Looking to further bolster their bench for the stretch run, the Los Angeles Dodgers completed a last-minute deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates that netted veteran infielder David Freese just prior to the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline.
The 2011 World Series MVP was immediately incorporated as the club’s starting first baseman against left-handed pitching, an area in which the Dodgers have struggled with for the better part of the season.
In a small sample size, Freese has been everything and more when facing the opposite split. That was again evident in Monday’s opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field, when the 35-year-old delivered a pair of RBI-hits against left-hander Robbie Ray.
While Freese has had to sacrifice some playing time since his arrival to Los Angeles, he has been understanding of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts’ platoon method.
Moreover, Freese believes he has taken advantage of his opportunities whenever called upon, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“You understand what this organization is trying to do and you get called upon to help out,” said Freese, part of the club’s right-handed-hitting platoon. “You do whatever Dave asks of you. You need to be productive and help the team, and so far, I think I’ve done a decent job of doing my thing and filling my role. This never gets easy, but we’re all professional hitters and we’re handling it pretty well.”
Freese isn’t alone in having to cope with reduced playing time. With the exceptions of Manny Machado and Justin Turner, virtually every other Dodgers player has been part of a platoon of some sort this season.
With arguably his most talented roster since becoming Dodgers manager, Dave Roberts has relied on plenty of discussions to convince his players of accepting platoon roles for the betterment of the team.
Reduced playing time or not, Freese has enjoyed a productive stint with the Dodgers. He’s batting .375/.474/.656 with four extra-base hits and eight RBI over 38 plate appearances this month.