Post MLB Trade Deadline life has been an interesting one for the Los Angeles Dodgers. They acquired a few new faces and find themselves in an interesting position.
News came down on Wednesday that the Dodgers placed Clayton Kershaw on the 60-day disabled list, while newly acquired pitcher Rich Hill was also placed on the DL. In a more positive light, the Dodgers also traded for Josh Reddick among other players.
August 4, 2016
It is estimated that only ten percent of the world’s population is left-handed. If this calculation is true, it certainly is not evident in the Dodgers batting lineup. With the addition of Josh Reddick from the Oakland Athletics, the Dodgers find themselves with another left-handed hitting position player to add to an already stacked left-handed lineup.
Reddick figures to just be a rental as his $6.575MM contract expires at the end of the year and he reaches free agency. Even still, the 29-year-old from Oakland is going to be an improvement on both sides of the ball.
He is a former Gold Glove winner who produces quality at-bats.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers added another body to occupy the left side of the batter’s box when they desperately need a right-handed slugger. How this will affect the team going forward remains to be seen.
Here are my two biggest takeaways after the Reddick acquisition:
The Yasiel Puig experiment is officially over
To be clear, the Puig experiment was on life support before acquiring Reddick. His arrival is just the Dodgers way of saying they are pulling the plug. Once Reddick was added to the roster, Puig was sent to the minor leagues. The unpredictable Cuban never really became the consistent all-star the Dodgers were hoping he would be.
It seemed like the Dodgers were going to give it one last try to see if Puig could be the impact player they envisioned when he broke onto the scene and thrilled us in 2011. He showed flashes of potential, but was often criticized for his lack of hustle and poor decisions.
During this past offseason the Dodgers did not try to acquire a much needed right-handed bat, figuring Puig could return to stardom and fill that void. Puig has far from answered the bell; displaying the worst hitting season in his four year career – batting .260 with a less than stellar .706 OPS – and spending a chunk of 2016 on the disabled list.
As far as pure physical ability goes I’ve often compared Puig to Mike Trout. He has speed, power, a tremendous arm, and has shown he can make acrobatic defensive plays; all traits that usually equate to success at the major league level. The Dodgers were hoping another team could recognize his potential and be willing to work out a trade. Several teams showed interest, but nothing materialized. It is unclear what the Dodgers will do now, but a likely scenario is Puig will remain in Triple-A until rosters expand in September, and the team will look to move him in the offseason.
Teams are going to stack their roster with left-handed pitchers when they face the Dodgers
The Dodgers entered play on Wednesday night vs. the Colorado Rockies batting a respectable .253 and slugging .414 against righties. Reddick’s presence in the lineup is only going to improve those numbers as the power hitting lefty boasts a .337 batting average and .945 OPS against right-handed hurlers.
Of the six Dodgers on the current roster slugging over .400, only one of them (Justin Turner) is right-handed. The redhead actually produces far better against righties, with Corey Seager being the only Dodger slugging at a higher clip.
All this equates to serious trouble for right handed pitchers. So how are other teams going to respond down the stretch and in the postseason?
They are going to overload their roster with south paws when they face the Dodgers. Many managers may even adjust their starting rotations. Our boys in blue are batting a putrid .224 versus lefties and slugging just .363, both worst in Major League Baseball.
The Dodgers have reached the point of the season where every game matters and every at bat is important. They figure to see a barrage of left-handed pitching, and Dave Roberts is going to have to get really creative with how he coordinates his lineup.
In the absence of Puig, big things are going to be expected from Turner, Howie Kendick, Scott Van Slyke and Kike Hernandez. There is currently no time table on the return of Trayce Thompson, but his presence in the lineup will be a welcomed sight. All in all, with the Puig experiment failing and the left-handed hitting Reddick being added to a lefty dominant lineup, the Dodgers find themselves in a very precarious situation.
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