Dodgers: Pedro Baez’s Future in LA is Possibly on the Fence
It has become somewhat of a torture method whenever Pedro Baez is seen warming up in the bullpen. And then you realize that the lead the Dodgers are trying to protect is going to disappear once Baez toes the rubber and the real torture begins. Baez has fallen out of graces with the club, and its fans, but is his Dodger career still salvageable?
Pedro Baez has always been seen as a boom or bust reliever for the Dodgers. He can hit triple digits when he needs to, but does it matter if it’s right over the plate?
This year started off very well for Baez as he was at one point seen as the guy to hold down the eighth innings for Kenley. In fact, Baez had a 2.4% walk rate in July, which is very impressive. August was a different story, however, as his walk rate jumped up to 12.8%, which is very unimpressive. September has been even worse for him as it jumped up to 19.8% and led Dave Roberts to give him a few days off as a mental breather.
The source of Baez problems can be seen in his command, but he has always been this type of pitcher. At this point, there’s no way the team can give him a postseason bullpen spot. If that’s the case, then how do the Dodgers value Baez going forward to next season?
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As talented as Baez can be, he has shown an inability to fill the role needed for this team, and he will probably get the “Chris Hatcher” treatment. When I say this, I mean that Baez will be inserted into blowout games and low-pressure situations to either prove himself as a valuable player or he will get dealt somewhere else.
It’s hard for me to see the team simply DFA him as he is signed through 2021 at just over a million a year. Someone will take a flyer on him just like they took it on Hatcher, so don’t expect Baez to disappear from the roster suddenly.
If the Dodgers expect Baez to revert to the pitcher he was before the All-Star break, they’re going to have a tough time, as he has historically had issues with inconsistency.
Right now, all they can do is hope that he can try and work with a pitching coach or other pitchers. He’s already pitched himself out of October, so his best option right now is to look forward to next season.
As Dave Roberts put so eloquently in regards to Yasiel Puig, “it’s important that the guys that I write in the lineup, I can trust them, so that’s all I am going to say about that.” The same can apply to Baez here, just in different context.
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Right now, Baez is not one of those guys; he will have to earn himself some trust back if he hopes to have any future with the Dodgers. If not then he may not have a home here in LA in the near future.