The Dodgers Swiss Army Knives

The Dodgers under Andrew Friedman are known for their versatility. Both of their catchers can play 2 or 3 other positions. CT3 can play 6 positions while Cody Bellinger can play 4 positions. Max Muncy and Justin Turner can play 3 positions and David Freese can play 2 positions. However, no one can play more positions than one Enrique Hernandez.

Right about now, Kike Hernandez is the “flavor-of-the-week” for some Dodger fans and some are already anointing him the starting 2B and leadoff hitter. Not so fast! I am a huge Kike fan. In fact, I have said that he could be the next JD Martinez. I say that with only a small part of my tongue in cheek. I think Kike is ready to “break out.” I feel it! I have seen growth and maturity rise in the man and he learned a lot from Chase Utley… and is still learning as he is very close to the Silver Fox.

But, I do think Kike will continue to be the Dodgers Swiss Army Knife. If Corey Seager is healthy, I think Chris Taylor will start at 2B. Kike will be backup at 2B, SS and all three outfield spots. He will essentially play every day… at many different spots.

Some people think Kike is a hot dog. Not true! He’s more of a Bratwurst! Unlike Yasiel Puig whose antics grew thin on this teammates, Kike is a student of the game who shows up early and stays late. He’s a typical “gym rat” and is beloved by his teammates.

Ross Stripling

Chicken Strip is another Swiss Army Knife. This is something he has finally embraced. He used to only think of himself as a starter. Now he wants to be“the Kike of the pitching staff.” He said that himself. He is open to pitching wherever and whenever he is needed: an inning, three innings, a spot start, etc. Like AC says, he could be a “RH Andrew Miller.” It took Andrew Miller a while to figure it out too.

Ross has very good stuff and is continually working on new pitches and other nuances. He is a very bright and articulate guy and should flourish in his new role. That’s why I don’t see him in the starting rotation… except for an occasional spot start. I can see him near/ or over 100 innings this year… mostly out of the bullpen.

Other News

  • The pitchers are certainly ahead of the hitters. That’s for sure!
  • It’s a “definite maybe” that Kershaw, Buehler and Seager will all be ready by Opening Day.
  • Russ Martin came back and looked none worse for the wear.
  • Cabrera found out that 100 MPH doesn’t impress big league hitters.
  • Other than Yordy, the Dodgers pitchers were lights out.
  • Julio Urias HAS TO BE on the team… probably in the rotation.
  • Adam Jones to the D-Bags… Yawn!
  • Let’s do this!

I am publishing this early because I have a Craft Beer Conference Monday and Tuesday where I have an hour presentation. I have to be there at 7 AM tomorrow, so this is early.HERE’S THE LINK.

This article has 70 Comments

  1. 1. Julio has to be in the School Yard.
    2. Yordy got his reality check.
    3. Who cares about Adam Jones. Boring last name anywhoo.
    4. I am tried of trying to please people. Free at last. MJ was the one in the wrong and everyone apologized to her.
    5. Dodgerpatch. Thank you for the Like. I am not Bum. I am myself as Mark has said over and over.
    6. Bum is there something better than Capitalism? This country may have flaws, but it’s the best there has ever been, flaws and all. Baseball is the purist form of Capitalism is what I said
    7. I am a Conservative in California. I won’t be traveling on Moonbeams Bullet train to LA to any Dodger games any time soon, sorry to say, but I was so looking forward to it.
    8. CT3 is almost just as Versatile as Kike if only he could catch and pitch. But it will be a contest on who can K less

      1. Taylor actually struck out more than twice as much as KIke.

        Taylor BB78, SO178.
        Kike BB50, SO78.

        Kike also makes less errors, is more athletic, and overall skilled at the baseball arts.

  2. From Ken Gurnick on Kershaw and Buehler being ready for opening day:

    “Ready is relative to what anyone feels is ready,” said Roberts. “Is it the conventional buildup both those guys are used to? Probably not, if you look at the calendar. But whatever decision we make we feel is best for the players and our club.”

    In other words, just because Kershaw and Buehler are expected to be “ready” to start the season doesn’t mean they will, because the Dodgers have enough starting depth to leave one or both in extended spring training to build arm strength for additional innings. Or not.

    1. Hello John,
      Have we ever had a recent season where the players have “Been” ready to start? One of my pet peeves has been with the conditioning coach or whomever is in charge of keeping the players in shape. Our guys are always hurt. It’s not normal.

  3. Rarely, do I feel strongly that certain players should get their chance at starting every day, that is, the ones on the periphery, or the so-called ‘utility’ guys. But Kike has worked and earned the 2B job. What more does the FO need to see?

    IMO, if they don’t start him at 2B, then as I’ve said before, they’ve made up their mind long ago who will be the starters and platoon guys, and that hasn’t changed from last season. Any real competition is just for the minor leaguers to feel inspired but won’t impact the 25 man rotation.

    1. Well if it was just Taylor vs. Kike, then Kike wins, but CT3 is not the defensive player Kike is all over the diamond. Maybe Kike starts at 2B on Opening Day, but I think CT3 will be the starting 2B this year… unless he keeps striking out.

    2. 4 days ago, CT3 was doing better than Kike. If I had to make the opening day lineup today, Kike would get the nod. That can all change in the next 2+ weeks of games. IMO Kike is a streakier hitter, but he looks really good right now. He also looks like he filled out a little over the winter. All winter I thought CT3 should be the starter, now I’m more indifferent. Kike was a little better than CT3 last year, while CT3 was much better the year before. Players don’t have the same season over and over and most go through ups and downs. I’m all for giving the job to those that earn it. Same with Joc and Alex, but the problem with those two is that it looks like neither of them wants the job.

      There’s two and a half weeks and 15 more games to figure this out. Hopefully, we get the offense going, still pretty good considering Belli was out for a while and Seager has yet to play. The pitching looks unbelievable and that’s without Kershaw and Bueller.

      I’m still concerned about the slow start for Kersh, Bueller and Seager.

      I will pick up my daughter from school at 2PM on Friday and I’m on my way to AZ for 1 game on Saturday, driving home on Sunday. I can’t wait! I love road trips. I’ll be going to Crazy Coyote for tacos in Cabazon on the way up and on the way back. I’ll stop at Daniel’s Really Good Fresh Jerky in Quartzsite for Jerkey and hot sauce. Don and Charlies after the game on Saturday in Scottsdale.

      1. 59

        I love road trips too.

        You picked a great time to take your road trip, it will be 70 on Friday, and 79 on Sunday when you come back.

        In high school PalmSprings was in our league, so we always loved to stop in Cabazon home of the dinosaur, and eat at one of the many fast food places that were practically all in the same place, in town.

        1. That’s awesome. We went and visited Palm Springs a couple of time in the last 6 years or so. Still a nice place to visit. A very quirky town with a lot of art and a throwback feel. I can’t emphasize enough, if you like tacos, and who doesn’t, you really need to go to Crazy Coyote. Do some shopping at the Outlet Mall and make a day of it. I’ve driven there from Huntington Beach just to get that taco. 😉 I’ll stop off at the Adidas Outlet at a minimum, so I’m at least killing two birds.

          1. My parents liked to take a ride out to Hadley’s to buy nuts, dates, and figs. I guess I have been going there albeit rarely since the 50’s.

          2. 59

            That really sounds like a good time, and I am going to have take your advice on Crazy Coyote.

            I love Tacos!

            I think it is great that your taking your daughter to the game too.

          3. Funny thing MJ, my daughter watches sports on TV with me more than my son ever did. She’ll watch all the Lakers and some of the Dodgers games with me. She also likes watching the big Euro soccer teams play. The boy will watch a few innings with me when the games on and he doesn’t have something better to do. He hardly ever watches any other sports. Maybe he got burned out with all that travel ball!

  4. Public Service Announcement

    This is a Dodger Blog.

    Treat each other with respect.

    No politics or religion.

    Nothing divisive!

    Do I need to elaborate?

    Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

    1. 59

      That is exactly how I got started watching sports.

      I would watch TV with my father.

      I was the youngest and the only girl, and my brothers were a lot older then me, so we didn’t really grow up with each other.

      I guess I was a daddy’s little girl, and it sounds like your daughter is the same.

      With your boy, sometimes kids like to play sports, but they don’t like to sit down and watch sports.

      But I bet your daughter is exited to go to Arizona with you.

  5. Kike’ has often said he thinks his best position is shortstop but he keeps making plus plus plays at second base. My small sample size observations tell me that Kike’ doesn’t play third base well. One would think if he likes short he would be comfortable on the left side.

    A few years ago following the 2016 season when the Dodgers were trying to trade for a second baseman I ventured a hunch that they should give Taylor a chance there before they gave up too much in a trade. But I now believe that Kike’ is the far better defensive second baseman.

    Hamchuck, don’t ignore revenue sharing, competitive balance tax, draft, free agent rule, etc. when you claim that “Baseball is the purist form of Capitalism”.

  6. For those who missed it, round one of cuts was Wednesday after the Cleveland game (all pitchers):
    Optioned (1) – Adam McCreery
    Reassigned to Minor League Camp (4) – Joe Broussard, Daniel Corcino, Josh Smoker, Jesen Therrien

    Round two followed yesterday’s game:
    Optioned (5) – Matt Beaty (3B/1B), Josh Sborz (RP), Rocky Gale (C), Yadier Alvarez (P), Donnie Hart (RP)
    Reassigned (6) – Mitchel White (SP), Omar Estevez (2B), Gavin Lux (SS), Jake Peter (2B), DJ Peters (OF), Cameron Perkins (OF).

    NRI still in ML camp – Allie Stetson (P), Tony Gonsolin (P), Dustin May (P) , Kevin Quackenbush (P), Will Smith )C), Josh Thole (C), Daniel Castro (SS), Ezequiel Carrera (OF), Paulo Orlando (OF), Shane Peterson (OF). None of these players are expected to break camp and become one of the 25 man.

    There are still 6 pitchers that need to be optioned from the 40 man, as well as Keibert Ruiz (C), Edwin Rios (3B/1B), and Andrew Toles (OF) who have not yet been optioned.

  7. Mark–I have nothing to add. Mostly I’m just envious that you’re at a craft beer conference.

      1. The good news is if anyone spills beer on the floor you won’t be able to notice. Man, and I thought the Oregon Ducks home court was busy . . .

        1. 59

          As you probably already know, Beer use to be most countries water at one time, because it was safer to drink, then water.

          1. A tour guide on a Rogue River Viking cruise line while visiting one of the castles said the castle owner drank wine instead of water because of the water’s impurity. It is another myth that beer or wine was once drank instead of water except for maybe a royalty few.

  8. I lied. Here’s a little list I made of Top Ten Pivotal Dodger Players in 2019. Criteria are loose but basically guys who have a wide variance of potential outcomes. I’m not including Turner because when healthy he’s a great hitter or Jansen because we’ll likely get a bunch of saves and some spectacular blow-ups, but I’m looking more at players whose success or failure could help determine whether we make it to the promised land this October [and no, not Utah].

    1. Seager–Could be James Loney Lite or an MVP candidate. Huge range of outcomes.
    2. Kershaw–Basically ditto. Might not need him to win it all, but it sure couldn’t hurt.
    3. Pollock–Our biggest offseason acquisition. Might feel some pressure to perform.
    4. Kelly–Our second biggest new addition. Got him for the playoffs so all year will be a tune-up.
    5. Bartin/Marnes–If these two fuse into one competent catcher then we’re in good stead. If not, oops . . .
    6. Urias–Everybody’s trendy pick for sleeper, but he could really be something this year. Get ready.
    7. Stripling–His All-Star days are likely over, but he’s the ultimate in versatility in the pen. Glue guy.
    8. Taylor–Might be the starting 2B. Might be half the LF platoon. A lot riding on this season. Tiebreaker season after one up and one down year.
    9. Ferguson/Santana–Both these guys teased immense promise last year. If only one of them hits, we’ll take it.
    10. The 100 MPH club [Allie, Cabrera, Gonsolin]–Would be nice to have a late-season surprise in store for some unfortunate NLDS opponent.

    Honorable Mention:

    Max Muncy–Probably should be on this list, but like Chris Taylor last year, I don’t think it’s wise to count too much on a player who just shattered all expectations and broke out like a teenager on prom night.

    Alex Verdugo–“It’s not him; it’s them.” I think we know what we can expect from AV: good bat-to-ball skills; decent OBP; strong defense; energy; rookie mistakes . . . It’s more what the management allows him to do than what he can do.

    1. Seager’s floor is much higher than Loney’s lean years.
      Rustin Marnes is a good catcher and is already fused.
      Urias has a 50/50 chance of being better than Bueller, yes he’s that good.
      Stripling was barely an All-Star, so yes, those days are over.
      If a 775 OPS from Taylor is a down year, I’ll be happy with an average year from him.

      The lineup is filled with major leaguers today. Can’t wait to watch Gonsolin. The game is available on MLB.com today.

    2. Palmdale

      Everything you listed and talked about, seem true to me.

      Great point about Pollock feeling the pressure to perform like most new players to a team, often do.

      And it will probably be hard for Pollock not to feel a little pressure even if he is a veteran player, especially being our biggest acquisition in the off season, like you suggested.

      And about leftfield, like 59 already pointed out, it isn’t like Joc or Verdugo have made any kind of statement at this point in spring training, so at this point it is probably more about them, instead of him right now, like you have maintained.

      And your right, what Verdugo may do or not do, will probably be in the management’s hand, so any time Verdugo gets that chance, he is going to need to run with it.

  9. I am proud to announce that I did not have my first beer until 12:01. It’s perfectly acceptable to drink at a craft beer conference.

    “When I read about the evils of drinking… I gave up reading”

    1. Mark

      Time is relative when we are talking about drinking, it was 4:01 in London, when you had your first beer, who cares, you deserve it.

      And for all of us, it is more about when we had our last beer, not our first beer, if you know what I mean.

  10. Paraphrasing a recent tweet by Ken Gurnick this morning: Caleb Ferguson will be stretched out to three innings this spring so he can be a long reliever.

    I like it. Keeps his options open for both starting and relieving. A sound compromise.

    1. I think Ferguson and Santana will be relievers.

      May and Gonsolin will remain starters.

      1. Mitch White a tweener?

        Truthfully, I’d take it if he became a dependable middle reliever for us.

  11. I have been rooting for Stewart and in the same vein, I am now rooting for Jaime Schultz.

    1. Keeping forgetting about him. For those who have seen him, what’s he look like? Quick scouting report?

      1. re: prospects, most agree that our top four–in some order–are Verdugo/Ruiz/May/Lux; although most lists have Smith ranked fifth, I’ve seen Gonsolion as high as fourth and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ends with the best arm of the whole system. He doesn’t seem to have May’s feel for pitching [few prospects do], but Gonsolin is big-time legit and I guarantee other teams have been sniffing around him in trade talks.

  12. CT3 in mid-season form after two AB’s today with two K’s. Hernandez has to get the 2b job. CT3 just doesn’t make enough consistent contact to be a position player. The K is a rally killer and it was evident from last year that this team struggled at times to score runs when they didn’t hit the long ball. I’m not confident CT3 has made an adjustment.

    1. I totally agree, Kike’s outs were much more impressive! I was hoping CT3 would win the job, but if he keeps up those Ks, I wouldn’t hesitate to go with Kike. Play the hot hand until someone takes the position. Same with LF. Give it to Joc until Verdugo takes it. If one slumps for a couple days, let the other guy play. The longer you streak, the more rope you get.

      Saw Belli and Muncy smoke a couple of balls today of the ground ball variety. Just missing. Now that there’s less guys in camp, maybe they’ll start straightening those out a bit.

      Verdugo slapped a 3-2 double down the line. He needs to do more of that.

      Stetson Allie is a very big man.

  13. Of course, Roberts has to make a pitching change with 2 outs in the 9th inning of a Spring game to everyone’s chagrin. He’s in mid season’s form already. Too bad none of his hitters are, preferring to “slow start” rather than “get ready” for the upcoming season.

  14. https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2019/03/dodgers-place-andrew-toles-on-restricted-list.html

    The Dodgers have placed outfielder Andrew Toles on the restricted list, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register tweets. Toles has yet to report to spring camp owing to an undisclosed personal matter.

    Details are lacking, though it seems that today’s move was not driven by any change in Toles’s situation. With no resolution in sight, though, the Dodgers will now have another 40-man roster spot to work with for the time being.

    Still just 26 years old, Toles burst onto the MLB scene in 2016 but missed much of the ensuing season with an ACL tear. He ultimately received only a limited opportunity last year, struggling in just 32 plate appearances, but hit well (.306/.345/.461) in his 275 trips to the plate at Triple-A.

    The expectation had been that the left-handed-hitting Toles would challenge for a part-time role in Spring Training. Just how things might have shaken out can’t be known given that he never made it into camp. Toles will remain under control of the Dodgers organization, which will ultimately need to decide whether to add him back to the 40-man roster if and when he is ready to resume playing.

    1. Beaty could get some AB’s this year.

      Miller could benefit.

      Rios might fit better elsewhere.

      1. AC

        What do you get out of this about the restricted list?

        I think the key words in that article is, todays move was not driven by a change in Toles situation.

    2. Good riddance. This person was given the chance of a lifetime and he tossed it into the toilet. If you want to pity him, go ahead.

      1. I don’t really know his situation. I was pulling for him to do well, and it would be a pity if he self-destructed because of personal issues. Some people are wired to be high achievers and have high emotional IQ, others not so much. Anxiety is an actual issue that one just can’t will away.

        I hope he gets over this and succeeds.

        1. I don’t know if I am allowed to speak on Medical issues unless using banal talking points, but he was probably smoking a plant based substance or more so he didn’t show up.

          1. You are just assuming facts not in evidence.

            I think it tends to be on the lines anxiety disorder… which is real, but I won’t jump to conclusions.

      2. I am so glad that you have identified his problem and know that he has just thrown away what chance he had. I am not about to diagnose Andrew, but to diminish what he may be going through is inexcusable. Andrew does not need pity, he needs for us not to pass judgement on him until we have all of the facts.

        While I have no clue as to what the personal matters are (and neither does anyone on this site), if it does turn out to be a psychological, emotional, or a behavioral disorder, he is going to need time to get through it. I have a great deal of experience with these types of disorders, and they are REAL. They are not imagined.

        Let’s all just be respectful of Andrew and let him get through whatever issue he has. His well being is far more important than how he performs on a baseball field.

  15. MJ, the restricted list is just another form of removing a player from the 40 man without placing him on the 60 day DL (which is paid). Toles’ contract is not guaranteed, he is not going to get paid, and he will not accrue any service time. They are basically letting him try to get his personal matters under control, and still retain control of him in the organization. It is what they had to do.

    1. AC thanks!

      That is what I thought I read, but you know this front office makes a lot of smart moves, that are not always that obvious, or as final as some think.

      And of course you already brought this up this morning, so I wasn’t that surprised, especially with caveat this move was not driven by any change in Toles situation.

  16. Hamchuck, out of respect for MT, and his admonishment for us to be civil I will only say, you have loss all credibility with me.
    You likey don’t know enough, or even anything about Andrew’s situation, yet you think you have to pontificate.
    It doesn’t speak well of you.

    1. Bobo, Lost all credibility with you. Boo Hoo. Tell you what, not one of you came to my defense when I was attacked by MJ, but then apologized and kissed her ass. So I really don’t care if you respect me or not any longer. Talk to me or not. People have become way too soft.

      Humans are meant to toil. Humans are meant to work and take on tasks that involve stress. Poor Andrew has life so tough, he has to play Baseball for crying out loud. Give me a break. Some of you may agree with me, but are too fearful to speak up, because if you did, MJ and her band of renowned would jump down your throat like good little troopers.

  17. NorcalDodger and 59,

    I know what you guys mean.

    As you probably both already know, I feel the same about strike outs, because your right NorCal, they do kill rallies.

    We were 0-9 today when runners were in scoring position.

    We have to do better this year!

    It doesn’t look like Corey will be ready for opening day, although I don’t know for sure.

    But with that, Turner can’t do everything himself, because pitchers will pitch around him.

    And because of that, we are going to need everyone to step up this year.

  18. Vegas and Hawkeye,

    We have two games against the Reds this week, one on Wednesday, and one on Friday.

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