Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Challenges Struggling Players to Figure it Out

Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger had another day off on Wednesday, and manager Dave Roberts was asked about it. Bellinger got two days off as a “reset” last month, and the similarly struggling Chris Taylor has also been given several breathers in an attempt to get out of his funk. But on Wednesday afternoon, Roberts told the media the time for resets has come and gone.

“I think the reset window has passed. Guys have got to perform. And so with that, they’ve got to play. They want to play. But as far as the playing time, other guys deserve the opportunity to play as well. So that’s where trying to balance the playing time for everyone that’s worthy and other guys that need it to get untracked kind of comes into play.”

The “other guys” include Trayce Thompson, who has performed pretty consistently since being acquired by the Dodgers in June, and Joey Gallo, who has shown signs of life since coming to L.A. at the trade deadline. The logjam will only get worse when Gavin Lux returns from his neck issue, because second base will no longer be a regular option for Taylor to get playing time.

Roberts isn’t ready yet to pull the plug on Bellinger and Taylor, though. With the division all but wrapped up and a healthy lead in the race for best record in baseball, the next four weeks of games are almost meaningless.

“We’re not there yet. I think there’s enough season, enough games for guys to kind of find their way so I’m not even at that point yet.”

But as Roberts points out, other players need playing time to stay sharp, while rookie Miguel Vargas is looking for at-bats to potentially earn a spot on the postseason roster.

And that’s where “guys have got to perform” comes in. We’ve seen Max Muncy and Justin Turner turn around terrible seasons and become key contributors again, and both Taylor and Bellinger have broken out of slumps before.

But realistically, both Bellinger and Taylor might have been benched in the postseason last year if the Dodgers had had any better options, as Belli had a .379 OPS over his last 40 games and Taylor’s was .538 over his last 46 games. Both of them came through in the postseason, but injuries and the Dodgers’ lack of depth were the only reasons they got the chance. (There will be no Steven Souza, Billy McKinney, or even Matt Beaty on this year’s postseason roster.)

Neither player can stumble into October and expect playing time this year, not with so many options available. So if they’re waiting until the last moment for a dramatic turnaround, that moment is basically here.

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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.


  1. Still think when the bell for playoffs rings Taylor will be fine. Bellinger has been in a slump for three years, so not sure about that. I’d be surprised if he’s on the playoff roster

  2. That’s what the minor leagues are for. Pitchers with an injury stay there until they are ready.
    The Dodgers bring back hitters without any evidence they can hit major league pitching.

    1. You can’t just send players down that have MLB contract to the minors. They have to go for a rehab assignment, and no agent is going to allow a fake injury to happen.

  3. Belinger is done, he’s had a good 1/2 yr in MLB and should be a defensive replacement or pinch runner when needed, keep him away from the bat rack!!!

  4. we seem to be winning just the way things are …bench guys are performing well which is a bonus, so why change things …belly is one of the top defensive guys in centerfield in MLB..
    sure you want to get the bench guys more AB’s absolutely, but no need to do anything drastic since we keep winning …dont fix whats not broken

  5. And yet Belli and Taylor continue to swing for the fence on every pitch in every situation.

  6. Apparently they don’t see anyone in OKC they want to call up and send the slumping guys there to “figure it out”? Sure looks like some hot talent down there.

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