Now that we know the roster headed into spring, here are the battles that need to be decided in the next 30 or so days. LAD front office said they would probably start the year with 12 pitchers and 13 position players.
Position player locks – Adrian, Forsythe, Seager, Turner, Grandal, Puig, Joc, Barnes, Chase, and Gutierrez. That is ten leaving three slots available between Adrian, Toles, SVS, Taylor, Culberson, Hernandez, Thompson, Sweeney, and Segedin.
Pitching Locks – Kershaw, Maeda, Hill, Jansen, Romo, Baez. Leaving six options between Wood, Kazmir, McCarthy, Ryu, Stewart, Stripling, Dayton, Avilan, Liberatore, Fields, Hatcher, Ravin, and Morrow
Main position battle:
Who plays in LF against RHP?- Andre or Toles? I’m assuming Franklyn Gutierrez is the man against left-hand pitching. My initial guess is Andre with Toles headed to AAA but…..that would leave the Dodgers with only Chase as a left-handed option on the bench. Hmmm
Main rotation battle:
Who is the fourth and fifth starter to begin the season? – I’m going with the assumption that Urias is held back to keep his arm fresh for the later stages of the season. It is a tactic that baseball should have used long ago. This leaves Wood / McCarthy / Kazmir / Ryu / Stewart/Stripling fighting for two spots. My initial guess would be Kazmir gets traded, McCarthy and Ryu win the spots, Wood to the bullpen, Stewart and Stripling to AAA. I also expect Ryu to eventually get released and either replaced by Wood or Urias.
If Toles doesn’t win the platoon option against right-hand pitching does he strengthen the bench or head to AAA? The fact he’s left handed might keep him in the majors, but the fact he’s a highly regarded prospect might get him in AAA to play every day.
If Andre doesn’t win the platoon option does he stay as an expensive bench or get traded? I would guess they keep him being the only other left handed corner outfielder besides Toles.
Does SVS make the team as the backup 1st baseman, backup outfielder? Probably, but maybe only until Trayce Thompson proves he’s 100% healthy.
Which one of Chris Taylor, Charlie Culberson, Enrique Hernandez will make the team? I’d guess Hernandez makes the team with Taylor and Culberson headed back to AAA
Fields or Hatcher? I’m going with Fields which may mean losing Hatcher.
Avilan or Liberatore – I’m going with Avilan only because he’s out of options. It is possible that Avilan and Liberatore make the team with Dayton headed to AAA but I hope Dayton shows this spring why he was a 2016 monster.
If Alex Wood does not make the starting rotation does he head to the bullpen or to AAA to stay stretched out as a starter – I think Wood will make an excellent bullpen arm but I could also see the value of keeping him stretched out though that might be negated by the mental blow of being sent to AAA. I don’t have a good read on this. I’d love Wood to blow everyone away and make the rotation but that would mean Ryu sucked and I’m not sure I want to wish that either.
Dark Horse Battle:
Can Cody Bellinger win the starting left field job? he’s probably better than either option right now but to start the season he pretty much has to start in AAA unless injuries or mental breakdowns strike down Andre/Toles. Given one outfield option missed most of 2016 to injury and the other missed 2015 because he didn’t want to play it is in the realm of possibility.
Could this be the opening day roster?
Adrian, Forsythe, Seager, Turner, Grandal, Puig, Joc, Barnes, Chase, Gutierrez, Adrian, SVS, and Hernandez. Toles/ Sweeney/ Segedin head to AAA. Thompson goes on DL.
Kershaw, Maeda, Hill, McCarthy, Ryu, Jansen, Romo, Baez, Wood, Dayton, Avilan, and Fields. Stewart/Stripling/Liberatore/Ravin/Morrow to AAA, Hatcher released.
What do you think?