May 22, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp (27) reacts after flying out against the New York Mets during the ninth inning at Citi Field. The Mets defeated the Dodgers 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers Don't Have an Inflexible Roster, They Have One-Dimensional Players

Do you think the Dodgers have an inflexible roster? That’s the question Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports poses in his latest article. Morosi waxes philosophical on the Dodger’s 2014 season thus far. The Dodger’s next slog of games will see them play a bunch of sub .500 teams over the next couple of weeks. According to Morosi, these next couple of weeks could be crucial.

The Dodgers are obviously having similar problems that they faced in the first half of the 2013 season. Namely, poor relief pitching and terrible defense. The talented Dodgers have been underperforming all season. The Dodgers are floundering in third place, 5.5 games behind the Giants, and just two games above .500 at 25-23. If the Dodgers don’t turn it around soon, could there be a shakeup? Better wordage, should there be a shakeup?

But what kind of shakeup is Morosi referring to? The Dodgers have already locked up manager Don mattingly’s job with a multi-year contract extension that he complained and whined about until the Dodgers gave it to him. I think Mattingly is pretty secure in his job right now. Unlike what I originally had thought, the Dodgers can win under him. That was proven last year. Firing Mattingly would make no sense now. We can’t look to any glaring mistakes from the skipper this year as the culprit for the disappointing play. The players are just simply not performing.

Should the Dodgers have a roster shakeup? I was thinking they may need one several weeks ago, but now I don’t think so. I do think they may need to make some tweeks.

Morosi suspects that the abundance of all-stars on the Dodger roster may be leading to the inflexibility. Maybe inflexible because they are hard to move due to huge bloated contracts.

That’s not it though. I mean I think they could probably find at least one team that would be willing to trade for Matt Kemp, or Andre Ethier, or Carl Crawford. Their defense may be atrocious, but they’ve been very productive with the bats. As a matter of fact when you add in Yasiel Puig’s numbers the Dodgers have had one of the most productive outfields’ in the game. If the Dodgers do get in trouble, and can’t turn things around, is it possible we see one of those three outfielders traded in midseason?

Morosi goes on to speculate that the Dodgers may even try to move Hanley. I find that hard to believe though. First of all, you always should trade from a strength or surplus. Or so many people have told me. And as Adrian has already explained, there are no There are no viable alternatives to replace Hanley.

The Dodgers should instead focus on trying to fix the poor relief pitching and sloppy defense. Not much can be done right now with the defense, but the bullpen can be improved upon. Calling up Paco Rodriguez and Chris Withrow is a good start. The Dodgers need to stop signing washed up relievers.

What Morosi is wrong about is that the Dodgers don’t necessarily have an inflexible roster. They have one-dimensional players. The position players are great hitters/sluggers. The Dodgers came into the New York series with 50 home runs hit. Yeah the guys can hit the ball out of the park at any time, and they can hit but they’re not good defensive players. Some of them had been good at one time, and a few even won a gold glove or two, but none of them are good defenders anymore. Sans Juan Uribe of course.

The Dodgers may have to deal one or two of their outfielders in order to fill their needs if they don’t start playing better. I love Kemp and Ethier. They’ve been an integral part of the Dodgers for the last nine years. But it may be time to move on from them. Espcially with Joc Pederson knocking on the door. I would trade Kemp or Ethier or Crawford in a heart beat for two effective relievers. Even better if one of those relief pitchers were to be a lefty killer.

We know what the Dodger’s problems are this year. They are glaring. Poor relief pitching, horrendous defense, and a weak bench much be addressed if the club is to go anywhere this year.

If the club can deal from a position of strength to tighten up some areas of weakness, then the roster isn’t really inflexible. It’s the players that are one-dimensional.

What the Dodgers need more than anything, (other than some shutdown innings from the bullpen, and some error free games) is a good draft. The Dodgers need more all-around good young players. They need more players like Joc Pederson ready to come up through the pipeline. A good draft can give them that. The Dodgers need some youth.

Most importantly the Dodgers need more well rounded players and less aging veteran relievers, and one-dimensional sluggers.

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Tags: Andre Ethier Carl Crawford Don Mattingly Los Angeles Dodgers Matt Kemp Yasiel Puig

  • Matthew C Greschl

    I agree with almost all your points, thanks for the great read.. Mattingly needs to make a decision on who his three outfielders are going to be and live with the results.. I couldn’t imagine being one of those guys, showing up to the ballpark without an idea who’s getting the start.. I’m sure there are times when they come in focused and are benched.. Then on the contrary, show up thinking they’re not playing and are hitting in the heart of the order.. The Dodgers staff has had a decent sample size so far to look at the millions of baseball stats that are out there and make the RIGHT decision.. If they can’t trade one of the guys for decent relief pitching or have to eat years of salary to come, park the odd man out on the bench for pinch hitting situations..
    The way this team is constructed, there is a short window for this team to bring a title to LA.. To me Puig, Kershaw, and Greinke are the only guys three years from now, still being impact players.. When they put this team together, I was most excited about Hanley joining the squad and couldn’t wait to see the numbers he was going to put up this year.. I had seen very little of him playing the field and didn’t know his shortcomings out there would have such an impact on close games.. When I realized how bad he is at short, I thought his bat would outweigh it tremendously.. The EIGHT BILLION dollar Time Warner deal is the only reason I can see him getting the deal he’s looking for.. When Hanley is healthy, I’d argue he’s the best hitter in baseball.. Will he ever be an everyday shortstop/third baseman though? The kid from Cuba has really impressed me and there are plenty of other roster spots where that money could be well spent..
    The near future is still bright for the boys in blue, but some initiative needs to be taken and season altering decisions need to be made sooner than later.. If Colleti can find a suitor dumb enough to take on one or even two of these ridiculous salaries, pull the trigger.. This team is in the early stages of cancer and it’s time to remove the plagued pieces before the season becomes terminal..

    • LasordasLair

      Thank you Matthew,

      I was hoping the outfield situation would sort itself out but everyone keeps getting hurt. Nonetheless, Matt Kemp is a disaster and a shell of his former self. Crawford cant stay healthy for more then a few weeks at a time, and Ethier should keep playing in center.
      They need to get rid of some of the washed up veterans on the club and get some younger healthier players in. I agree with you though, there is a short window for the roster because the majority of the players are old and declined. The Dodgers need youth, more than anything. Younger players dont get hurt as much, which means they produce more than the veterans can.
      Unfortunately I dont see this team catching the Giants. That club is built to win, through their multi-dimensional home grown players.
      Maybe we’ll catch one of the wild cards, but hard to see this club doing much more than that.