Dodgers Team News

Dodgers: Dave Roberts Still Remains Unsure of Who Will Start in The Outfield This Season

When the Dodgers decided to non-tender Cody Bellinger early this offseason, they knew they’d be creating some uncertainty in center field. Originally, they hoped (or at least said they hoped) to re-sign Bellinger to a smaller contract, but that didn’t happen in this winter’s crazy free-agent market. So Los Angeles heads into spring training next week without an incumbent center-fielder. And to hear manager Dave Roberts tell it, without even much of an idea who will fill that role.

Of course, you and I know the situation isn’t as dire as Plunkett’s “that’s never good” would imply. For that matter, Plunkett probably knows it, too, since his follow-up tweet makes it clear the reason Roberts doesn’t know who will start in center is because he has a bounty of options, not because he has no options.

Still, Plunkett does seem to seize on the comments about Zimmer, taking the worst (and least likely) option and running with the implied comparison to Bellinger. Even if Zimmer does end up winning the job, LA won 111 games last year with Bellinger out there really defending and trying to clean up some things with the bat, so it wouldn’t be the worst thing. But chances are, rookie James Outman will get every opportunity to win the job in spring training, with Taylor, Thompson, Heyward, and (eventually, far down the list) Zimmer as fallback options.

It’s not a terrible thing to go into spring training with people competing for their starting jobs. Most teams do that every year. Even the Dodgers do it most years, with last year being a notable exception. No need for doom-and-gloom pessimism about a very regular part of spring. And if Zimmer is the starting center fielder, it will be because he earned the job, another good thing.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

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