Welcome to Dodgers Nation Mailbag, where we take questions we receive from our social communities and send them directly to our available writers to answer.

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Jody Wahl

I absolutely do not think Doc will be on the hot seat if the Dodgers finish below .500 this year. They knew he was green when they hired him. They could have went a different route if they wanted experience such as Bud Black or even Tim Wallach. I think they liked Robert’s enthusiasm and approach. I think they’ll give him a bit of a learning curve, but if there is no forward movement with the team next year, I think he should worry.

Brian Robitaille

I doubt it. While a sub .500 season would definitely be disappointing, I don’t think the Dodgers front office signed Roberts as a one-year experiment. He’ll likely get a chance to prove himself, and I’d figure it would take at least a couple of years before any “hot seat” talks start.

Gabe Burns

No. There’s something to be said for continuity (see the team in the Bay Area and Kansas City). Remember: Andrew Friedman worked with Joe Maddon nearly his entire Tampa Bay tenure. He spoke numerous times about valuing that relationship and how the team he was building grew with Maddon. Roberts is managing as most first-year bosses would. Considering the circumstances, he’s done a decent job. Barring a historical collapse to end the year, he’s safe.

Brian Robitaille

I hate to be vague here, but it really all depends. All four of those guys are recovering from injury so it will depend on whose recovery goes well, and whose doesn’t. It appears Wood, McCarthy, and Ryu all could be ready somewhere about mid-July, but that’s assuming everything goes smoothly and no setbacks occur. Anderson seems like the longest shot at this point.

Assuming they all make it back healthy (big assumption) then it will be interesting to see who the Dodgers go with to round out the rotation. I’m guessing it will be whoever pitches best, and they’ll all likely get an opportunity preform. I think the Dodgers will give Ryu every chance to have a rotation spot if he’s healthy, given his past success. The 5th spot could be up for grabs between McCarthy and Wood, with perhaps one of them being moved to the bullpen for a long relief role.

Urias will certainly be shut down at some point this year. But let’s not forget guys like Ross Stripling, who could come back up anytime, and Jose DeLeon, who may get a call-up as well (although he’ll be on a Urias-type innings restriction.) Definitely will be interesting to see how it plays out, but again, it will heavily depend on how these guys come back from their injuries.

Jody Wahl

I have to agree with Brian here, it’s a tough call on who will fill in our rotation because we’re in wait and see mode with injury rehab. Ryu, Wood, McCarthy are all progressing pretty well. I think our mid-season rotation will look quite different than our end of season rotation because I think Urias, Stripling and DeLeon will probably be contending for spots. Especially if Ryu, Wood and/or McCarthy have setbacks. I’m glad we seem to have options as long as everyone stays/gets healthy. Options are good!

Hunter Thompson

I think that it will all come down to who pitches best throughout their respective rehab assignments and upon their return. I personally feel Ryu will be in the rotation upon return immediately, not only because of his previous success, but also because he would often get more effective deeper into starts so a bullpen role would be risky for him. McCarthy and Wood are both guys that have been very effective in the past so they could both compete for spots as well. The sad truth is that more injuries will happen, to other starters or to this group. Anderson will be back the latest as of now unless something happens to one of the others so he is at an obvious disadvantage.

In my opinion I would expect to see Ryu and McCarthy in the rotation but really it’s anyone’s guess. Whoever doesn’t make the rotation you can expect to see out of the bullpen. It’s hard to see them all staying healthy judging by their history. Regardless I agree with Brian and Jody in saying it’s great to have options available. This will definitely be a good problem to have because of the volatility of starting pitchers health. Good question, tough one to answer.

Gabe Burns

I agree with all of the above. It’s a fluid situation. Ryu and McCarthy make the most sense, but health is an enormous question. I’ve always thought Alex Wood would excel in a permanent bullpen role and with Urias and De Leon on the way to consistent time, I think that’s his future anyway.

I don’t think we can truly “count on” Ryu, McCarthy or Anderson, and they aren’t going to rush De Leon or push Urias. But in the end, there are enough options to last the season. Then next season you’re looking at Kershaw, Maeda, Kazmir, Urias and an entertaining battle for the last spot. That is, if the team doesn’t add a big fish.

Brian Robitaille

Better than Venable? I surely hope so. But I’m not sure there’s a better player that matches up with the Dodgers offensive needs then LuCroy. He’s one of the best catchers in the game and that’s the one position I think the Dodgers wouldn’t mind upgrading, if at all possible. Looking at the Dodger’s other positions, where do they realistically make a move? Turner seems to be coming around lately at 3rd base. There’s still plenty of outfielders. It seems as though some type of move should be made, it’s just hard to see exactly who would be a realistic target (other than the aforementioned LuCroy.)

Jody Wahl

At the time this question was asked I’d agree with the concern over our “weak offense”, but their bats have been coming alive recently and I think the desperation… At least the desperation us fans felt, should have subsided a bit. I think our offense will be ok. That being said, I like Lucroy and think he’d be an excellent acquisition. Despite his contract (and one-time alleged PED use), I’m interested in the idea of Ryan Braun. The Brewers could eat up some of that contract and we could absorb the rest. Someone compared a Braun trade to the Crawford trade and I understand that concern, but I think we could use Braun’s bat. Preventing the Giant’s from getting Braun is another facet of my interest.

Gabe Burns

I just wrote about this very topic, actually: 

Who Should Be the Top 5 Trade Targets?

My thoughts are there, but yes, Lucroy would be an excellent addition. Any outfield move would probably require a corresponding deal, so that’s tricky. I really like the Kole Calhoun option if the Anaheim decides to move that way. I think the Dodgers and Angels are perfect trade partners.

Adding to Jody’s point on Braun, Crawford was never the overall hitter Braun is and it was easy to predict his game harshly declining with age. That contract was bad from the day Boston signed him. There are plenty of reasons to criticize Braun, and the financial implications are risky, but the comparison to Crawford isn’t really fair. A deal depends on the amount of salary Milwaukee would take, but I don’t anticipate them doing anyone favors on that.

Brian Robitaille

Chapman would be a perfect matchup for any opponent’s lineup, left-handed or not. He’s one of the best closers, if not the best, in the league. But I think that ship has sailed. I don’t see the Dodgers pursuing him after this off-season’s debacle. But perhaps Andrew Miller is the next best thing?

Jody Wahl

I don’t like Chapman’s baggage and I don’t want him on the Dodgers. Some things supersede filthy pitches. Period.

Gabe Burns

As Brian said, Chapman would be good for any bullpen. After his off-field fiasco, I don’t think anyone is heartbroken over missing out on him. Keep in mind he’s also be due for a hefty extension.

Miller is a popular name, but also consider Sean Doolittle, Jeremy Jeffress, Huston Street and David Hernandez. The starting pitchers market is poor, but there are plenty of relievers available not named Chapman.

Brian Robitaille

Ah, to be a fly on the wall in Andrew Friedman’s office. There’s really no way to know the answer with any certainty. I think the Dodgers definitely like Bellinger, and he has shown flashes of potential in the minors. If they keep him around, he sure looks like he could be Gonzalez’s replacement in the next few years. He’s only 20 years old and yet to taste AAA ball, so it will take some time. When Gonzalez’s contract expires in 2018, I’m sure he’ll be more than ready by then.

However, if the right deal comes along, who knows. As much as fans would love to keep every prospect with a bright future, there are going to be times when some get dealt. And of course, we usually don’t know whether that move was bad or good until years down the road.

Gabe Burns

It’s always ideal to replace internally. It’s a bit early to speak in certainties, but if Bellinger progresses enough to be considered Gonzalez’s replacement, rest assured he won’t be dealt unless it’s for someone major. I’d say just enjoy his development and we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

ICYMI: Jansen Becomes Franchise Saves Leader

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