Dodgers dancing around James Outman Opening Day roster question is infuriating
All James Outman does is hit. We thought the Los Angeles Dodgers would've learned that at the tail end of 2022 when their depth became a problem. Though fans are still upset that they didn't at the time, we can at least give the front office a pass for that.
If they botch it this time, though? Unforgivable. Not after what Outman did last year and during Spring Training this month. The man deserves a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Outside of Freddie Freeman, Outman has been the most prolific hitter on the Dodgers since games began on Feb. 28. He's batting .391 with a 1.247 OPS, five runs scored, two homers, eight RBI and three walks in 23 at-bats.
But that's not all, Dodgers fans! The lefty slugger has been raking on his off days, too, specifically Monday during the team's spring game against the Cleveland Guardians.
Outman wasn't in the lineup, but he took live batting practice at the team's facility on Monday ... and homered off of Evan Phillips, Caleb Ferguson and Daniel Hudson. Are you not entertained?
Dodgers' James Outman is destroying all pitching during Spring Training
The Dodgers pitching staff isn't safe from friendly fire when it comes to Outman's bat. The guy is scorching no matter the setting.
Homering off Hudson, who's recovering from a torn ACL and ankle tendinitis might not be the most impressive feat, but taking the Dodgers' two best relief pitchers in Spring Training deep is certainly an accomplishment.
Caleb Ferguson has yet to give up a run (two hits, three walks and five strikeouts) in his four innings of work (and he's a left-hander!) while Phillips is also holding opponents scoreless through four innings (two hits, one walk, one strikeout). The right-hander is the favorite to get most of the ninth-inning reps in 2023.
And we still have manager Dave Roberts refusing to give a definitive answer on Outman's Opening Day status, but he's ready to give Jason Heyward a roster spot? Are we living in bizarro world? Here's what Roberts said on Sunday (March 12):
"Is he big-league ready? I would say he is. How we shake out, that's a different question. But yeah, he's doing everything he can do."- Dave Roberts
Hey Dave, how are we shaking out? Because right now there's no argument not to carry him up north come March 30 since Chris Taylor is currently serving as the backup shortstop following Gavin Lux's season-ending injury. Additionally, he's lapping Trayce Thompson and is arguably a better all-around option than David Peralta at this point in the veteran's career.
So, yeah, we're really not sure what the holdup is especially since the addition of Heyward hardly "solves" the Dodgers' outfield problem (he's come back down to earth to hit .200 with a .750 OPS in his 25 at-bats, too).
Next time this question is asked, let's just do better.