On a day where the front office is working on building the future of the organization through the 2017 MLB Draft, Dave Roberts and company were left with a decision that will have a more immediate impact on the Dodgers.
The Dodgers announced that they have placed Adrian Gonzalez on the 10-day Disabled List with lower back discomfort. In a corresponding move, the Dodgers have reinstated Joc Pederson from the 7-day DL (retroactive to 6/12).
Adrian Gonzalez who had never been on the DL in his career before this season will go on the DL for the second time this season. Gonzalez left Sunday’s game when his back tightened up during one of his at-bats and was scheduled to have an MRI on Monday.
Gonzalez had just returned from a forearm injury that slowed his start to the 2017 season. Gonzalez seemed to get more comfortable at the plate as the games progressed. Gonzalez has a slash line of .254/.273/.380 since his return from the DL in 20 games.
AGon has only managed to play 49 of the 64 games the Dodgers have played this season and is hitting a mere .255 on the season with one home run. To say Gonzalez is having a rough go around during his 14th season is an understatement.
On a positive note, the Dodgers get back their gold-glove caliber center fielder in Joc Pederson. While his playing time seems to be in question, his health looks to have progressed well enough to be able to rejoin the team.
In three minor league rehab games in Triple-A Oklahoma City, Pederson hit .333 with a pair of home runs and 4 RBI. Pederson has been out for 18 games since his collision with Yasiel Puig on May 23rd.
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The return of Joc Pederson now sparks conversation as to what his playing time will be. But as it always tends to happen in baseball, playing time has sorted itself out with Gonzalez returning the DL. I anticipate Pederson to return to his center field spot, while it may not be in an everyday role, it could be in a platoon with Franklin Guitierrez.
With Gonzalez out at first base, Cody Bellinger is the most logical everyday replacement at his natural position at first base. This leaves a void in left field and a situation where I can see Dave Roberts play Joc in center field and Chris Taylor move to left field against righties.
I can see Franklin Gutierrez getting the start in left with Taylor starting in center against left-handers. Dave Roberts has been adamant about Taylor earning his playing time and would be in the middle of a lot of criticism if he moves him back to the bench. So I don’t see this as an issue for Taylor.
I’m a little skeptical about Taylor playing at left field because he’s mentioned before that he feels more comfortable at center because he’s used to playing in the middle of the infield and picks up the ball better from the center of the diamond.
Once scenario I can see Dave Roberts getting creative with (although may not be all that likely) is possibly moving Logan Forsythe to the outfield against righties. This is obviously a big defensive movement, but a scenario against righties where Pederson plays center, Forsythe plays left, and Taylor returns to second base could sure up the defensive questions.
In Forsythe’s career, he has logged 93 total innings in the outfield, but his toe may limit him to going back out there. Forsythe could also be able to take over the first base responsibilities, and they could easily move Taylor to second and leave Bellinger out at left, this may be more likely than the prior scenario.
Dave Roberts has an abundance of options with this club, so it really depends on how comfortable Taylor is at left field. If he doesn’t feel comfortable Roberts may need to get creative with scrambling around his defensive positioning. I don’t think Pederson’s return spells an end to Taylor’s time in center. But Pederson will have to prove his worth offensively if he is going to regain his everyday role as the starting center fielder.