The Dodgers are trying to build a championship-caliber team. The goal, that has evaded achievement for 29 years, is to win a World Series and to do that the team must be working like a well-oiled machine from the very onset of the season. The parts in this machine must function in unison and when one of those parts stops working, it must be swiftly removed from the equation. Pedro Baez is a piece not working in the Dodgers’ 2018 machine, and, now, it is time for him to be removed from this roster.
He is given chance after chance to succeed. To the dismay and confusion of many fans, Dodgers’ manager, Dave Roberts, went to Baez on a regular basis last year amidst struggles that should have warranted a trip to the minors or a designation for assignment. And, in almost all of those chances, Baez failed. To sugarcoat the results would be an injustice- they were awful.
But, patient and hopeful as the Dodgers remained, Baez, stayed on the roster. His start to the 2017 season, one that saw him working as a border-line elite reliever, warranted yet another opportunity, just another chance for the then 29-year old. He stayed on the roster through the playoffs but was seldom trusted to pitch there.
Spring 2018 and Bae was still there. He was deceiving. It looked for a moment this spring that Baez, who was booed every time he stepped on the field at Camelback Ranch, had turned a corner in his career and finally found consistency, his stride.
He made the roster.
2018 began and still, Baez looked good. He was striking guys out often and walking batters less frequently. He introduced his slider to hitters, a slider that looked untouchable in his first appearances of the season. But, unlike last year’s campaign, Baez’ deceitful success did not last until the All-Star Break, it lasted just three appearances before every outing started with uncertainty and a heart attack.
The statistics are already alarming. In 12 appearances this season, Baez’s walks per nine innings rate is at an astronomical 6, his WHIP is 1.666, and his ERA is 4.50.
Now, reasonably speaking, not every reliever can be elite. Baez is certainly not that. But, His inconsistencies and him having clearly proven he is not a reliable three outs should be enough to remove him from a roster that is supposed to be championship caliber.
Enough is enough.
Baez’ is at the point in his career where a life-changing improvement is unlikely. He is 30-years old, his velocity is starting to decrease, and his contact percentage on balls put in play is either
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medium or hard contact 74 percent of the time.
This all being said and the cons far outway the pros. The evidence is heavily stacked against him and, at this point, it really is time for Baez to go.
Finding a buyer by way of direct trade is unlikely. No team will want to take him for the full price which leaves the Dodgers with two solutions: DFA and trade, or, option him to the minor leagues.
The latter of those two, sending him down, is the most rational move. Baez still has two options remaining and one would be used if he is in the minor leagues for 10 or more days.
A trip to Triple-A could be what he needs. Often, sending a struggling player down allows him to reset and get his bearings and where he’s at with both technique and success. Baez could easily come back and be usable in the middle innings.
But, be it harsher, a complete removal from the organization may be a necessary change for both sides. The Dodgers cannot continue to use Baez as is and Baez has not gotten, and will not get, any love from Dodger fans.
Whether it be permanent separation or a trip to the minor leagues, Pedro Baez is a problem for a roster that is struggling to begin with. A pitcher who is a test of wits every time he comes in has no business on the World Series runner-up roster. It really is time for a change with Pedro Baez.