Call up prospects! So, Yasiel Puig. Or Joc Pederson! Or call up Elian Herrera or Tony Gwynn or Matt Angle to fill the center field gap, but also DFA Luis Cruz and Ramon Hernandez and put A.J. Ellis on the disabled list and Carl Crawford too and…
…and let’s just all take a deep breath and hang on for a second here. After all the excitement around Matt Kemp heading to the disabled list yesterday and various kinds of speculation on who might replace him, my best guess for what is going to happen today is this:
That isn’t inside info or anything other than my own semi-informed speculation, and it won’t make very many happy, because it will mean that either Andre Ethier or Skip Schumaker has to man the spacious center field in Denver tonight. (And if Crawford, who is sore from making a phenomenal catch last night, can’t go, we’re in for yet another hilarious outfield combination.)
It’s just the way the pieces seem to be falling into place. Many, like Jon Heyman of CBS, are pushing for Puig to be called up today. But doing that after a single game in center field seems more than a little premature, and it isn’t going to happen today anyway since he was still with the Lookouts in Mobile, AL as of this morning. No word on if Pederson still is, but he did end up entering last night’s game after all, meaning that the throwaway joke I had made about manager Jody Reed being the biggest troll in the world is more or less true. (Yes, that’s the same Jody Reed who was indirectly responsible for the ill-fated trade that sent Pedro Martinez out of town for Delino DeShields two decades ago. Best guy.)
It really seems more than likely that the team is planning to have Puig play center this weekend and potentially join the team when they return to Los Angeles on Monday — again, just speculation — and so that would mean the Dodgers have a three-game set in Colorado to cover without him. But we’ve heard nothing about Tony Gwynn being on the move (he played for Albuquerque last night), and Elian Herrera was moved to the temporarily inactive list by the Isotopes, which is similar to the bereavement list, so we don’t know what’s happening there.
What’s complicating all this somewhat is the status of Ellis, since his oblique strain is an unexpected wrench in the mix. The team seems hesitant to disable him, preferring instead to give him a day or two to attempt to recover. If you call up Gwynn now, not only do you add him to the 40-man roster, you have to either prematurely disable Ellis or designate Luis Cruz for assignment. Neither seems very likely at this point, and don’t forget that yet another move is in the works when Hanley Ramirez is activated, maybe as soon as Monday.
So yes, if you’ve read between the lines there, Monday could potentially feature both Puig & Ramirez in the lineup. (If everything falls into place, which it very well may not.) But unless there’s a substantial change in the health status of Ellis or Crawford, it seems unlikely help is coming this weekend, and that’s going to make for some very interesting lineups. Fortunately, the Rockies are starting righties Jon Garland and Jhoulys Chacin the next two nights, so that might at least give Don Mattingly reason to have Schumaker in center rather than Ethier. Say this, at least: the next few days are not going to be boring.