It’s a different year, but more of the same problems for Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. He once again comes into the spring with too many outfielders for just three spots.
Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Joc Pederson, Scott Van Slyke and Chris Heisey are all capable starting outfielders, yet Mattingly can only play three at a time. Of the group, only Puig would be guaranteed a starting spot at this point. Many expect Crawford and Pederson to be the other two starters; however, it’s not a given at this point.
According to Mark Saxon of ESPN LA, Mattingly is not ready to even discuss what could happen in the outfield:
I’m not even trying to go there, really,” Mattingly said Tuesday. “We don’t know what’s going to happen over the next four to six weeks. We’ll evaluate, see where we’re at and deal with that when we get there.”
Ethier has already been the most vocal of the group in regards to playing time, saying that he wants to start regardless if that is with the Dodgers or not. The 32-year-old outfielder became a reserve last season and was nothing more than a pinch-hitter towards the end of the season. He was a team player about the whole situation last year, but has already let his feelings be known this year.
If the expected three start in the outfield, the Dodgers would likely try to accommodate Ethier’s request in order to avoid any clubhouse issues. A disgruntled player is something that could potentially become an issue that spills onto the field.
For Mattingly, the spring will be a good measure of what each outfielder is capable of doing. The new front office come from teams that used platoons at multiple positions, something that could happen in Los Angeles.
Dodgers FanFest – Yasmani Grandal