With a win Saturday, the Los Angeles Dodgers maintained their two-game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the National League West standings.
Joc Pederson was once again the starting center fielder, which gave him the same number of starts as Yasiel Puig since being called up Sept. 1. While Pederson previously replaced Puig in the lineup during the week for reasons more performance based, Puig was reportedly out Saturday due to illness.
Pederson’s arrival has cut into some of Puig’s playing time, though Andre Ethier remains the outfielder with the largest gripe in terms of seeing the field. His last start came Aug. 29 and he’s appeared in just five games since that point.
Cognizant of the difficult situation Ethier is in, manager Don Mattingly said it isn’t anything personal, via Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times:
It’s a professional situation,” Mattingly said. “I love Andre. It’s not about how I feel about him. None of this is personal. And he doesn’t have to agree with it, honestly.
Mattingly also mentioned the Dodgers’ need to put their best foot forward and pointed to the off-season as a time when a more permanent solution may be reached:
We’re in a pennant race and at this point we’re trying to put the best club out there for all different reasons. There are situations here that need to be worked out in the off-season and they’re not going to be worked out now.”
Barring any trades or unforeseen circumstances, the Dodgers are on track to carry the same surplus of outfielders they’ve had for two seasons now — and then some. With Pederson getting time in the Majors, he’ll likely factor into the outfield picture next season.
Puig won’t be traded and although he may be the outfielder outside of Pederson with the next-highest trade value, Matt Kemp may not be on the market either. When healthy, Carl Crawford has received the bulk of starts in left field, which would again leave Ethier and his large contract out of the mix.
The Dodgers resisted trading any of their outfielders in 2013 and 2014, but this winter may reach the point of needing to make a move.
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