through bullpens when going on lefty/righty, righty/lefty matchups.
The Dodgers actually have more options in front of them than when they started the offseason, but there is a lot of moving parts to the team. It will take constant and tedious attention to detail for Roberts to have his finger on the pulse of the team. It’s just, I think it would be easier to handle that pulse if it were at, say, only 3 positions, instead of 6.
No one knows, except for the man himself, what is going on inside the head of Friedman. There are more moves to come, there ultimately has to be before the spring training gets underway. Good luck trying to figure out what those are. It seems that, not only is this team the most flexible team in the majors, but it appears that the mind of Friedman is the most flexible part of the Dodgers entire organization. Spring training cannot come soon enough.
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