Dodger spring training is well underway with all of the players already reported and accounted for. All of the Dodgers are present except for outfielder Andrew Toles. The Dodgers recently announced that Toles would not be arriving to Glendale because of some kind of personal matter. Reports indicate that nobody knows if and when Toles will show up to spring training. This makes me wonder if this could be the end of Andrew Toles’ Dodger career?
I hope Toles is ok and it’s none of our business what type of personal matter he has to attend to. I wish him well and hope that he’s ok, wherever he is. There has been another question that has crossed my mind. Does Toles have a place on the 2019 Dodgers roster? Perhaps the Dodgers should flip him to another team that can give him some regular playing time.
The Dodgers are not in the position to do that. He’s blocked at all three outfield spots. Newly signed A.J. Pollock will be manning center field. Cody Bellinger will patrol in right field, while left field will likely be some kind of platoon between Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo, Enrique Hernandez, and or Chris Taylor, when Taylor and Hernandez are not playing other positions. Or the Dodgers could possibly even acquire somebody from outside the organization before spring training ends to play left field. My opinion is I would love to see Verdugo get the lion’s share of playing time in left field anyways.
Time will tell how that will work out, but it’s always been my observation that not only do the Dodgers not think much of Toles, but his ceiling seems to be of a fourth or fifth outfielder. Again I like Toles, but there are other better, more productive and more experienced players that will be getting the regular playing time. This is just the way it is. That’s baseball folks and poor Toles is kind of the odd man out.
Toles has never really been given the chance to play on a regular basis. I’m sure that he would probably put up consistent numbers if given the chance, but he won’t get that with the Dodgers. To be fair to management, we’ve seen his numbers decline over the past two seasons. After Toles went from bagging groceries and general obscurity to slashing .314/.365./.505 with 3 home runs and a 132 OPS+ in 115 plate appearances in 2016 it appeared that he was making his mark with the Dodgers.
But after only 31 games and 102 plate appearances in 2017 Toles tore his knee while diving for a ball in Dodger Stadium left field and was never the same since then. The 2018 season saw him bat just .233 while going 7 for 30 in 32 plate appearances. He was never able to regain that momentum.
With Toles out indefinitely the Dodgers will have an extra roster spot available for a right handed hitting player who can roam the outfield. Perhaps one of their non-roster guys can step up and surprise us. Until then it’s possible that we may have seen the last of Andrew Toles for a long time or possibly forever. We won’t forget his .462 performance in the 2016 NLCS. That’s the Andrew Toles we’ve known and respected. Here’s hoping Toles makes his way back to Dodger Stadium somehow, and the Dodgers find a place for him.