Dodger Details: No rotating DH, David Peralta’s pull to Los Angeles, leaders and more
PHOENIX — The Dodgers signed J.D. Martinez to an under-market deal this winter as a result of they felt there was nonetheless thunder left in his bat, a necessity for a lineup that noticed departures from key contributors from a 12 months in the past.
However his signing comes with some shifts, if not issues, to how the items on this roster will match.
From a pure roster-building perspective, signing a full-time designated hitter would appear to be an affront to the Dodgers’ mantra of flexibility.
“It’s not in our DNA,” supervisor Dave Roberts conceded.
The place had seemingly been a rotating relaxation day for the membership’s place gamers, and within the first season of the common designated hitter in 2022, 4 totally different gamers appeared on the place a minimum of 20 occasions (Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Will Smith, Edwin Ríos).
That gave alternatives for Smith to keep away from put on and tear behind the plate and nonetheless log 578 plate appearances — 77 more than he’d gotten the 12 months prior with no designated hitter in place — to preserve his bat within the lineup. With Trea Turner and Justin Turner leaving in free company, Smith is perhaps essentially the most constant bat the Dodgers have behind former MVPs Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman.
Martinez’s bat ought to complement that group, however maybe at a price. The 35-year-old was solely a chosen hitter in Boston a 12 months in the past, and will slide into the same function in Los Angeles. The top outcome means perhaps rather less of Smith.
“It’s simply going to be more of Will will simply have off days,” Roberts stated Sunday, although he was fast to notice nothing has been set in stone. “I don’t count on J.D. to DH 162. However he’s going to be the man who’s going to be in that place 99.9 % of the time. So if there’s a time Will doesn’t play, it’ll simply be an off day.
“The most important con (with one participant serving as a full-time designated hitter) is you don’t have a possibility to get a sure man’s bat in there, to get him basically a half-day off because the workload of working him on the market. For those who’re sort of locking your self into one participant taking these at-bats, that’s actually a con.”
Managing the workload for Smith himself can be a process for the Dodgers to work out, particularly as they lean more on his bat than ever. Solely six catchers caught more video games a 12 months in the past, and solely 4 have topped Smith’s 226 video games behind the plate over the past two full seasons.
The counter: The Dodgers nonetheless might use Martinez to enhance the lineup, hopeful that reuniting him along with his former non-public hitting coach in Robert Van Scoyoc and ex-Crimson Sox teammate in Mookie Betts can extract one thing more.
“I’m getting to the again finish of my profession and I do know it is a actually good probability,” Martinez stated this month. “I didn’t need to be on a crew that was going to be rebuilding. … I wished to be on a crew that was going to be within the run for it and goes to be proper there come October. That was my principal factor. That was actually my principal focus.”
Roberts stated “all of the elements are nonetheless there” for Martinez to produce, including that “this man is obsessive about being nice.”
“All of that baked in,” he stated, “the web was a no brainer to make that occur.”
Tapping again into that makes not having as a lot roster flexibility a lot simpler to swallow.
David Peralta takes a selfie with a fan earlier than spring coaching camp. (Rick Scuteri / USA Right this moment)
David Peralta’s first time by free company took some time to get to the place he wished to be all alongside, with the Dodgers inking the previous Gold Glove left fielder to a one-year deal shortly earlier than camps opened for spring coaching.
“The Dodgers have been one of many first groups in,” Peralta stated, “and I stated, OK, that is going to be possibility primary. That’s what I wished to do, to win, to win championships. … I don’t suppose, I’m positive that I made the proper resolution to be on this crew.”
Los Angeles’ curiosity in Peralta dates again past that. Seemingly a thorn within the membership’s facet for a lot of their shared time within the division in his first 9 years with Arizona, the Dodgers have been among the many golf equipment who mentioned probably buying and selling for Peralta a minimum of 12 months’s commerce deadline. The 35-year-old wound up going to Tampa Bay as a substitute, with the Dodgers addressing their outfield want in buying and selling for Joey Gallo.
Peralta’s market this winter was sluggish going, not simply as his numbers fell throughout his time with the Rays, however due to well being. The outfielder required again surgical procedure to handle a herniated disk over the winter, with the discomfort coming “out of nowhere,” with Peralta undecided sufficient to speculate how that may have affected his manufacturing. His $6.5 million deal consists of up to $1.5 million in extra incentives based mostly on his time on the energetic roster.
He now suits right into a Dodgers outfield image that basically paints Peralta as a part-time platoon nook outfield possibility to hit right-handed pitching, which Roberts confirmed this week. His platoon cut up is comparatively robust for his profession (.836 OPS towards right-handed pitching in contrast to .663 towards lefties), and the membership already has a mass of our bodies making an attempt to vie for taking part in time in left and middle area.
The subject of management will proceed to come up for the Dodgers till it gained’t, with Justin Turner’s departure. Simply don’t count on anybody to trot on up to the rostrum with it painted on their brow.
“Anyone who was gonna are available right here and say, ‘I’m going to be a frontrunner,’ everybody else goes to eye-roll you if you do this,” Freddie Freeman stated. “It’s going to occur organically.”
Freeman stated it might be him. The previous MVP’s accolades converse for themselves, and the primary baseman’s been demonstrably more comfy than he was a 12 months in the past after his stunning departure from Atlanta. This 12 months, he strolled into the Camelback Ranch clubhouse, his son Charlie in tow, and set his stuff down in entrance of Turner’s previous spring locker stall within the nook.
It might be Betts, a fellow MVP now getting into his fourth spring as a Dodger. It took weeks after arriving in Los Angeles for Betts to make waves with a speech credited for setting the tone for a title-winning season, and he’s grown more and more comfy in his personal voice since.
“I simply sort of learn the scenario,” Betts stated. “I’m not right here to strive and be the chief, strive and do that, strive and do this. Regardless of the scenario requires, you simply be prepared for it. That’s sort of what I do.”
Is everybody making too huge a deal of it?
“Most likely,” Betts stated with fun.
It is also Clayton Kershaw, one other former MVP who membership president Stan Kasten has already acknowledged will possible have his quantity retired at Dodger Stadium sometime.
Odds are, it gained’t simply be one man.
“A frontrunner can come from anyplace,” Kershaw stated. “Not that we’re brazenly in search of one.”
PECOTA got here out with its set of preseason projections this week, which pegged the Dodgers at round 96 wins with about 60.8 % odds to win the NL West for the tenth time in 11 seasons.
Take a peek over at FanGraphs’ projected playoff odds, and the Dodgers are projected to win about 88 video games, with 27.4 % odds of successful a crowded NL West and ending forward of their projected winners, the Padres.
What to make of it? Not a lot. Each are bullish on the Dodgers’ odds total of constructing the postseason, every baking in what ought to be a drop-off from the crew that gained 111 video games final season and 106 the 12 months earlier than that.
“I don’t thoughts it,” Roberts stated. “Our ideas about ourselves hasn’t modified. I feel our guys do a very good job of not likely caring or pondering an excessive amount of about prognosticators or predictors.
“We’re going to win a variety of video games.”
The division ought to be “totally different,” Roberts stated.
Certainly it’s going to. The Padres add Xander Bogaerts and Fernando Tatis Jr. into the fold after upsetting the Mets and Dodgers and making it to final 12 months’s NLCS. The Giants misplaced Carlos Rodón and signed Carlos Correa potential upside performs like Michael Conforto and Mitch Haniger. The Diamondbacks have a wealth of younger expertise.
“(San Diego’s) proficient,” Robert stated. “I feel Arizona’s gotten higher. I feel San Francisco goes to be rather a lot higher than they have been final 12 months. I don’t know. The division modifications yearly. Whether or not the Padres are actually good or not I don’t suppose it modifications how we go about it.”
The Rockies? Eh, they’re nonetheless the Rockies, most definitely.
(High photograph of J.D. Martinez: Paul Rutherford / USA Right this moment)