Dodgers @ Giants April 21, 2015: How To Use Depth

So one of the things I’ve been big on in the months ever since the new front office took over has been the small things, the little moves that aren’t flashy and won’t sell tickets, but improve depth or help in some tiny way for little cost, all things the previous regime didn’t do.

Dodgers
Giants
7:15 p.m.
San Francisco, Ca.
SS
Rollins
LF
Aoki
RF
Puig
2B
Panik
1B
Gonzalez
CF
Pagan
2B
Kendrick
1B
Posey
C
Grandal
3B
McGehee
LF
Crawford
C
Susac
3B
Uribe
RF
Maxwell
CF
Pederson
SS
Crawford
P
Anderson (L)
P
Lincecum (R)

When the Dodgers traded for handsome American male Chris Heisey in December, many fans were confused, wondering why a team with too many outfielders would trade a homegrown pitcher in Matt Magill for another outfielder. But really, it made sense immediately. Heisey had options and could play center in an organization that had only one center fielder. Magill wasn’t really all that useful and wouldn’t be missed. If Joc Pederson was injured or flopped, having a center field option that wasn’t Andre Ethier (or sliding Yasiel Puig back over) would be vital.

Today, we’re starting to understand just how far the front office will go for those small edges, as Heisey appeared in San Francisco in preparation to start on Wednesday, despite openly admitting he didn’t know why. As soon as we learned that Puig was starting tonight and wouldn’t end up on the disabled list, the reasoning became clear. Pederson’s been a smashing success so far, but he’s also started every game. (He’s back in tonight, against Tim Lincecum.) Though he’s young — just 23 today, actually — you still need to keep him fresh for the long season.

So with the need for a fifth starter looming for Thursday’s matinee, we get to see the depth and genius at work. Rather than just wait until Thursday to make a move for (most likely) Mike Bolsinger, they can roll with 8 relievers tonight, option out Adam Liberatore (probably, because he was the last man in and Yimi Garcia & Pedro Baez have done nothing but impress) to get Heisey onto the roster and into the lineup against lefty Madison Bumgarner, then send Heisey out on Thursday for Bolsinger.

After that, you could do anything. Hang on to Bolsinger as a long man. Bring up a 40-man bench piece, like Enrique Hernandez. Get that eighth reliever back, maybe Daniel Coulombe. This can all be done without any DFA’ing necessary. A 25-man roster is a limit only if you choose to see it that way, or if you don’t have more than 25 players with actual talent. We’ve seen that, far too often. This is better. This is so much better.

* * *

So all of that and I didn’t even really talk about tonight’s game, which is Brett Anderson against Lincecum, and the notable item here is indeed that Puig is back in the lineup, which hopefully means that the hamstring isn’t serious. I always prefer caution on these things, particularly early in the season, but that just never seems to happen. Here’s to hoping that he’s not rushing back. It should be noted, by the way, that even though the Giants are off to a pretty awful start, it’s far too early to count them out. They’ve earned that over the last half-decade, wouldn’t you say?

ThrowsRelieverSat 10/15Sun 10/16Mon 10/17Tue 10/18Wed 10/19Thur 10/20Fri 10/21
LAvilan--OFF-2421OFF
RBaez34-OFF-2727OFF
RBlanton28-OFF13-19OFF
LDayton3-OFF16-12OFF
RFields--OFF-910OFF
RJansen-18OFF21--OFF
RStripling10-OFF-2018OFF
LWood--OFF-32-OFF

About Mike Petriello

Mike Petriello

Mike writes about lots of baseball in lots of places, and right now that place is MLB.com.