While the Los Angeles Dodgers did not acquire a star reliever like Felipe Vazquez at the 2019 MLB trade deadline, they still made a flurry of small moves.
Most of their activity prior to and on deadline day centered around acquiring bench players such as Tyler White, Khristopher Negrón and Jedd Gyorko, in the wake of injuries to Chris Taylor, Kiké Hernandez and David Freese.
Hernandez and Taylor are out for extended periods with respective hand and forearm injuries. Freese, meanwhile, has only played 10 games since June 20 due to foot and hamstring issues.
It appears he will not be taking the field at Dodger Stadium any time soon, either.
“The goal for David is with the postseason, getting him healthy and keeping him healthy,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “So I don’t know where he’s at. I think it’s more end of August, maybe even Sept. 1. We’re going to let him kind of drive his rehab.”
Freese has become an instrumental part of the Dodgers’ lineup after arriving via a now-defunct August waivers trade in 2018. He’s split time at first base with Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger.
Freese batted .385/.489/.641 down the stretch with the Dodgers last year and was one of the team’s best hitters in the postseason.
In his first full season with the Dodgers, Freese has remained very effective when healthy, hitting .300/.399/.579 in 163 plate appearances.
At one point, Roberts had envisioned Freese in a first base platoon with Joc Pederson during the season’s second half. However, Pederson struggled to adjust defensively and fell into a slump at the plate, forcing the Dodgers to pull the plug on the experiment at first base.
For the next few weeks, Roberts will likely cycle between White and Bellinger at first base, with Muncy and Matt Beaty also getting some time there. Muncy has been used more at second base recently while Bellinger figures to alternate between first base and right field.
Bellinger was primarily a first baseman in his rookie season but mainly played center field in 2018. He shifted to right field to begin 2019 after the Dodgers traded Yasiel Puig and signed A.J. Pollock last winter.
The Dodgers shifted between Muncy and Freese at first base to begin the 2019 season but several factors affected that pairing even before Freese’s latest injury, including Muncy’s success against left-handed pitching and Beaty’s impressive rookie season.