Dodgers Strike Out in Today’s Personnel Moves

A couple of days ago, the Dodgers’ had completed a sweep of the Colorado Rockies, extending their winning streak to ten games, and increasing their National League West lead. However since then, they first learned that outfielder Franklin Gutierrez has had a flair-up of his chronic arthritis, and was headed for a stint on the disabled list. Called up to replace him was left-hand hitting infielder-outfielder Mike Freeman who previously saw time in the majors with both Arizona and Seattle. Not replacing Gutierrez with another right handed hitter seemed unusual, but a testament to the fine play of Yasiel Puig and Chris Taylor, who have been outstanding in right and left field, respectively.

Then today there was word that rightly starter Brandon McCarthy had suffered a knee injury and that he also was headed to the DL. The Dodgers recalled fellow rightly Brock

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Stewart, but in other moves that boggle the mind, they also sent down to Oklahoma City righty Ross Stripling, who has struggled some of late, and recalled a righty-hitting outfielder that they felt unneeded just a couple of days earlier. Among the choices at Oklahoma City for that outfield spot were veteran Scott Van Slyke, the most obvious and best choice, a veteran with power and solid defense who can play first base as well as all three outfield spots. They also could have chosen to recall 27-year-old righty-hitting outfielder O’Koyea Dickson, who has played almost every day for the OK City Dodgers in left field, and hit 17 home runs. They could also have turned to the organization’s top outfield prospect, 21-year-old Alex Verdugo, even though he hits left handed. Verdugo has hit a more than solid .344 in Triple-A this season, primarily dividing his time between right field and center.

But instead, the Dodgers chose to recall the vastly over-rated, very fringe major league maybe maybe prospect, trayce thompson, whose sole claims to fame are being the son of one-time Lakers’ star and current broadcaster Mychal Thompson and brother of NBA star Klay Thompson, and a guy who two years ago had two really good weeks playing in the outfield for the Chicago White Sox. Since that time, thompson had two really bad weeks playing in the outfield for the Chicago White Sox, a season with the Dodgers in which he hit a robust .225 and proved that he is a below-average outfielder, and a 2017 season in Triple-A where he has continued that same mastery of the art of hitting, batting .211 at Oklahoma City over 62 games and 223 at bats. And, in three games with the Dodgers early this season, he was 0-for-eight.

How the Dodgers’ brain trust thinks that thompson can play in the majors and be a contributor to the Dodgers is a total mystery. He has range in the outfield, but cannot catch the ball once he gets to it (2016 NL fielding average: .933) and his present and future is as a sub-.250 hitter with occasional power and poor defense. Here’s hoping that this stay in Los Angeles will be short, very, very short. And, not to be repeated.

As To McCarthy, there is little info our there about his injury, other that it being described as tendinitis in his right knee. McCarthy has had an excellent season so far as the number three starter in the Dodgers’ rotation, the first under his three-year, $48 Million Dodgers’ contract where he has actually been healthy enough to pitch (53 innings over 2015 and 2016 combined, with a 5.29 ERA). Given McCarthy’s long history of missing considerable

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time due to one injury after another, it may well be that it is quite awhile before he returns to pitching.

A week ago, the Dodgers effectively had seven pretty solid starters to choose among, having to space out starts, sometimes using a six-man rotation and using long-time starters in long relief, but like a flash Julio Urias is gone and now McCarthy may be lost as well.

This may or may not be a good thing and a possible solution to potential problems, but Scott Kazmir, another one of the Dodgers’ $48-Million signees who has been a total bust, is now at Rancho Cucamonga to begin a rehab assignment. Might we actually see him in the Dodgers’ rotation this season, maybe even sometime soon? That does not bode well, even for the 51-27 Dodgers.

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