The Los Angeles Dodgers are one of the most proactive teams in MLB when it comes to scouting, advanced analytics, development, and just about every phase of the game of baseball. One area in which the team has seemingly not been very proactive in recent months is communicating with its players.
This potential communication problem has come into focus with Caleb Ferguson’s recent admission back to the IL. Ferguson returned earlier in 2022 after missing all of the 2021 season after having Tommy John surgery. Ferguson picked up right where he left off, throwing five no-hit innings in six appearances.
Ferguson’s last pitching appearance was on June 14, as he was then shut down by the Dodgers. LA put Ferguson on the IL with forearm tendinitis, as Ferguson was experiencing soreness in his throwing arm.
Ferguson thought he could pitch through the soreness, though, and after a long road back to the big leagues, the southpaw reliever expressed frustration with the decision to put him on the IL. As Ferguson told reporters in Cincinnati (h/t Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times):
"“There’s just been a lot of miscommunication over the last two and a half months. Yeah, I’m just kind of tired of the miscommunication of it. […] There was a lot of things in rehab that kind of got changed around and jerked around. I don’t know. There’s a lot of people involved in it. Everybody has their own voice to speak on it. I don’t know. It’s kind of a hard question without trying to be [a jerk] and call a bunch of people out.”"
Ouch. Not a good look for the Dodgers and this is certainly something that has to be addressed in-house, away from the media. It is one thing to be frustrated with the team, and Ferguson rightfully just wants to get out there and pitch. However, to be frustrated with the team and put it on blast to reporters? That is a different story.
It didn’t get much better, either. Ferguson continued on, saying that there is a split between people who agree with him and people who are just focused on the business.
"“There’s a couple people that I feel are in my corner that truly mean it, and there’s a couple people that are business people. That’s kind of it.”"
Dave Roberts explained why the Dodgers put Caleb Ferguson in the IL:
While Ferguson believes he could have pitched through the soreness, Roberts attested that the team did not feel comfortable using him in back-to-back days or three times in four days with that soreness.
The Dodgers are playing 20 games in a row without an off day and MLB just reduced the number of pitchers a team can have on the roster to 13, which is why the team decided to utilize caution in dealing with Ferguson’s arm soreness. This is not new, as the Dodgers have historically been very cautious with their pitchers.
At the end of the day, it is hard to say that either side is in the wrong. The Dodgers are in the right for wanting to make sure Ferguson is okay, especially coming off of Tommy John. Putting him on the IL, all things considered, is definitely reasonable.
However, you also cannot blame Ferguson for being fed up with the long recovery process and all of the hurdles that he has had to overcome. Plus, we do not know what is going on behind the scenes with Ferguson and the team. This just provided a peek.
Just like a marriage between two middle-aged people, things would probably be solved if both sides just sat down and talked it out. Hopefully, Ferguson gets that clarity and the Dodgers avoid a disgruntled clubhouse presence.