Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Andrew Friedman Talks About Changes Coming for LA with Shift Restriction

Dodgers fans need to be fully ready for a different looking brand of baseball this coming regular season.

A bevy of rule changes have been implemented for the upcoming MLB season. Of course, we’ve already seen them at play this spring, but things will be different when the games count during the regular season. By now you’ve heard plenty about the pitch clock and have probably been annoyed by an automatic ball or strike affecting a real baseball outcome. But where the Dodgers will be most affected by the new rules and limitations coming is in the restrictions on defensive alignment.

Or the shift ban.

As Tom Verducci noted in a great article on Sports Illustrated (check it out here), the Dodgers haven’t been among the best in baseball in maximizing defensive efficiency, they’ve been the best.

Los Angeles took a big leap forward with its defensive strategies in 2019.

YearD. EfficiencyBABIPShift %

And the team has done that with less-than-elite defenders, particularly on the infield, another point Verducci made.

Dodgers president of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman, addressed the changes facing his team and the league this year.

“Not shifting will definitely have an effect but it is still all relative. The gap might not be as large between the best and worst team as it has in the past. That said, some of it is prioritizing good defenders as well as generating weaker contact. Also, some portion of that comes from outfield positioning, which remains unchanged.”

LA already focused on addressing the shift issue with the addition of shortstop Miguel Rojas in the offseason. Originally, he was set to back up Gavin Lux up the middle and provide insurance at second base, if Miguel Vargas didn’t/doesn’t pan out. But Rojas’s importance changed once Lux was lost for the season after tearing his ACL. As tough as that is for the team, the only silver lining is that Rojas will be more or less the everyday shortstop and he is one of the best in the business.

Roster upgrades aside, the Dodgers are the best in baseball when it comes to tip-toeing to the edge of the rules. They will find a way to adapt to the shift ban and maximize the infield dirt as best as possible. The next few weeks of regular season baseball is going to be fun to watch.

Clint Pasillas

Clint Pasillas has been writing, blogging, and podcasting about the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2008. Under Clint's leadership as the Lead Editor, Dodgers Nation has grown into one of the most read baseball sites in the world with millions of unique visitors per month. Find him online on Twitter/X or his YouTube channel!

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