How Every MLB World Series Hopeful in 2024 Can Solve Its Biggest Problem


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Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Biggest Problem: Corner Outfield Defense
As we all well know, the actual biggest problem for the Dodgers is surviving the NLDS after being doggone good for six months.
But something we could try to actually fix is their outfield defense, at least late in games.
Similar to the Phillies for much of last season—when Bryce Harper could only DH, leaving them with no choice but to trot Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos out to LF and RF on a regular basis—there’s only so much roster-doctoring we can do with the lineup with Shohei Ohtani locked in as the designated hitter.
They’re practically stuck with Teoscar Hernández in left and the platoon of Jason Heyward and Manuel Margot in right while James Outman patrols center.
The problem with that is Hernández has never been a good outfielder, worth negative-4.9 dWAR over the course of his career. Margot’s outfield defense has been OK at best over the past two years. And while Heyward used to be an elite outfielder, neither his range nor his cannon are what they used to be.
Simply put, they need a regular defensive replacement on the roster.
What they could do is just slide Mookie Betts out there late in games, letting Chris Taylor, Miguel Vargas or Miguel Rojas sub in at second base. But do they really want to keep messing with Betts on defense?
Taylor could also sub out there, but his outfield defense isn’t that much of an upgrade.
The better solution would be to sign Michael A. Taylor—a Gold Glove recipient two years ago who has always had excellent range, as well as a guy with enough pop in his bat (21 HR in 2023) to be used as a pinch hitter and the occasional starter in any of the three spots, affording Outman the periodic night off.


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