If I had a nickel for every Dodger reliever that might make the opening day squad, well I would have about 70 cents. I still would not be a rich man though. However there remains a lot of relievers still alive for an opening day active roster spot in the Dodger’s Major League spring camp.
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Fourteen to be exact. I think we can safely assume that left hander J.P. Howell is making the club, as is right hander Chris Hatcher. Beyond that we have no idea what the bullpen will look like a week from now on April 6, at Dodger Stadium.
If you are trying to keep track of this, you might have better luck with your taxes this season. Of the 14 hurlers, some of them have options, some don’t, and some of them have opt-out clauses. Which ones have which, and which have both can get a bit confusing.
Nine of them are on the 40-man roster. That list includes, Yimi Garcia, Paco Rodriguez, Pedro Baez, Adam LIberatore, Chris Hatcher, J.P. Howell, Dustin McGowan, Juan Nicasio, and Joel Peralta. Of those guys, only four (Garcia, Paco, Baez, and Liberatore) have options to be sent down. The other five (Hatcher, Howell, McGowan, Nicasio, and Peralta) are all out of options. That means unless they make the opening day club, the Dodgers will have to release them, or place them on waivers. Only if nobody else claims them, would the Dodgers be allowed to send them down to the minors.
Call to the Pen
The rest of the pitchers (Sergio Santos, David Huff, Mike Adams, David Aardsma, and Chad Guadin), are not on the 40-man roster. That means roster space would have to be cleared in order for any of those guys to be added. Of those five relievers, four of them (Huff, Santos, Aardsma, and Adams) have opt-out clauses in their contracts.
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Remember, Liberatore, and Gaudin have been hurt. With Hyun-jin Ryu’s spot not needed until April 14, the club could conceivably carry an extra reliever, or an extra position player. Although Don Mattingly has hinted (Hello Kiki Hernandez) that he would probably carry an extra position player.
The question is who do you think the Dodgers will use as closer this year? Kenley Jansen is not expected to return until early May. Until then, who do you think should pitch the ninth inning? Better question, who do you think the Dodgers will choose to pitch the ninth innings? Cast your vote above!