The Dodgers got serious this weekend

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Updated: June 5, 2016

The question: How long can the Dodgers go with underperforming hitters dotting their lineup and guys hitting under .240 in the three-hole?

The answer: until right about now.

This weekend, the Dodgers made two personnel moves and a few lineup shifts that completed the chapter on a few players and pointed toward rewarding early-season success and moving on from players who no longer could contribute — even in providing depth.

Guerrerosmall

Alex Guerrero got straight DFA’d. The Dodgers swallowed almost $50 million over the past week, and it was totally the right choice. By Owen Main

Last week, the team announced it was designating Alex Guerrero for assignment. Guerrero, whose bat showed some promise at the beginning of 2015, could never find a defensive position. Guerrero’s contract guaranteed him $28 million, of which probably less than half is still owed. At this point, the team essentially would rather have him out of their organization than to try to help him continue to improve. In 16 games in the minors this season, the 29 year-old hit just .136 with a single home run, 14 strikeouts and two walks in 68 plate appearances spread between three levels.

The remaining financial commitment to Carl Crawford, who they designated today for assignment, is more substantial. A 14 year veteran, Crawford is still owed about $35 million. But this season has been tough for the 35 year-old. He his just .185 in 30 games and his OPS+ stands at 30. To contextualize that, a 100 is average and anything below 75 is considered poor. Again, Crawford’s was 30 this season with the Dodgers. It’s hard to say a guy who is almost exactly my age is over the hill, but it was time for CC to move on.

On the same day the team made the Crawford move, Trayce Thompson batted third and played right field. I don’t believe Thompson is likely to be a long-term option at that lineup spot, but finally — FINALLY — the Dodgers didn’t have somebody hitting under .225 in that role. Finally, Dave Roberts and co. seem to be placing some import on what players have done so far this year. After all, we are about a third of the way through the 2016 season.

Guys who were struggling also had a nice weekend feasting on Braves pitching. Yasmani Grandal hit a home run, Howie Kendrick’s bat looks good, and Justin Turner had a few hits on Saturday night before he got a day off on Sunday — a proven recipe to keep him on-track. Scott Van Slyke is off the DL, and there’s hope that Yasiel Puig can find some semblance of his stroke while on the 15 day disabled list. Cal Poly grad Casey Fien has done a fine job in Dodger blue so far. Maybe he can be a long-term solution in middle relief.

As if that weren’t enough, Brett Anderson is well into his rehab… .

Stay sweaty, Brett.

Any way you look at it, this season is starting to look up. It’s nice to have enough depth to replace an outfielder you hoped could help. It’s nice to be able to swallow almost $50 million for two guys who aren’t helping you. Letting things play out with Crawford and Guerrero won’t hurt the Dodgers’ chances this season. They’re 3 1/2  or 4 games behind the Giants with over 100 games to play. Sounds doable.

 

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