Don Mattingly and Ned Colletti have been hard at work trying to narrow down who they will choose for their postseason roster which is due Friday morning before the NLDS opener at Dodger Stadium. This year, it’s much harder to predict who they will select. Gray areas include the bench and bullpen.
You can take a look at my predictions from last year which include many of the same names we will see on the 2014 postseason roster. As I disclaimed last time around, I am no Major League manager. This is just a fun way to pretend to be the Dodger skipper for a few minutes, although I’m sure glad I’m not really the one to make some of these tough decisions. This will be Don Mattingly’s second postseason roster, and like last season I expect him to choose veterans over the young guys.
Some picks are no-brainers, while others are more difficult to pin down. There are 2 catchers, 5 outfielders, 6 infielders and 12 pitchers on my roster.
veteran, will be backing up A.J. Ellis in October.
1. A.J. Ellis
2. Drew Butera
Outfield: The outfield seems pretty set as well. With the starting trio of Crawford, Puig and Kemp, the Dodgers will have two great options off the bench with Scott Van Slyke and Andre Ethier. Ethier is versatile and can play all three outfield positions if necessary, and Scott Van Slyke can also play first base if needed. Ethier hit .290 as a pinch-hitter during the regular season, and Scott Van Slyke hit .315/.415/.630 with 8 homeruns against left-handed pitching this year.
3. Matt Kemp
4. Yasiel Puig
6. Andre Ethier
7. Scott Van Slyke
Infield: One tough decision for the Dodgers will be deciding between Darwin Barney and Miguel Rojas for that extra spot on the roster. While Barney is the better hitter than Rojas, and he has decent speed, I feel as though the nod will go to Rojas who can play a much sharper shortstop. With Hanley Ramirez‘s weak defense at short, the Dodgers need to make sure they have someone who can be placed into late inning situations in order to shore up the defense. Also, since Hanley is so injury-prone, if something should happen to him, the Dodgers can’t risk playing Barney at shortstop for any length of time during the NLDS and beyond. Barney, although a Gold Glove defensive specialist, has no postseason experience thanks to being a Cub most of his career. He has only played 21 games at shortstop since his rookie season in 2010.
9. Dee Gordon
10. Hanley Ramirez
11. Juan Uribe
12. Miguel Rojas
13. Justin Turner
Pitchers: Since the NLDS is a short series, the Dodgers can go with only four starting pitchers for the first round. Assuming Ryu is healthy
Scott Elbert over Chris Perez every time. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
enough to start, that leaves Jamey Wright as the long-relief option if needed. Ned Colletti has spoken about the importance of a long-man during the postseason, but I just don’t see him wasting a spot on Roberto Hernandez, Carlos Frias or Kevin Correia for the NLDS.
There is also no way that Brian Wilson and Brandon League are not on the roster. While they have both given us much heartburn during the season, they haven’t been that bad in totality. I will just have to close my eyes when Donnie brings in Wilson to pitch the eighth inning in a close one-run playoff game.
Three left-handers? Yes, three left-handed relievers are on my roster. While J.P. Howell is a shoe-in, I think that having both Paco Rodriguez and Scott Elbert as well could add extra options for Mattingly out of the pen. Paco has been scuffling a bit of late, but after he was glossed over last postseason, I expect him to score a spot this year. Scott Elbert has been pitching very well since returning from multiple surgeries this season. A long-tenured Dodger, Elbert should be on the roster just for posterity sake if anything (I know, I’m a bit of a sentimental, but Elbert is also very good!). He is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 7 games. He’s only allowed 1 run since returning to the mound. That’s a small sample size, but then again he’s a much better option than….Chris Perez.
Yes, I left Chris Perez off my roster in favor of the flame thrower Pedro Baez. The Dodgers gave Perez essentially the entire season to prove he could be the same All-Star pitcher he was back with Cleveland. Alas, he is no longer a threat on the mound, and he should not be trusted to pitch in the playoffs for the Dodgers. Will Don and Ned be bold enough to leave him off the roster? Perhaps.
14. Clayton Kershaw
15. Zack Greinke
16. Hyun-jin Ryu
17. Dan Haren
18. Kenley Jansen
19. Brian Wilson
20. J.P. Howell
21. Brandon League
22. Jamey Wright
23. Paco Rodriguez
24. Scott Elbert
25. Pedro Baez
Who do you think should be on the Dodgers’ postseason roster? Would you choose Darwin Barney over Miguel Rojas or Chris Perez over Pedro Baez? Let me know in the comments. This Dodger team is multi-faceted, and I think they have a great chance to knock out the Red Birds in the first round. I’m just glad I’m not the one who has to break the news to Daniel Coulombe that he will not be pitching again this season…or will he?