Difficult World Series roster decision need not be

If you were to poll Dodger fans as to who should be removed from the Dodgers current 25-man roster to make room for the possible (although in my opinion unlikely) return of reigning National League Rookie of the Year shortstop Corey Seager, the unanimous, hands down favorite would be struggling (to put it mildly) outfielder Curtis Granderson.

I mean let’s be honest here, the 36-year-old / 14-year MLB veteran has not only sucked in the 2017 postseason with his absolutely abysmal .067 (1-for-15) batting average and eight strikeouts (including a golden sombrero in game-4 of the NLCS on Wednesday night in Chicago), he has sucked ever since being acquired by the Dodgers from the New York Mets on August 18 … and even before.

The extremely popular veteran outfielder owned a 2017 slash-line of .228 / .334 / .481 for an OPS of .815 with 90 strikeouts in 337 at-bats (27 percent) before being traded to the Dodgers for the proverbial ‘player to be named later.’ However, his slash-line since being acquired by the Dodgers plummeted to .161 / .288 / .366 for a pathetic OPS of .654 with 33 strikeouts in 112 at-bats (29 percent).

The first of what is now eight postseason strikeouts by Curtis Granderson.
(Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

The point here is that there are far better left-handed-hitting (and even right-handed-hitting) options available to Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, general manager Far Zaidi and field manager Dave Roberts – most notably a (hopefully) healthy Corey Seager.

As recently as a week ago, the thought of a Seager-less Dodgers postseason roster had Dodger fans and teammates in a frenzy. After all, we’re talking about the guy who had the second best batting average on the team (.295) during the regular season behind only Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner (.322). He also slugged 22 of the Dodgers combined 221 home runs. Yes, you can argue that Granderson’s combined 26 home runs on the season would have ranked him third on the team behind only Cody Bellinger (39) and Yasiel Puig (28), but all but seven of Granderson’s home runs came while he was still with the Mets.

Here’s the kicker. Although there is no disputing that Seager is one of – if not the – best defensive shortstops in the game today, Messrs. Charlie Culberson (four games) and Chris Taylor (two games) did not commit a single error in 17 total chances (1.000 FPCT) in their combined six postseason games at shortstop, whereas Seager actually committed one error in 17 total chances (.941 FPCT) during the three NLDS games against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Granted, Seager was dealing with what was being called a sprained lower back (not to mention his lingering left elbow issue) and most certainly was not 100 percent during the Division Series, but Culbie and CT3 filled in exceptionally well – perfect, even – in Seager’s stead during the NLCS. As such and because of their smoking hot postseason bats, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to rush Seager back into action if he is not absolutely 100 percent healthy and run the risk of causing further injury to the 23-year-old future Gold Glove shortstop – especially to his back.

If the Dodgers do indeed plan to keep Seager off of their World Series roster, who, then, would replace the struggling Granderson? Although the spontaneous answer is ‘who cares,’ a more logical answer might be speedster Tim Locastro as a potential pinch-runner or even outfielder and fan-favorite Trayce Thompson. Granted, Locastro had exactly one at-bat during the regular season (he popped out), but he also stole a base in his one attempt. And even though Thompson was a lackluster 6-for-49 (.122) during the regular season leading to a demotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City, three of those six hits went for extra bases – not panacea but any means, but certainly better than .067 with eight strikeouts in 15 at-bats, if you get my drift.

Although Thompson had only six hits during the regular season, one was a double, one a triple and one a home run. (Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

The Dodgers brain trust probably will not make any changes to their current pitching staff, other than perhaps moving fourth-starter Alex Wood into the bullpen as a spot-starter / long reliever (if needed), as the Dodgers more than likely will not need four starters for the World Series. But should they choose to do so, they could add a guy like hard-throwing right-hander Walker Buehler or even veteran left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu as additional bullpen help. But realistically, it is inconceivable that the Dodgers bullpen could get any better than it has been thus far through the first two rounds of the playoffs. As such, the Dodgers may simply elect to keep Granderson on their World Series roster as a bench player … which, quite frankly, is exactly where he needs to stay.

 

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6 Responses to “Difficult World Series roster decision need not be”

  1. Respect the Rivalry says:

    Keeping Grandy isn’t such a bad idea. He was a good decoy when they sent him out to stand on-deck for Yu.
    Then again, one never knows when he needs a batter to go strike out.

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      lol! … the “Designated Out.”

      All Grandy-bashing aside, he might be a good pinch runner. He’s (relatively) fast with a lot of experience.

      • CruzinBlue says:

        Please, no designated outs for our WS team!! If the Dodgers need a pinch runner, one that can actually MAKE CONTACT (believe it or not, that little tidbit is a requisite skill in attempting to hit a baseball), they might want to consider Tim Locastro. They owe the kid his shot after teasing him during the last few days of the season. What a story that would make, huh?

        • Respect the Rivalry says:

          At approximately $3,000 per day for active roster time. . . .please tease me!
          Add whatever they’re paying him for the post-season. I’m sure MLBPA is making sure the taxi-squad guys are well compensated.
          OK, I’d like to see Locastro get his shot too. No Mike Marshall to pick him off (see Gene Washington, 1974 WS).
          I just don’t think he’s being treated all that poorly.
          Ron’s idea makes sense. I’m betting Grandy is just chomping at the bit to contribute.

  2. Snider Fan says:

    Granderson is this year’s Reddick. He’ll probably sign with the Jints next year and hit .300. But for now, let Ethier play.

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