The Dodgers were one of the teams at the forefront of perfecting the defensive shift in MLB. With their deep analytics department and incredible baseball operations team, they’ve been able to greatly improve their positioning since the Guggenheim regime took over.
The defensive shift has been a hot topic in baseball over the last few years. As the league looks for more ways to get the ball in play and keep the pace of play up, banning or changing the rules to the shift has been discussed. You might think that the Dodgers would be against that.
But as of Tuesday afternoon, you would be wrong. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was asked about the shift and his feelings on it. His answer differed greatly from the opinions he and the team have expressed in the past.
I’ve always been on the side of allowing for shifts, but the more I think about it the more I see it. When a guy rides out a change-up in shallow right field and it’s an L-4 and a one-hop bullet up the middle. I just think that sometimes we end up kind of talking out of both sides of our mouths as far as trying to promote offense but allowing for other things that kind of suppress it. So I guess if I had my druthers I would do away with it.
Part of that may be the result of a few years of dealing with the shift on the offensive side of things. But the Dodgers also have had a run of bad luck in San Diego over the last few games. Manny Machado, a third baseman, often plays deep in right field against their left-handed hitters.
That’s resulted in a few would-be hits falling safely into Machado’s glove. Still, it’s odd to see the Dodgers skipper do such a quick 180 on the matter. MLB is currently testing out shift adjustments at the minor league level, so we’ll see where it evolves from there.