The Dodgers made some big and important roster moves today. However, one move might surprise.
Joc Pederson is finally back from the disabled list after a brief stint due to a groin injury. He continues the trend of the Dodgers returning to full health. Although he was only hitting .220/.322/.349 with just a single home run in 18 games, he is still an important piece to have back.
I pegged Joc to improve this season, and while he has started off slow, I expect him to take off from here. I feel that the short DL stint may have been a blessing in disguise because it provided Pederson some time to work on some mechanical things with his swing (whether he did or not I do not know) and it will be like him getting a fresh new start early on in the season. As important as the physical aspect of the game is, the mental side is pretty close.
Last season, after coming off the DL for the final 62 regular season games, Joc improved his play. He finished off with 12 home runs and a .900 OPS. Here’s hoping that he can replicate that pace and production.
Joc will take over in center field and offer an upgrade on defense over Andrew Toles, who will then get pushed back to left field.
Now you are probably asking, “Wait but that is where Cody Bellinger has mainly played since being called up!” Yes, it has, but Toles seems to be the first choice because he was on the Opening Day Roster and is starting to swing the bat well.
However, for all you Bellinger fans, don’t worry because he is taking over for Adrian Gonzalez at first base. Yes, Gonzo is hitting the disabled list for the first time in his 14-year major league career. He has reportedly aggravated a herniated disk in his back.
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According Gonzalez himself, he’s been playing with a broken body all season and a DL stint from the start was probably the best option. You could tell by his numbers alone that something was wrong with the five-time All-Star. Gonzalez is batting .255/.327/.309 with no home runs. If this pace were to continue, these would no doubt be career lows across the board.
In addition to the herniated disk, according to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times, “He also has played through stiffness in his right forearm and a strain in his left triceps.” That’s a lot for a guy to deal with when you remember that he turns 35 on Monday.
This stint should offer Gonzalez the break he needs and deserves. He does not need to rush back as Dodgers’ top prospect Cody Bellinger has more than shown that he deserves to stick in the majors. Gonzalez’s absence will help Los Angeles avoid the Bellinger Dilemma for an extra amount of time.
And because Gonzalez is dealing with multiple injuries at such an old (for athletes) age, there’s no need to rush anything, especially when there’s a viable backup plan. All the Dodgers want is a healthy Adrian Gonzalez.