Dodgers Explore Lineup Reinforcement Options Before MLB Trade Deadline

Denver – max munsi It looked like he had found it. a full-computation curveball from of rocks, Kyle Freeland Stoned with Munsi’s bat and shot towards the gap. Even on a Saturday night in the endless grass of Coors Field, it longed to find at least some space. It traveled an estimated 403 feet and was right in the gloves of a racing Randall Grichuku in the center to end the sixth innings of what became a 5-3 defeat for dodgers, Muncie took one look at center field, then another. Another near miss in a season full of him as his season Ops fell to .607.

Last summer, 31-year-old Muncie moved up the Dodgers lineup for a stretch, but this season he struggled. cody bellingerThe bat has gone well below the league average for the second year in a row. Despite those trends, the lineup as a whole was ranked by WRC+ as the best in the National League and runs per game.

Nevertheless, the Dodgers remain focused on increasing the depth of their lineup as the trade expires. They are going through their options, internal and external.

For example, the Dodgers had shown interest in trading for an outfielder. David Peraltaa source told athleticHowever, that option was closed on the first Saturday when Arizona Peralta was sent to Tampa Bay for minor league catcher Christian Cerda. Peralta, who has .777 ops in 310 plate appearances with the Diamondbacks this season (including .823 ops against a right-handed pitcher), will soon return as well as a left-handed platoon substitute. Chris Taylor in left field. Peralta’s addition could have pushed Taylor into center field to replace Bellinger.

Cody Bellinger is struggling for a second season in a row. (Theron W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Even with Peralta off the market, Dodgers have options they can adopt as insurance for some of their underperforming bats. Cubs outfielder Ian Happy Career against right-handers is a switch hitter with .831 OPS, and he has another year of club control beyond that. Pirates outfielder ben gemelli This season has .735 ops compared to right-handers and will be renting. Maybe the Dodgers could be the betting club Joy GalloNew York’s ability to address its woes.

or, if giants Wind as sellers, perhaps even rivals, may find common ground for scarce trade. Former Dodgers Outfielder jock pederson Has a .421 Ops since the beginning of July, but offers the type of Platoon Bat (right against a carrier .833 Ops) Los Angeles has shown the ability to use properly in the past. And although the two clubs have linked on just two swaps over the past half century — just one coming midseason — perhaps the history between veteran executive Farhan Zaidi and Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman could pave the way for a deal.

And, of course, the Dodgers stay in the mix For john soto and have shown interest in two-way star Shohei Ohtani,

“I have been pleasantly surprised many times in the past,” manager Dave Roberts said of the possibility of more moves by Tuesday’s trading deadline. “But like I always said, I really like this ball club. My job is to push these guys. So that’s what I’m going to do and we’ll read and respond if anything happens.”

Of course, the Dodgers also boast internal options, including players coming out of IL and a 25-year-old outfielder who is about to make his potential big league debut.

During the pandemic-turned-season in 2020, in quiet moments between cage sessions at a park near his hometown of Redwood City, Calif., James Outman found it hard to imagine where he would end up after two summers. The athletic, left-handed outfielder was seen as a more than likely organizational filler that would someday reach the big leagues. Yet, that’s exactly what he did when he arrived at the visiting clubhouse at Coors Field. When the Dodgers needed to be replaced Zach McInstryWho was it Traded Cubs for reliever Chris MartinHe promoted Outman.

In 2019, removed from a mid-major event at Sacramento State, Outman hit just .226 in a Class A with middling power as a 22-year-old. In 2020, Outman was not among the invited prospects. The Dodgers’ alternative training site at USC. Although he showed solid pace and the ability to stay in all three outfield positions, Outman, in his words, swung “like a caveman”.

“Just really harsh,” Outman said, “not much there.”

Outman began enlisting coaches such as Craig Wallenbrock, whose coaching tree of disciples includes current Dodgers hitting coach Robert Van Skoyok. Those coaches took Outman’s jab-like swing and loosened him, allowing him to make more contact and do so more forcefully.

“Total rebuilding,” Outman said.

So Outman and a few friends would find room to refine the new swing where they could, even as the world around them shut down. They used friends’ backyards and unlocked batting cages in local parks before Outman reported the Dodgers’ instructional camp collapse. In 2021, he hit 18 homers in 104 games across two levels, earned an invitation to the Arizona Fall League and earned a spot on the 40-man roster over the winter, which never happened to save him from the Rule 5 draft. He has only continued to mash this season, hitting 16 homers in 68 games at Double-A Tulsa and earning a call-up at Triple-A Oklahoma City in less than a month.

Now the start of the business frenzy has brought him into the big club.

Roberts said, ‘There is a lot of life in the bat.

Outman will start in right field on Sunday in what will be his major league debut.

“It was my goal to make it here at some point in the year,” Outman said. “But when I got the call, I was very surprised.”

This stint in the major leagues may have been brief for Ottman. He is the 26th person on the roster looking to add talent.

Trace Thompson And Jake Lamb Combined to produce .870 OPS (147 wRC+, or 47 percent above league average) in his first 161 plate appearances while platooning in left field, with the first filling for two injured Mookie Bates And now Taylor. Edwin Rios Slugged seven homers in 92 plate appearances before injuring his hamstrings. But others also struggled to take regular action. The Dodgers activated McKinstry from the injured list on July 6, and McKinstry made just seven plate appearances, before being traded to him in 23 days. Outman’s contribution can be a placeholder.

Players are recovering. Rios began a rehab assignment in Oklahoma City this week. He could have been there for at least two weeks after missing out on major shoulder surgery from last season. Taylor will begin his rehab work on Monday as he returns from a broken bone in his left leg. Roberts suggested recently that Taylor might play some second base on that rehab assignment, even though he hasn’t played infield this season following an off-season elbow procedure. The Dodgers have managed well in his absence. But even more reinforcements may be needed from Taylor’s return.

Until then, the Dodgers remain in a position where they have seen two former MVP candidates poke holes in their lineup. Bellinger has yet to return to the 2020 postseason post shoulder surgery, with .596 OPS over the past two seasons, even as he puts the defense together in center field. Munsey tore UCL in his left elbow on the final day of the regular season last October. He avoided surgery but joined the injured list in May after a sluggish start. The anticipated reset has not come to fruition. In his first 163 plate appearances since his return, Muncie has posted an Ops of only .627 and has sacrificed some of his running rate for minimal power gains.

“He is,” Roberts said Friday as he still views Muncie, who finished last season in the top 10 in MVP voting as an everyday player. “I will continue to give him the runway, but I certainly still expect quality batsmen. I think the performance, the qualification, definitely has to be like that. … It’s going to be like this till then.” Until that happens.

“For me, for the organisation, I think the track record, performance and consistency of defense shows that he deserves that long lease.”

And the glimpse of that player is still there. Munsey stood at the plate on Saturday in the ninth inning, representing the Dodgers’ last out against the Rockies. Daniel Bardo, as he swings the 98 mph sinker to the right for another shot. It came off his bat with almost the same velocity and trajectory as the previous one. This time Grichuk jumped. It went to his glove and the wall for a double. It was the type of swing the Dodgers were hoping Muncie could replicate throughout the year.

(Top photo of Max Munsey after his sixth inning flight on Saturday: Ron Chenoy / USA Today)

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