The Dodgers made a concerted effort to add veteran players this offseason. While they lost longtime team leader Justin Turner, they were able to replace that veteran void with the likes of J.D. Martinez, Miguel Rojas, Jason Heyward and David Peralta, among others.
Last year, it was pretty well known that Turner was kind of a spokesperson for manager Dave Roberts. He apparently made his job much easier, so this year, there was a little more work for Roberts to do.
However, the new additions have reportedly filled in just fine, and have helped Roberts get the clubhouse and team together this spring training. The Dodgers’ skipper talked about the value of these veteran additions earlier this week at spring training (per Doug Padilla of the Orange County Register).
“It’s great,” Roberts said of the veteran additions. “I think that with veterans, there is one part of it of getting guys to understand your vision and have them be aligned. And the guys we brought in … are guys that were already aligned in philosophies that we value. So that just makes my job much easier and more fun.”
We’ve already seen the new veterans take it upon themselves to make an impact on this team. Both Rojas and Martinez have spent time working with young prospect Miguel Vargas this spring, and those are just the stories we’ve heard. I’m sure there have been many more examples of veterans working with some of the younger guys, and that’s all you could ask for as a manager.
One of those aforementioned veterans is Heyward, who has made a huge impact on this team as a minor league signing. He told Padilla how he’s found ways to help out.
“As far as speaking up to the group, to me, that’s for the betterment of everyone,” Heyward said. “You see the potential in the crowd around you. Throughout a 180-day season, it’s about a pick-me-up, you need some encouragement or to be that person at the time to kind of let loose and have some fun. Put it into perspective.”
It’s very important for teams to have veterans for the rest of the clubhouse to lean on, and this Dodgers team has plenty. So while the clubhouse may be different this season than last, that actually may be for the better.
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