Dodgers manager Dave Roberts discussed how he plans on utilizing the designated hitter role this season.
A lot of things will look different about the 2020 MLB season. Imagine watching the Los Angeles Dodgers play in front of an empty Dodger Stadium every night? It will be interesting, to say the least.
Another new wrinkle will be the addition of the designated hitter in the National League. While some senior circuit clubs are scrambling to identify options to fill the role, including possibly signing Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers are well-positioned for the extra spot in the lineup.
Dave Roberts will use the DH role to give his regulars partial days off.
With a plethora of options, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said on MLB Network Radio on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect to have a full-time DH this season. Instead, he expects to use the spot as a partial day off for regular players, depending on the handedness of the starting pitcher. He mentioned Justin Turner as an option in that regard, as summarized by Jon Morosi of MLB Network.
The Dodgers have a crowded outfield after the addition of superstar Mookie Betts. With Betts and 2019 National League MVP Cody Bellinger expected to play everyday, it leaves a left field platoon for Joc Pederson and AJ Pollock. Given Pederson’s success against right-handed pitching, it could be difficult to find a lot of opportunities for Pollock. Except now, Roberts can use him in the DH role on certain days.
Given Roberts’ statement, I would expect to see players like Kiké Hernandez and Chris Taylor to find extra opportunities in the field to give everyday regulars “partial days off” by moving them into the DH spot.
As Major League Baseball considers instituting a universal designated hitter for the 2020 season, let's explore some options for the Dodgers.
However it shakes out, the Dodgers have a nice problem to solve. With a deep bench, they can keep players sharp without taking hitting opportunities away from the team’s best players.