The Los Angeles Dodgers outfield of Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo, and Cody Bellinger has performed at an elite level for much of the 2019 season. However, A.J. Pollock’s return is on the horizon. With that, the Dodgers need to figure out how to manage three spots.
Although Los Angeles is 19-6 with Verdugo in center and 16-10 with Pollock manning the spot, manager Dave Roberts says he has a clear idea of who will play center upon the return of the veteran.
#Dodgers Report: New-age MGR Dave Roberts is old-school enough to believe a player shouldn't lost job to injury, so A.J. Pollock will reclaim CF spot when he returns from elbow infection no matter how impressive Alex Verdugo has been. Plus ASG coaches. https://t.co/2abehZKDnz
— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) June 8, 2019
Remember, Roberts is an old school player. Perhaps he is of the school of thought that you shouldn’t lose your job due to an injury.
On Friday, Roberts echoed this sentiment to the media. Per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
When A.J. comes back, he’s going to play. Right now, as we’re sitting here, I expect A.J. to play center field, that’s where he’s played. There’s one thing about keeping guys comfortable and challenging them. Right now, we’re definitely fine with A.J. in center field.
Clearly, Roberts knows who he wants in center field. As with all things, time will tell the story on if this was the right decision. However, basing it off the recent past; the choice doesn’t seem so clear.
Without running a dozen stats by you, we will break it down to one number. In 60 games, Verdugo has posted a 1.7 bWAR in comparison to Pollock’s -0.7 in 28 games.
Of course, no one has asked the skipper yet why he would try to fix what isn’t broken. However one can bet if Pollock returns – and he hasn’t raised his level of play – the question will get asked.
Who Would You Play?
How would you manage the situation in the outfield upon Pollock’s return? Do you disagree with what Roberts is planning to do with Verdugo by moving him out of center field? Let us know in the comments below!