Poll: Where should Yasiel Puig start the season?

We know what will happen. Barring something unforeseen, Yasiel Puig will be wearing a Chattanooga Lookouts uniform to begin the season.

But what should happen?

We’ve explored the pros and cons throughout spring training (examples here, here and here). Now it’s your turn to weigh in.

Poll: Who makes the Dodgers’ opening-day bullpen?

We don’t have confirmation yet, but if the Dodgers wind up signing Peter Moylan (as has been reported), the competition for the final spot out of the bullpen becomes interesting.

Update: Moylan confirmed that he’s joining the Dodgers via Twitter:

 

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Poll: Who should play third base?

Luis Cruz doesn’t plan on playing third base the when he suits up for the Culiacan Tomateros of the Mexican Winter League. “Probably,” he said Monday at Dodger Stadium, “second base, outfield.”

Luis  CruzIs this a sign that Dodgers are trying to turn their emerging everyday third baseman into a utility player? Hardly.

“I try to play the position I didn’t play in the States,” Cruz said. “It’s better for me so I can play more positions. … In winter ball I like to play one game at third, one game at second base, then if they ask me to go play the outfield in the middle of the game, I go to the outfield.”

It’s a nice plan if it works in Cruz’s favor, which it did last year. The Dodgers used him mostly in the outfield in spring training, Cruz did well, and when he got off to a hot start for Triple-A Albuquerque, he got called up and became a fixture at third — the Dodgers’ greatest position of need, not Cruz’s primary position in Albuquerque.

This season, it’s a different story. Continue reading

Poll: Who should win the National League Cy Young Award?

The voters have spoken and the three finalists for the National League Cy Young Award have been chosen. Now it’s your turn.

Simple question today: Who deserves the award? Here’s a bit more about Clayton Kershaw, R.A. Dickey and Gio Gonzalez with links to their stats.

Poll: Mark McGwire, Dodgers’ hitting coach?

Mark McGwire is expected to be named the Dodgers’ hitting coach soon. As crazy as those words may have seemed, say, five years ago, the hire makes more sense now.

The former slugger was raised in Claremont, played baseball at Damien High School and USC, and now lives in Irvine with his wife and children. The Dodgers need a hitting coach, so why not bring in the man whose Cardinals teams have finished third, second and first in the National League in batting average the last three years?

Of course, McGwire is also the man who would not “talk about the past” in 2005, when he was summoned before Congress to talk about steroids in Major League Baseball. He’s since admitted to using steroids in his career, including when he broke the single-season home run record in 1998 — a time when PED testing was virtually non-existent in baseball. McGwire was far from alone during his era, and the Dodgers already have a former PED user on their coaching staff in Single-A pitching coach Matt Herges. Is the stigma still an issue?

We may find out soon. First, your opinion:

Poll: Which Dodger will have the biggest bounceback in 2013?

One of my favorite stats from 2012 was this: Eight major-league teams used 50 or more players last season. Most fell into the category of underachievers, or at least underdogs: Boston (56), Toronto (54), Chicago Cubs (53), San Diego (53), Baltimore (52), Houston (50), Oakland (50) …

… And then there were the Dodgers, clocking in at an even 50 players. It was a combination of trades and injuries that brought the Dodgers to 50, all of which factored into their falling short of the playoffs, and left several players hungry for a big bounceback in 2013.

Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Ted Lilly are coming back from surgery. Chad Billingsley is coming back from an injury, at least the team hopes. Juan Uribe is Juan Uribe.

Who will rebound the most?

Poll: Who should close?

Brandon LeagueThe Dodgers signed Brandon League to a three-year contract yesterday worth $22.5 million. General manager Ned Colletti envisions League closing, though ultimately that decision will fall to manager Don Mattingly. The value of League’s contract makes that seem like a straightforward decision — why pay a guy $7 million-plus to pitch the eighth inning? — but the decision on paper is closer than you might think.

Kenley JansenFor one thing, League is one of three pitchers who closed games for the Dodgers last year (three-and-a-half, if you include Ronald Belisario’s brief time co-closing with league in September). He, Belisario and Kenley Jansen are all high-strikeout power pitchers with a repertoire worthy of the role. Of course, if Jansen weren’t waiting in the wings at the time, the Dodgers might have continued to let Javy Guerra pitch through his early-season struggles; Ronald BelisarioGuerra finished the season with eight saves and a 2.60 ERA. Arguably, that makes four capable closers in the Dodger bullpen. And while Guerra pitched his way out of the job, Jansen only lost the job because of a health setback.

Among that quartet, League has the most career saves (60). Want to guess how many active major-league pitchers have more? Thirty-seven. Javy GuerraExperience isn’t everything — I would rather have League pitching the ninth inning in 2013 than, say, Jason Isringhausen — but the point is that Jansen (34 career saves), Guerra (29) and Belisario (3) aren’t that much less proven in the ninth inning than League.

So for today’s poll question, we give you the manager’s jersey and a baseball to hand to your closer of choice.