The only time Don Mattingly has had to answer the question was on July 5, the one day this season all four outfielders were available to start.
But with Ethier expected to return to the lineup Tuesday for the start of a three-game series in San Francisco, Mattingly might have to revisit the potentially divisive issue leading up to the first playoff series of his managerial career.
"Now's not the time to make friends," Mattingly said. "Everybody wants to play and somebody's not going to be happy. You've got to try to do what's best for the whole 25."
Pacifying the players over the last six regular-season games shouldn't be a problem, as most of them could use days off. But come the first game of the Dodgers' National League division series, someone's multimillion-dollar ego will be bruised.
"However it goes, we just have to be ready and cheer your teammates on," Crawford said.
How to manage the outfield won't be the only issue Mattingly and General Manager Ned Colletti will discuss in the coming week.
Composing the 25-man playoff roster could be an even greater challenge. Some players who have been with the team the entire season could be excluded.
"There'll be guys that probably won't be happy about not being on the roster when it gets down to it," Mattingly said. "There's going to be some guys that have been around awhile and they're all involved, all competitive and all have made big contributions to what we do. But in the shorter setting, shorter number of games, days off, you go a different route."
Brandon League was signed to a three-year, $22.5-million contract last winter to be the Dodgers' closer but might not make the postseason roster.
Hard-throwing rookie Chris Withrow is another candidate. Withrow has a power arm — he has 40 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings — and can pitch multiple innings. Of his 24 appearances, 13 have been longer than an inning.
Assembling the six-man bench could also be difficult.
Backup catcher Tim Federowicz certainly will make the team, as will the fourth outfielder, whether it's Puig, Ethier, Crawford or Kemp.
Punto can play shortstop, second base and third base; Schumaker plays second base and all three outfield positions.
Young, 36, has played in two World Series, which is one of the primary reasons Colletti acquired him from the Philadelphia Phillies last month. He can back up Adrian Gonzalez at first base and Juan Uribe at third.
Gordon is the fastest player on the team and could have an impact as a late-game pinch-runner. Questions remain about his defense at shortstop, which is why he has taken ground balls at second base in recent weeks.
Van Slyke is another potential defensive liability but would offer power off the bench. He has hit seven home runs in 123 at-bats.
The odd man out could be Hairston, who won a World Series with the New York Yankees in 2009. Hairston, 37, is hitting .215, including .150 since the All-Star break.
"I think everybody knows what's at stake," Mattingly said. "And I think you're hoping that no matter who the choice is that day, that everybody's in for the win. You hope that it's not about them at this point."
Times staff writer Kevin Baxter contributed to this report.