The Dodgers enter Tuesday as one of the best and hottest teams in all of baseball. The team currently sits at 30-19, just percentage points behind the Atlanta Braves for the best record in the National League.
The Dodgers’ starting pitching is struggling and the bullpen is greatly taxed, but the offense has found ways to pick up the slack as of late. However, even the offense is dealing with some major struggles from multiple contributors — so imagine if the Dodgers replaced those guys with even better options. Okay, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here just yet.
Almost two months into the season, though, it felt like a good time to look into some of these struggling players, and see if it’s time for the Dodgers to seriously consider a change. Let’s start with the obvious one.
Trayce Thompson began the year with a three-home-run, eight-RBI game, something our very own Clint Pasillas called a great April Fools prank. Pasillas, as usual, was right.
Since that monster debut, Thompson is just 4-for-60 with one home run, four RBIs and 33 strikeouts.
To make matters worse, Thompson’s last hit came on April 17, over five weeks ago. Since his last hit, he’s 0-for-his-last-38 with 22 strikeouts.
Thompson was a great story, but it’s just not working anymore. The Dodgers are trying to force him to hit lefties, and he just can’t. On the year, he’s slashing .056/.244/.139 against lefties with an abysmal OPS of .383.
And conversely, the Dodgers don’t need him to hit righties considering they have David Peralta, James Outman and Jason Heyward all playing outfield spots and having the ability to hit right-handers.
Suffice to say, Thompson has no place on this team anymore. He’ll always be remembered for his incredible breakout 2022 season, but it’s time for the Dodgers to cut ties and replace him with someone who can actually contribute on the field.
If you were upset about me insulting Thompson, then you’re going to be even angrier about this next one.
Austin Barnes has been with the Dodgers for his entire career — all nine years to be exact. He’s consistently been a leader in the clubhouse and a great presence to have around. However, he’s never been this bad at the plate.
Entering Tuesday, Barnes is an abysmal 6-for-65 on the year, sporting a slash line of .092/.189/.108. His season-long OPS is a horrendous .297.
As of late, Barnes is 2-for-his-last-23, seemingly feeling like an automatic out every time he comes up to the plate.
With all that being said, though, Barnes isn’t going anywhere unless the Dodgers decide to put him on the injured list to get right and call up one of their great hitting catching prospects.
Clayton Kershaw still loves throwing to Barnes, and the Dodgers would never DFA someone like him who’s been around for so long. The solution would probably be an IL trip, but for now, the Dodgers will just keep throwing him out there twice a week expecting to get no production from his spot in the bottom of the lineup.
Verdict: IL stint to let one of the many catching prospects get an opportunity (no, that does not include Diego Cartaya)
Now the most difficult person on this list, former All-Star utility man Chris Taylor.
Taylor has shown some signs of getting close to returning to his All-Star self this season, but it just hasn’t happened.
As of Tuesday, Taylor is slashing .189/.248/.441 with seven home runs, 18 RBIs, 44 strikeouts and an OPS of .689. Fortunately, he’s been a positive on defense, spending time at shortstop, third base, second base, left field and center field. However, he hasn’t been able to play himself out of a platoon, and is now losing playing time to Miguel Rojas who’s starting to swing a better bat.
Taylor is just 2-for-his-last-19, and doesn’t have a multi-hit game since the beginning of May. He’s starting to lose serious playing time, which is not want you want to see out of someone who has three years and $45 million left on his contract.
Taylor isn’t going anywhere, though, as the Dodgers would never consider DFA’ing him, and no one is going to want to take on that contract. So the Dodgers will hope that his bat starts to turn it around, or they could be in for a long three more years of watching Taylor struggle.
Verdict: Let it ride, unfortunately, and hope for the best
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