Over the weekend, I was in contact with David Lauterbach of fellow SB Nation blog True Blue LA to do a Q&A session in preparation for the Dodgers' first ever visit to Target Field. You can read my responses to his questions over at their blog, and posted below are his answers to my questions about the Dodgers. Most were serious, but I couldn't help myself and had a little bit of fun with these as well.
1. How are the Dodgers getting enough playing time for Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Yasiel Puig, and Carl Crawford in the outfield?
They aren't, it's that simple. Every day I look at the lineup to see which of the four is out and every day it's more confusing to me. In my opinion, the outfield should always include Kemp and Puig, but it's not because Kemp is "still recovering" from all the surgeries he's had. When it's a lefty pitcher on the mound, it should be Crawford in the lineup but at the same time Ethier is the better defender. So in the end they aren't and I would be stunned if July 31st passes and all four are still on the team, unless one gets injured.
2. Speaking of Yasiel Puig, is he more of an asset or a distraction?
100% an asset. The ESPN article I read about his defection is incredible and could be a liability/distraction, but I don't think it is in the end. Puig doesn't just help the team in the lineup or on the field. He also helps them in the clubhouse and in the dugout. Puig, Juan Uribe, and Hanley Ramirez are the epitome of the Three Musketeers because they are complete goofballs with each other. That's where Puig helps the team in the clubhouse and dugout. On the field, it's pretty obvious because of the cannon he has for an arm, and in the lineup it's obvious because of his speed and power. So in the end, he's definitely more of an asset than a distraction.
3. This is a bit weird, but only because Twins fans really didn't like him as a baseball player. How's Drew Butera working out as a backup catcher in LA? Are Dodgers fans okay with his absolute lack of a bat? Oh, and thanks for taking him off our hands, because Ron Gardenhire was so totally in love with him.
I was stunned when Butera was added to the 25-man roster over Matt Treanor Tim Federowicz as the team's backup and now temporary replacement for A.J. Ellis. Butera is a solid option defensively, but not offensively. The problem is TreanorFederowicz isn't either. So in the end, Butera is really only on the team for his defense and I'm sure the Dodgers are happy with that because TreanorFederowicz has been horrendous on defense this year.
4. Kenley Jansen has already appeared in 16 of the team's 25 games. Are there any concerns about one of MLB's top closers being overused?
For me, yes; for the team, I'm not sure. Kenley is great and the the rest of the bullpen could be too. But for some reason, the Dodgers have always had bad luck with signing relievers. I like Kenley a lot but I'm very worried he's not going to last until August. Part of the reason why he's been used this much is because Brian Wilson has been injured or pitching poorly, Chris Perez has also pitched poorly, and Brandon League has pitched like Brandon League. As a result, Jansen has been forced to come in for non-save situations or when the team is down just so LA stays in it. So in short, yes I am worried because it's a 162-game season and like you pointed out, he's been used a lot already.
5. When healthy, the Dodgers' rotation stacks up with the best. You guys don't really need Kershaw, Greinke, Haren, and Beckett. Can the Twins have one of them? Please? The Twins' rotation is basically just 5 Paul Maholms.
No you can't, haha. The Dodgers' are forced to do that every year because every year one or two get injured. Last year it was Chad Billingsley and Greinke, this year it's Kershaw. Another reason why Los Angeles won't get rid of them for a while is because of the last question you mentioned. Kenley is being overused and the bullpen as a whole has been poor. As a result, when guys like Billingsley and Kershaw come back, two of those guys will be bumped into the bullpen that desperately needs help.
6. Who has been the biggest surprise this year?
Dan Haren and Josh Beckett. Both have struggled in their last starts, but over the course of the season they've been a nice surprise. In five starts this year Haren is 3-0 with a 2.03 ERA. He's pitched very well since he came back from the DL halfway through last season with the Nationals, which is why I loved his signing. Beckett hasn't been as good, but has still been a surprise. Over four starts, he's 0-0 (ironically) with a 2.45 ERA. Both struggled with injuries last year, which made me doubt if they'd be able to help the team enough to make up for the absence of Kershaw. But in the end, they've surprised me and the team as a whole because they've been able to keep LA in games that the bullpen has ultimately given away.
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