The Dodgers’ secret sauce

ARIZONA – The Dodgers enter the season with more superstar talent than any team in Major League Baseball (MLB). But what makes this group even more special is team depth and versatility.

Manager Dave Roberts and President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman have always valued players who can play multiple positions. Chris Taylor has made a name for himself in Los Angeles doing just that.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Smashing: Kiki Hernandez goes yard on one of his two home runs against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Opening Day, March 28, 2019. The Dodgers his eight home runs in the team’s opening day victory at Dodger Stadium. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

The two latest additions to the roster during Spring Training involved enhancing flexibility, something the front office has loved during their recent stretch of NL West dominance.

With the re-signing of Kiké Hernández and the addition of Andre Lipcius, Los Angeles now once again leads the league in super-utility players.

“I think they can move everywhere,” said Dave Roberts.

Taylor made the All-Star team in 2021, moving all over the infield and outfield. Hernández can play anywhere, having seen time at every position on the diamond, excluding catcher.

Yes, he has even pitched before. Lipcius will likely start the season in the minors but will be called upon in the case of injury. Last year, he saw time at first, second, and third base and even spent some time in left field.

“I think adding Andre is just another piece of depth, where in a long season, things can happen. So, another guy that can play anywhere on the dirt and conduct an at-bat has sort of been one of our secret sauces on the position player side,” said Roberts.

Lipcius got his first crack at big-league action last year with the Detroit Tigers and had a .286 batting average in 13 games. Surprisingly, he was DFAed midway through camp before being scooped up by the Dodgers.

“I certainly know bringing Kiké back was a priority, and what CT has done for us over the last five years has been huge, so we expect Andre to fit that same mold,” said Roberts.

For Hernández, it is another chance to cement himself further as one of the all-time fan favorites in Dodger Blue. He won a World Series with the team in 2020 and is often viewed as the guy who raises team morale in the dugout and locker room while also coming up with clutch hits in monumental situations.

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts was selected as the National League Player of the Month for the month of August. Photo by Melinda Meijer/News4usonline

His game-tying home run in game seven of the 2020 NLCS will go down as one of the biggest swings in Dodgers history, and his three-home run performance to send the Dodgers to the World Series in 2017 is just another example of how he always comes through in the biggest moments.

“I feel like I am one of those players that plays better on winning teams and when a team is winning because of what I can bring to the table. In the end, it came down to Dodgers or Yankees,” said Hernández. “They were able to guarantee me to at least start against left-handed pitchers to start the year, and then from there on, anything can happen.”

When Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts, or Freddie Freeman need a day off this season, the lineup will not suffer. Another player will fill in with ease. Most teams would see a significant drop-off, but it is just business as usual for the Dodgers.

It would not be surprising for one of the utility guys in Los Angeles to be the star on any given night, as it is something they have done time and time again. The rich keep getting richer, and at this point, it really is not even fair.

Top Image Caption: LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 06: Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Chris Taylor (3) celebrates as he rounds the bases after hittting a walk-off two run home run in the 9th inning of the MLB National League Wild Card game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers on October 6, 2021 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

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