This week, the Los Angeles Dodgers told their fans there wouldn't be any organizational changes on the way after back-to-back NLDS eliminations at the hands of inferior division rivals. Cool. Excited to run it back, we guess?
Friedman didn't rule out future changes, however, and Dodgers fans caught wind of a potential intriguing development on Wednesday, just a day after fans were disappointed by the team's end-of-season press conference.
It appears as if Nelson Cruz is at Dodgers' minor league camp and serving a some sort of advisor/coach, as he was pictured with prospect Eduardo Quintero wearing a Dodgers sweatshirt. Cruz never stated an intent to retire after the San Diego Padres released him, so fans are wondering what's going on here.
Perhaps he wanted to still be around baseball after no team picked him up following his release in mid-July. Perhaps he's trying his hand at a different baseball role to see if it's how he wants to begin his post-playing days.
Either way, one of the best power hitters in modern MLB history is seemingly involved with the Dodgers in some capacity, which is positive no matter how you look at it in the short-term or long-term.
Former home run champ Nelson Cruz working as advisor with Dodgers to foreshadow changes?
In the short term? He's helping out the young up-and-coming talent in the Dodgers system as he determines his next steps. Long term? He sticks as an advisor/coach and works his way up the ranks, eventually succeeding Dave Roberts as head honcho in the MLB dugout.
At this rate, after Roberts signed a three-year extension last season, the Dodgers are going to consider lengthier exit strategies rather than make an abrupt switch when it's not entirely Roberts' fault anyway. He's largely running off information and directives from the people who hired him. We must say, though, entering his ninth season at the helm, Roberts probably isn't going to last much longer if there isn't a World Series brought back to LA in the next couple seasons.
As for Cruz, he's served in the menotr/leader in the clubhouse role for quite some time now. Not to mention, as a player, he has a decorated postseason resume. In 50 games, he put up a line of .278/.348/.631 with 35 runs scored, 18 homers and 38 RBI. Maybe some of that energy can eventually help the lifeless October Dodgers.
But maybe this is just a preview of his coaching career as he finishes business on the field. Cruz is just 46 homers shy of 500, which could realistically be achieved in two seasons of consistent playing time at DH if the 43-year-old's body is holding up.
We'll know in the coming months, but a silver lining here for Dodgers fans is that they might be trying to build a coaching pipeline with the necessary traits to help overcome their postseason failures.