The Dodgers bench was one of their biggest weak spots during the 2021 season. With so many guys going down with injuries throughout the year, they were forced to rely on a handful of guys that were not big-league ready. That included giving Luke Raley 15 starts throughout the year when their outfielders went down.
But things look much different heading into the 2022 season. The Dodgers have a relatively set starting lineup, and the bench looks more solid than it has been in quite some time. That comes even after they traded Matt Beaty to the Padres after being designated for assignment.
Edwin Rios is one guy that could really make a difference coming off of the bench for Dave Roberts. After undergoing shoulder surgery last year, the pop in Eddie’s bat very much looks to be back in Spring. The Dodgers skipper spoke about him after their game against the Diamondbacks on Monday afternoon.
“I’ve learned not to underestimate Edwin. He’s healthy and he’s focused. He’s making it very difficult for us, which is a good thing. So for him to come in, he was sick yesterday, for him to come back in today to take a late at-bat against a guy throwing 100mph…just another good day for Eddie.”
Rios had just 4 hits in 60 plate appearances in 2021. The power was very clearly gone from his swing, and everything looked off. It was later revealed that he had suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder, and the Dodgers added that he would have season-ending surgery.
Rios hit .250 with 8 home runs and 17 runs batted in across his 32 games in 2020. That pop off of the bench was huge for the Dodgers during the bubble season, and the fact that he can play third base only helps his value to the team.