Mailbag #31: Julio Urias innings limit, Yasiel Puig plan, Trevor Oaks comp

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Some of these questions are a few weeks old, but they were still pertinent.

Michael Lee: I tweeted this to Chad earlier today? Does Urias still have a 120 inning cap? He’s at 109 now. Scott Boras’ past history with Strasburg and Harvey beckons the question if Boras is going to ask for a shutdown of Urias.

A lot to unpack here. First, did you tweet this to Chad? Second, there hasn’t really been an official innings limit issued by the coaching staff and/or front office, but 120 is a logical number, seeing as Julio Urias threw 80 1/3 innings last season. He’s in uncharted waters. This is a completely different situation from Stephen Strasburg and Matt Harvey.

  1. Both of those guys were considerably older when they were shut down (Strasburg 23, Harvey 26)
  2. Both of those guys were coming off Tommy John surgery

Urias is healthy. Giving him the best chance to be healthy the rest of this season, next season and beyond is paramount. Back in May, Scott Boras was quoted as saying he agreed with how the Dodgers were handling him this season. A lot has happened since then, but I’m sure Boras is OK with how the Dodgers are handling Urias late in the season.

Craig Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus wrote a good article about what to do with Urias going forward. I highly suggest you read it.

Jimmy C: I really admire Dave Roberts and Andrew Friedman during this period without Kershaw and all those DLs. The one thing I have against Roberts was his lack of success with Yasiel Puig. It has been well documented that Puig has had issues with work ethic and the mental aspect of the game, but I believe some of the fault lies with the manager in not working with him to fully realize his potential. Roberts goes practically blameless in this case, which the press hasn’t really picked up on. Yes, he was given almost 100 games with Roberts before he was sent down to AAA, but is 100 games enough to give up? If the Dodgers felt that Puig failed them, then it can be almost justified that Puig can feel that the Dodgers failed him, as well.

Perhaps the Dodgers didn’t provide enough support for him to fully acclimate himself. Perhaps a translator, a trainer, a guide, or I don’t know. Does he warrant being babied? I know we can’t expect to treat all players different, but sometimes each case requires special care. Heck, Bonds in SF had his own rules that the club managed by. Hideo Nomo had a translator, as most top Japanese players do nowadays. I think Puig’s issue lied with probably his ego. As a young 20-year-old, he got a big contract, was treated like a prince in his first year with his accomplishments, and with that, he probably feels that he could get by just on ability alone. Now, after injuries and pitchers eating him up, he has turned into a player that has the remains of self entitlement that doesn’t have the plate nor off-the-field discipline. Just my take and wanted to know your thoughts. Thanks!

That’s a lot of words. First, thank you. Second, Puig’s lack of success cannot be solely tied to Roberts. It’s a 2-way street, and while Puig was saying and seemingly doing the right things publicly, he actually wasn’t fully grasping everything, hence the demotion to Triple-A. It’d be nice if Roberts treated other players as he does Puig (i.e. benching them for not running out of the box), but Puig hasn’t exactly earned the benefit of the doubt, either.

The Dodgers did nothing but support Puig. They had given him every chance to succeed. Much like with Don Mattingly and his postseason records, sometimes the blame has to go on the player. Roberts has done a masterful job managing the clubhouse, and there haven’t been the leaks or the rumors about turmoil within the locker room as there had been in past years.

Barry Bonds is one of the three greatest players to ever play the game. If he had his own rules, then he had his own rules. Puig is not that kind of player and has not earned the right to have his own rules.

That said, we’ve written a ton about the Puig demotion and the reasoning behind it. It could have been handled better, but it looks like — in hindsight — it was the right call. It was, hopefully, a reality check and wake-up call for him. Now, Puig just needs to stay focused and doing the things he needs to do to succeed in the majors. There probably aren’t many managers out there better for Puig than Roberts.

Rick Boggs: What on Earth are the Dodgers doing with Puig? Keep him? Trade him? Rumors suggest both. What about the rumor about Puig coaching at first in OKC? Strange policies for this strange player. What’s up?

This was asked before the waiver trade deadline, and it turns out they were in discussions with the Brewers before the Aug. 31 deadline.

“Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network was first to report that the Brewers had claimed Puig on revocable trade waivers and engaged the Dodgers in trade talks. According to a source, one scenario would have netted the Brewers Puig and two prospects along with pitcher Brandon McCarthy, whose departing contract would have helped offset the Dodgers’ luxury tax hit for adding Braun.”

Regardless of what you think about Ryan Braun and/or Puig, this would have been a crazy trade. So, to answer the question, the Dodgers have been looking to move him, but they aren’t just going to give him up for nothing of value, as this rumor proves.

As for coaching first base, that’s standard operating procedure. Minor-league coaching staffs aren’t outfitted with as many bodies as there are in the majors, so players will sometimes coach first base. A lot of managers coach third base in the minors, too.

Drew: Would it be fair to say Trevor Oaks‘ highest upside comparison would be Brett Anderson?

That is, actually, a really good comp. Oaks has a heavy sinker that he can run up into the mid-90s, but it sits more in the low-90s. This is a jump from last season when he worked more in the high-80s to low-90s with it. He doesn’t have a great breaking pitch, and neither does Anderson. Oaks also isn’t Brandon Webb or even Derek Lowe, so I think Anderson is actually a great comp.

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That’s it for now. If you ask the questions, we promise to make a better effort to answer them.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He does contracts and depth charts for FanGraphs and is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a one-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, California, and has yet to be shot.