The Los Angeles Dodgers reconstructed their outfield this offseason by trading Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig while signing former Arizona Diamondbacks stalwart A.J. Pollock in free agency.
The addition of Pollock, who is viewed by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts as the club’s everyday center fielder, figures to have implications on a number of players across the roster.
Perhaps no more than Cody Bellinger, who took on an increased role in the outfield last season. But given his defensive versatility, Roberts still expects the unanimous 2017 National League Rookie of the Year to receive plenty of opportunities going forward.
“Pollock is going to get the lion’s share in center field,” Roberts reiterated. “With Cody, I expect him to log the most plate appearances (on the team) this year. Where that is, I’ll have that conversation with Cody.
“He’s a young, versatile, athletic player that gives you good at-bats and is productive offensively. Defensively, he’s very talented. The priority for us, and I know this, when he’s in the lineup he makes us better.”
Bellinger appeared in 162 of the Dodgers’ 163 regular season games during the 2018 season, which easily marked a career high. He did so while playing at four different positions, splitting time at first base and all three outfield spots.
Indications thus far point to Bellinger receiving the bulk of his playing time in right field. Despite being a natural first baseman, Bellinger is confident in his ability to play defense that would garner him a Gold Glove Award at multiple positions.