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Inbox: Room in infield to re-sign Machado?

Beat reporter Ken Gurnick answers Dodgers fans' questions
MLB.com @kengurnick

I know that the Dodgers' front office said that they were not interested in signing Manny Machado, but do you think that there is a chance for him to be here long term?
-- Glenn Munoz via Twitter (@GlennMunoz6)

I haven't heard anybody from the Dodgers say the club isn't interested in re-signing Machado, but the hurdles are obvious. First, money. Second, Corey Seager. Third, money. Fourth, performance. This front office prefers to watch other clubs sign players to nine-figure windfalls. Nonetheless, if any player would tempt an exception, it would be somebody young like the 26-year-old Machado, who can impact games at the plate and in the field, at multiple positions.

I know that the Dodgers' front office said that they were not interested in signing Manny Machado, but do you think that there is a chance for him to be here long term?
-- Glenn Munoz via Twitter (@GlennMunoz6)

I haven't heard anybody from the Dodgers say the club isn't interested in re-signing Machado, but the hurdles are obvious. First, money. Second, Corey Seager. Third, money. Fourth, performance. This front office prefers to watch other clubs sign players to nine-figure windfalls. Nonetheless, if any player would tempt an exception, it would be somebody young like the 26-year-old Machado, who can impact games at the plate and in the field, at multiple positions.

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Still, it's hard to imagine there being room in this infield for Machado, Seager and Justin Turner, especially with Machado wanting to play shortstop, unless Turner moves to first base, Seager moves to third base and Cody Bellinger becomes a full-time outfielder. Then there's Machado's performance. So far, in a small sample, Machado has been productive, but he hasn't duplicated his Baltimore numbers or approached the impact the other Manny (Ramirez) made when he turned a Deadline trade into a new Dodgers contract under a different ownership.

How intense is a simulated game? Who calls the pitches? Is there a radar gun? How aggressive are the batters? Who is watching and evaluating?
-- James H. Lyall

There are variations, but basically, a simulated game is designed to be more intense than a bullpen session and better orchestrated than a real game. That means an inning is cut off at 15 pitches, whether there are three outs or not. Can't do that in a real game. The "up and down" -- ending an inning, sitting down for 10 minutes, then warming up again and throwing another 15 pitches -- is what pitching coach Rick Honeycutt is really looking to simulate. The pitcher calls the pitches as he would in a real game. There usually is a radar gun, especially if a pitcher is coming off an injury. Usually, the manager, pitching coach, trainers and one or more front-office reps are present. That will vary depending on whether the team is home or on the road.

Chris Taylor made the last out of a recent game and questioned a call with the ump, and manager Dave Roberts pushed him away as the game was over. Why did Roberts do that? He could not get kicked out of a game that was over. Why not question the umpire's strike zone?
-- Dale Johnson

Even if a game is over, a player can always be disciplined for disrespecting an umpire by receiving a fine or suspension. As a rule, nobody can question balls and strikes; otherwise, there would be arguments over every pitch.

How hard is it to teach position players to bunt for base hits against the shift?
-- Michael Kaiser via Twitter (@mnormankaiser)

Basically, impossible. I'm with you -- that's the game I learned to love. But it's not the one that's played today. It's a slugger's world. It's what the players get paid for and devote their training to excel. It's what analytics have convinced front offices is the best way to win. That makes it a vicious cycle not easily disrupted, barring rule changes or a dramatic philosophical renaissance. So don't hold your breath.

Why hasn't Enrique Hernandez been playing more?
-- LaPatsFan via Twitter (@BaseballEct101)

More than whom? Hernandez is fifth on the club in games played. Roberts just said he should be considered one of the Dodgers' most valuable players. Hernandez is an ideal National League utility man on a club that values utility greatly. In some ways, he's a victim of his versatility. Interestingly, although he's been known to be a killer of left-handed pitching in the past, Hernandez has had more success against right-handed pitching this season.

Crunchy or smooth peanut butter?
-- @bellayantsis

Management keeps a tight lid on such proprietary information, fearing that leaks provide opponents a competitive edge. However, clubhouse sources not authorized to discuss the situation have revealed that smooth peanut butter flies off the shelf when players are in the food room, while the coaching and support staffs definitely prefer the more sophisticated crunchy. Sources absolutely refused to discuss jelly preferences, but they confirmed that the Dodgers overwhelmingly consume steak over chicken.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers