Dodgers: It’s Not All Young Guns for Dave Roberts and the LA Roster

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pushes back a little bit on the phrase “youth movement,” reminding everyone there is still an impressive veteran core in LA.

Shortly after the Dodgers’ season abruptly ended three weeks early last October, LA president of baseball operations floated the idea of a youth movement coming to Los Angeles. He didn’t name any names, and he didn’t even necessarily say it was going to happen, but he acknowledged the reality that a great farm system has to eventually turn out big leaguers.

“We have a number of really talented minor-league players right now at the upper levels, and part of our focus this offseason will how many to look to integrate early in the year and how many of them will kind of serve as depth throughout the year, get some experience, and then be part of the core going forward.”

A couple weeks later, CEO Stan Kasten reiterated that in slightly different terms.

“Earlier in the last decade, we had a wave of young guys who were going to be real contributors. We think we are now on the precipice of the next wave of young guys. We need to make room to allow that to happen.”

The Dodgers lost about ten players in free agency, and they only signed three major-league free agents to replace them, so we can kind of see that youth movement taking shape. LA manager Dave Roberts was making pizzas on Thursday as part of the “Dodgers Love LA Community Tour,” and Doug McKain of Dodgers Nation asked Doc how excited he is for the youth movement.

“It’s exciting. You know, to lose guys like Justin Turner who was a stalwart — who was an extension of me and the coaches — to lose a veteran player like Trea Turner, obviously we’re going to miss those guys. But, Gavin Lux is a young player, he’s been around. So he’s just going to get more opportunity at shortstop, which is great. Miguel Vargas, he’s been in the system, he’s a Dodger farmhand, baseball is in his blood. I can’t wait to see him get an opportunity to perform.

“We saw a little bit of James Outman last year. Outside of the great hair that he’s got, he’s got a great swing and can really dominate center field. So he’s going to get an opportunity. Dustin May, he’s a guy that Dodger fans have heard about for the last four or five years, he’s still a young player but he’s seasoned and he’s healthy.”

Still, Roberts pushed back on the term “youth movement,” pointing out that while there are several young guys slated for big roles, there’s still quite an impressive veteran core.

“So, I think that the ‘youth movement’ might be a little aggressive. We’ve still got our anchors with Mookie (Betts), Freddie (Freeman), Max Muncy, Will Smith, Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias. The goal is to still win a championship.”

It’s true that the Dodgers will miss some of the guys they lost this offseason. Justin Turner was a team leader, and Trea Turner did a lot to make the offense go. Tyler Anderson was outstanding, and Andrew Heaney was really good at times. But they still have a very good core, and the young players coming up are expected to be pretty darn good.

It’s hard to have a youth movement and a great team at the same time, but it’s hard to have a top farm system and a great team at the same time, too, and the Dodgers have somehow pulled that off several years in a row now. Coming off a 111-win season, everything will be magnified this year, but like Roberts said, the goal is still to win a championship, and it’s not an unrealistic goal.

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