The Dodgers endured a rash of injuries in April, something sort of new to this ballclub. Multiple bullpen arms and key contributors on offense have missed extended time. Moreover, Cody Bellinger and emerging utility man Zach McKinstry remain sidelined. And now worst of all, it was announced on Monday that starter Dustin May will undergo Tommy John surgery next week.
Altogether, 10 Dodgers are currently on the injured list with various ailments. That’s usually enough to stomp out the hopes of any team, but that’s no so much the case with these boys in blue.
On Monday, veteran third baseman Justin Turner shared praise for LA’s president of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman, for building the type of depth that he believes will propel the Dodgers to another successful season.
“We’ve seen it year after year. Guys going down, guys getting hurt. Guys coming up, stepping in, and having success and helping us win ball games. That’s the expectation we have now.”
Friedman nurtures prospects and reshapes cast-offs to offset injuries. It’s been a trademark of the Dodgers accomplishments.
Max Muncy recorded back-to-back 35 home run seasons (2018-2019) and made an All-Star team (2019). Chris Taylor posted the 20th best WAR in baseball (2017-2019) as an everyday player with the Dodgers. Friedman plucked both off the scrap heap.
Nobody talks about Chris Taylor. Found this interesting: since becoming full-time MLBer (2017), he's been the 20th most valuable player in the NL (by WAR), just behind Bryce Harper, just ahead of Conforto/Blackmon/Grandal.
— Joe Davis (@Joe_Davis) July 14, 2020
More recently, then prospect Edwin Rios — yes, that Edwin Rios — provided plenty of pop in 2020 while registering a .946 OPS. Young lefty Victor Gonzalez produced a razor thin WHIP (0.74) last year and was a key arm in October. And starter Tony Gonsolin put up a 2.38 ERA in eight starts.
“It’s a conversation that’s had every year in spring training with the 60-plus guys that are in that room. You’re in this room because the front office, Andrew, Doc, they believe that you’re gonna help us win ballgames sometime throughout the year.”
Andrew Friedman has built a reputation dating back to his Tampa Bay days on building depth. Friedman routinely finds overlooked talent and reshapes it into legitimate big league players.
This season that skill is being put to the test.
Friedman’s bullpen is currently missing David Price, Corey Knebel, Joe Kelly, and Brusdar Graterol. His anemic lineup is missing a MVP. He just lost one of the best young arms in all of baseball.
History proves that Friedman will find the answers to continue to win ball games.