If you’re stuck on the stomachs of Joc Pederson, Ross Stripling and Yasiel Puig for an extended period, the front office has some soothing words of assurance from General Manager Farhan Zaidi.
To dispel anxiety, the Dodgers organization on Monday assured reporters that all three players, who were included in trades at the winter meetings, were still members of the team for 2020. That’s plenty of time for Freeway Series against the Angels.
In December, Pederson was moved from left field to center field, which isn’t the most inviting position for a player who is 26 years old and in his fifth big league season. On Jan. 16, he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for pitcher Zander Wiel and infielder Peter O’Brien. A few days later, Stripling was traded to the New York Yankees in a package for third baseman Miguel Andujar and minor league pitcher Rayan Gonzalez. On Sunday, Shohei Ohtani was moved to the Angels for outfielder Justin Upton and shortstop Corey Seager.
Then there’s Puig, who has not exactly been a model of consistency and outbursts for the past two seasons. He was traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Chicago Cubs during the 2014-15 offseason.
“The roster took a little bit of a hit because of these moves, but you can’t look at any one move and say: ‘Oh, this player is gone.’ How can you look at those three players? You don’t. No one is going to walk in your door and say: ‘Oh, I hate it with the new manager and the new manager doesn’t like him.’
“It’s not real. They’re not going anywhere. If you start talking about it and create those stories, we could create another reason. No one’s going anywhere.”
The Dodgers went through the Mays and Mays and Moos eras with Manny Ramirez, then went through the Cashman and Howard eras with Juan Pierre, then went through the Don Mattingly era with Yasiel Puig.
Pederson is a power hitter with high strikeout totals, but Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts likes his game.
“A guy with power is really hard to find,” Roberts said. “I love the way he plays. He’s fearless and plays extremely hard. That’s infectious with young players. I think that’s why a lot of guys play hard.”
Stripling had a bad offseason. He had Tommy John surgery before he could even begin his throwing program. But he’s learning to add in an off-speed pitch. He went 1-2 with a 5.17 earned-run average with the Yankees.
“Ross Stripling’s not your typical No. 2 starter, and I’m sure you can see the talent he has,” Zaidi said. “From what we’ve seen so far, he’s a guy that will flourish in this ballpark and in this pitching environment. And I think he’s a guy that we’re really excited about.
“Stripling has performed exceptionally well, not just this year but the last two. I think he can go really deep into games as a pitcher. We like his left-handed side-of-the-ball weapon. We think his changeup has a chance to get really good. And then he’s got his slider and his cutter. There’s a lot of upside with him.”
And what about Puig?
“I think Puig certainly has room to grow,” Zaidi said. “The most important thing for him is that he continues to find his role. He’s going to be asked to play a valuable role for us, and I think he’s going to deliver for us again.”
Getting players out of places like Arizona and New York and the Bronx is a daunting task, but it usually ends with a great trade for a player like Pederson or Stripling.
Zaidi said there are ways for the Dodgers to add players from other organizations. There’s no limit on how many players can be acquired or dealt for.
“The front office is certainly focused on adding the best players that we can to improve the team,” he said. “You can never get enough pitching, and you can never get enough power.
“These guys play the game and they’re going to compete. Every situation is different. As far as our conversations with other