Joc Pederson gave a seemingly mundane interview [above] to MLB.com today, talking about his personal development as a hitter and the rookie development camp going on this week in Los Angeles. Two things to keep in mind about what he said:
One question was posed to me several times this week: Are the Dodgers done making moves?
No. Ask Andrew Friedman or Farhan Zaidi or any GM, and he’ll say his work is never finished. There’s always an intriguing minor-league free agent somewhere (see: Chin-Hui Tsao), an injury waiting to happen. Some person or event will inevitably shift a team’s needs. Baseball is a dynamic sport. The only constant is change.
Furthermore, hasn’t the roster changed enough? As DodgersInsider.com recently pointed out, only 15 players on the current 40-man roster appeared in a game for the Dodgers in 2013. That was before Erisbel Arruebarrena was designated for assignment to make room for Brett Anderson (which doesn’t affect the stat I just cited, but still constitutes change).
OK, so the Dodgers have made a lot of moves recently and thrown around a lot of money in the process. But how much money, and where have all those moves left the 2015 club?
Here’s what got me thinking about this. Zaidi has already said that obtaining an eighth inning-type reliever is something the Dodgers will look at, either via trade or free agency. As I wrote yesterday, if the Dodgers have reason to be concerned with their roster, it might be what happens with the ninth inning if Kenley Jansen is hurt or sputtering.
Then I tried to figure out how adding a proven eighth-inning pitcher, someone who would cost more than your typical middle reliever, would impact the Dodgers’ current roster balance and payroll. That’s when this little thought exercise got messy. And complicated. Spreadsheets were needed. God help you if you’re a non-roster invitee trying to make this team out of spring training.
The Dodgers’ payroll is bursting at the seams because of pricey former players and potential 25-man roster guys. Still.
File this one in the lukewarm rumor file.
We’ve reported in the past the multiple teams showed interest in Andre Ethier. Evidently the Baltimore Orioles are one of those teams, and they still have not ruled out acquiring him from the Dodgers, according to a report Sunday on masnsports.com.
From Roch Kubatko:
It’s going to take more than one story or one blog entry to grasp the full scope of what’s happened to the Dodgers roster since the end of the season. I wrote this today. It’s a start. Mostly, it’s a look ahead to what the 2015 Dodgers could look like. What changes could happen between now and then?
Some decisions were made Tuesday, when five players were given permission to return either to their off-season home or the Dodgers’ spring training facility in Arizona.
A few more decisions have been made in the last 48 hours:
The Dodgers chose Julio Urias, 18, as their Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year on Friday. Infielder Corey Seager and outfielder Joc Pederson were chosen as co-Minor League Players of the Year.
The three players, widely regarded as the top three prospects in the organization, will all be at Dodger Stadium to be honored in a pregame ceremony tonight. Pederson will be in uniform because he was promoted to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster on Sept. 1.
Urias had been taking part in the Arizona Instructional League. The 18-year-old left-hander spent the entire season with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and went 2-2 with a 2.36 ERA in 25 games (20 starts), and a 1.20 ERA (6 ER/45.0 IP) in 12 games (10 starts) after the All-Star break.
Seager, who turned 20 on April 27, was selected to Baseball America’s Minor League All-Star Team, batting a combined .349 with a minor league-best 50 doubles, five triples, 20 homers, the second-most extra-base hits in the minors (75) and 97 RBI in 118 games with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Chattanooga in his third professional season.
Pederson, 22, was also the Dodgers’ minor league player of the year in 2012. In his first full season at Triple-A, he produced the fourth 30-home run/30-stolen base campaign in Pacific Coast League history.
Yes, that’s a headline.
Yes, this is the quintessential example of “rookie hazing” in the 21st century.
And yes, there’s a Starbucks close to Wrigley Field — right across the street.
No word on who ordered the “Oprah chai.” Enjoy the photo:
Update (12:10 p.m.): Starbucks’ official Twitter account (@Starbucks, total followers: 6.67 million) took notice:
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) September 19, 2014
Things you learn by talking to people after a game: The Dodgers’ win over the Giants today might have depended on overcoming a misunderstanding.
Joc Pederson didn’t get into the game. In fact, he wasn’t even the left-hander chosen to pinch hit for Clayton Kershaw in the ninth inning against right-hander Hunter Strickland — Andre Ethier was. Behind the scenes, he’s still adjusting to a new routine. You can read about that here.
Dodgers center fielder Yasiel Puig sat out Saturday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks because of a stomach ailment. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Joc Pederson, rather than Andre Either, would replace Puig.
“More than anything Yasiel is not feeling good today,” Mattingly said, explaining Puig’s absence from the starting lineup. “He’s going to have an IV. There’s something going on with his stomach, so we’ll see how that goes.
“It’s opportunity for Joc to do his thing. We don’t want to force him into the lineup or anything else. But it’s an opportunity for him. I think he has a chance to help us. It’s a great experience for him, more than anything. Hopefully, he can help us win some games.”
Pederson went into Saturday’s game hitting .222 (2 for 9) in his first four games in the big leagues after a stellar season in the minor leagues.