The Los Angeles Dodgers have placed an emphasis on versatility throughout their active roster and organization as a whole since president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman took over in October 2014.
That focus has been personified by former utilityman Kiké Hernández, who is now with the Boston Red Sox, and Chris Taylor — who was re-signed to a four-year contract prior to MLB imposing a lockout.
For Friedman, it goes back to his time as the general manager of the Tampa Bay Rays when he had Ben Zobrist, who helped make the role popular and showed just how valuable it can be. Zobrist is widely considered the first star-utility man.
However, while MLB teams see the value in star utility players, the league has yet to fully recognize their impact when it comes time to vote for awards, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts wants to see that changed.
“I think where baseball gets a lot right, I think in some things we’re just too slow-moving when you’re talking about Gold Gloves or All-Star selections,” Roberts said when asked if there should be a better way to recognize utility players for awards.
“The industry itself has valued versatility, but for now, players aren’t getting compensated for versatility on the defensive side, and they’re not getting recognized by the league. So I think we’ve got to make adjustments.”
One simple way MLB could recognize such players more is by making the role a position on the All-Star Game rosters and allowing fans to vote for utilitymen, along with giving away a Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger Award specifically to them.
MLB already does a similar thing for designated hitters as they have a locked-in spot on the American League All-Star Game ballot and one receives a Silver Slugger every year.
Three Dodgers received NL MVP Award Votes
The Dodgers remained shut out in the 2021 Baseball Writers’ Association of America Awards, but did have Trea Turner, Max Muncy and Max Scherzer appear on the final ballot for National League MVP, which went to the Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper.
Turner was the highest of the trio, garnering one first-place vote, three second-place votes, and three third-place votes. He finished in fifth place with 185 total points.
Muncy received one sixth-place vote, three for seventh place, one eighth-place vote, and six votes apiece for ninth and 10th place. He finished 10th overall in NL MVP voting with 38 total points
Scherzer received one vote each for fifth, eighth and ninth place. That amounted to 11 points and ranking 14 overall.
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