The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Chicago Cubs in five games to advance to the World Series without Corey Seager. His replacement, Charlie Culberson, made his case for the World Series roster.
The world was spinning for fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers before the NLCS. In what was supposed to be the Dodgers year, the team lost one of their biggest weapons to injury; Corey Seager. Seager was the heart of the lineup at the two spot all seasons. Without him, Los Angeles looked to be in serious trouble.
Yet, as we all know, the Dodgers made quick work of the Chicago Cubs and defeated them in five games. The last game, game five, was the perfect culmination of a 29-year Pennant chase; an 11-1 victory with an unlikely hero in Enrique Hernandez.
Things are looking a lot better for the Dodgers now. Seager is expected to make his return to the starting lineup for game one of the World Series. Of course, this closes up a roster spot that was freed up for his replacement, Charlie Culberson.
However, Culberson proved that he belongs on this Dodgers team. Culberson made his case for the World Series roster but that would then merit removing another talent.
First things first: Culberson’s performance. Culberson batted .455 in the NLCS, 5-11, with a double, triple, one RBI and two runs scored. For someone that needed to emulate Corey Seager, Culberson did more than enough in his three games started.
However, the often overlooked factor of bringing someone on a roster is defense. Culberson is a better defensive shortstop than Seager, although Seager can hold his own. But still, Culberson is the perfect glove to bring into the field in a close game in the bottom of the ninth to ensure smooth sailing.
But, perhaps the most important factor of keeping Culberson on the roster, is indeed his right-handed hitting bat. Los Angeles has no viable right-handed hitting options off of the bench. Kyle Farmer, Enrique Hernandez, Logan Forsythe or a switch-hitting Yasmani Grandal are the Dodgers’ options, depending on the lineup.
When the opposition is fielding a left-handed pitcher, the only option off the bench is indeed Farmer; who only has six big league hits. At the very least, Culberson gives more depth.
So, who should the Dodgers remove? Realistically, there are four different paths the Dodgers can go down. Ross Stripling, Joc Pederson, Chase Utley and Curtis Granderson all could be at risk of missing out on the World Series roster.
Should Stripling get removed from the roster it should only be to bring on another bullpen arm. The Dodgers ran with 11 pitchers in the NLCS, and although they were dominating, this is cutting it pretty close. Anything less than 11 is unacceptable.
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Curtis Granderson and Joc Pederson provide two of the same; two looping left-handed bats with power potential. However, Pederson did have a key double for the Dodgers in game three and is a better fielder than Granderson. Granderson, on the other hand, went 0-7 in the NLCS with four strikeouts.
This boils it down to two men; Curtis Granderson and Chase Utley. If we are completely being honest here, I would not care to see either guy off of the roster. As much as I love Utley, his veteran presence alone is not enough to keep him on the roster.
The production of both men is horrible. Combined, the duo is 1-24 with 12 strikeouts this postseason. For a Dodgers offense that has been so red-hot, this is a huge gap.
Culberson brings everything Utley brings minus the veteran experience. He has a great glove and fantastic arm and would make for the perfect late game sub at second base. While this would take away the righty-lefty platoon at second, it would give the Dodgers another right-handed bat off the bench.
Currently, the team has plenty of left-handers to bring on when a southpaw pitches. Andre Ethier, Joc Pederson, Curtis Granderson, Chase Utley and Yasmani Grandal all can give the Dodgers that. They will be just fine without one of them.
However, at the bottom of our hearts, we all know the answer to this question. Los Angeles should remove Curtis Granderson from the World Series roster. The team went 17-24 after trading for Granderson in August. Quite frankly, he has not done anything to warrant a roster spot.
Charlie Culberson, hopefully the Dodgers will welcome you on the World Series roster. If not, well, it is a massive mistake by the Boys in Blue.