Pull up a chair and come sit down at our Lasorda’s Lair roundtable discussion. This new column will feature a different discussion topic each time which our writing staff will have the opportunity to address individually. We also would like for you to participate by answering the roundtable question in the comments below.
Question: How should the Dodgers configure their outfield, and what do you think they should do about the lack of a true center fielder?
Julian Lopez, Staff Writer-As far as configuring their outfield, I think the Dodgers should stick to Kemp in LF, Ethier in CF, and Puig in RF. Kemp has really improved his play since moving over to LF and deserves to stay as the starting LF. I don’t think they should try and force Yasiel Puig to play CF right now but rather teach him how to play CF during next year’s spring training. With all of their issues in CF, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Dodgers traded for a defensive OF by the trade deadline.
Ryan Somers, Staff Writer-If the Dodgers are going to reach the World Series this year it will clearly be on the backs of the pitching staff. The bats continue to struggle to show any sign of consistency as a collective group. With that in mind, the time has come for Ned Colletti to pull the trigger to acquire David Price. There is no doubt that the price tag will be very high, but the Dodgers should be in win now mode EVERY YEAR with the money that has been invested in this team. Price would solidify a rotation which has hit a few speed bumps in recent weeks. Dan Haren has been shaky and Josh Beckett is nursing his way through a hip injury. The Dodgers can ill-afford to have any weaknesses in their rotation with such an anemic offense. Hopefully Colletti can package Matt Kemp, along with a few prospects not named Urias, Seager, or Pederson and Draft Picks. The Dodgers could also offer to help eat some of Kemp’s contract to help get this deal done. Trading Kemp would allow Joc Pederson to become the everyday CF. Puig obviously remains in RF, leaving Mattingly with the options of Crawford, Ethier, and Van Slyke in LF. Despite his weak arm, I think Crawford has to be the starter. The Dodgers number one asset offensively is their team speed. Crawford can still add his speed to the mix. Hopefully Crawford can find his stride at the plate in the second half much like he did in 2013. If playing every day at the big league level proves to be too big of a task for young Pederson, the Dodgers would still have Ethier as insurance in center. I like Scott Van Slyke but I feel he is best suited to provide some pop off the bench at this stage of his career.
Scott Andes, Editor-Well they’re going to have to go out and get one since they refuse, outright refuse to call up Joc Pederson. So since they will NEVER call up Pederson, they’ll have to trade for one at the July 31st, deadline. So since they REFUSE, REFUSE to call up Pederson, the only potential solution is to move Puig into center field. Right now Puig is their best outfielder. They’ll have to move Kemp to right, and Crawford/Ethier/Van Slyke can all fight for playing time in left. Otherwise there is not much they can do. Oh wait, they could….
CALL UP PEDERSON! and maybe STOP PLAYING OLD WASHED UP DECLINING OVER 30′S PLAYERS. Because they’re blocking Pederson. The old washed up Bums on bloated contracts are blocking our top position player prospect. Annoying
Dustin Hansen, Staff Writer-I’ve never been a big fan of Ethier. He offers flexibility by being able to cover any of the outfield positions, but he doesn’t do it particularly well. And now it seems that age is catching up with him awfully early in his career. He is easily having the worst season of his career. Fortunately for us, the Red Sox are short on outfielders and heavy on shortstops and of course Pedroia and Ethier are known to be close friends. Drew for Ethier seems like a solid match given Hanley’s fragility.
Crawford for Papelbon is another “peg meet hole” match. Swap bad contracts that meets each teams necessity. This would make Chris Perez expendable. :)
Then call up Joc.
Trading both Ethier and Crawford seem almost too easy for all parties involved. There are financial details that would need to be massaged, but this works.
Lucas Talbot, Staff Writer- At this point of the season, the dodgers need to play whoever has a hot bat in the outfield. Yasiel Puig is no doubt is one, another one is Matt Kemp. But what’s intriguing is Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier. Crawford just recently returned from the DL, but is also currently getting some practice in center field, which he hasn’t played at since he was just starting his young career with Tampa. Ethier, on the other hand, has probably been the most consistent player in the outfield in terms of health. So it’s going to be interesting to see whether or not Crawford actually gets some starts in center field in the second half with Scott Van Slyke getting starts against left handed starters.
As for the lack of a true center fielder, I say the Dodgers should wait until Joc Pederson gets called up as he would take over the center field spot. I expect him to take over as soon as the 2015 season because the Dodgers currently have an outfield jam at the moment. Pederson is more of a true center fielder than Ethier and Van Slyke will ever be. The other option is move Pederson to left and move Kemp back to center, but I doubt it because the Dodgers have big plans for Joc in the future.
The Dodgers have said Kemp is a left fielder. I think Kemp can still play center as he is slowly finding his old self this season, I believe that in the offseason, Kemp will be working harder than ever to prove that he still is a center fielder.
Stacie Wheeler, Editor- As you may know already by now I am advocating for the Dodgers to play Yasiel Puig in center field (I called for the Dodgers to try him in center over two months ago). I feel like the outfield situation is just as murky if not more today than it was on Opening Day. With Matt Kemp drama and rumblings happening on an everyday basis as the trade deadline approaches, and the Dodgers in need of relief and probably even some starting pitching, I think the outfield conundrum might be coming to a close soon. With the five outfielders the Dodgers have right now, I feel the strongest configuration as it is right now would be: Carl Crawford in left field, Yasiel Puig in center field, and Matt Kemp in right field with Andre Ethier and Scott Van Slyke on the bench and filling it at center or right field as needed. Puig is simply the fastest and most athletic outfielder of the five, and he has the most range. Sure, he is wild at times, but Puig has shown that he can improve his patience at the plate this season reflecting his ability to adjust at the big league level. There’s no reason Puig can’t improve his defense as well and learn to communicate with the other outfielders better. That being said, IF the Dodgers can move one or two of their outfielders this summer, then I’d be ecstatic to have Joc Pederson manning center field going down the stretch.