Dodgers Finalize 25-man Roster
By Alex Campos
With Spring Training finally in the books, the Dodgers have announced their final roster moves and locked down their 25-man roster.
The Dodgers faced more than their fair share of injuries during the spring, which led to more intrigue in their opening day 25-man roster than first assumed.
Spring injuries to Brett Anderson, Andre Ethier, Yasmani Grandal, Alex Guerrero, Howie Kendrick and Mike Bolsinger opened up spots on the roster, and following their final spring contest, the Dodgers made their decisions on the roster.
Both Grandal’s and Kendrick’s injuries appear to be minor enough, and their DL stints will be backdated to March 25th. This means they will both be eligible to return quickly, and manager Dave Roberts said earlier that he expects Grandal to be ready for the home opener on April 12th.
Louis Coleman reportedly beat out Luis Avilan for the final bullpen spot. Coleman wasn’t the most exciting signing in the world, but his past success with the Royals and a dominant spring made him a logical choice for the bullpen. He was also out of options, meaning if he didn’t make the team the Dodgers would have lost him. Avilan had a terrible spring and had options, so unless the Dodgers REALLY wanted a second lefty in the pen behind J.P. Howell, Coleman was the only option.
Injuries pushed bench players Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis into the opening day lineup, and Guerrero’s injury opened up a third spot on the bench. Charlie Culberson had an impressive spring, especially with the glove, and is the second best shortstop option on the team behind Corey Seager. Enrique Hernandez and Chase Utley could probably handle the position, but keeping Culberson around gives the Dodgers more flexibility.
A catcher injury meant another catcher would make the roster, and Austin Barnes is a great option there. Not only is he a great catching prospect that would be a starter candidate on a handful of teams, but he can also play in the infield. In a Guerrero-less world, Barnes likely would have made the roster in the first place as a supersub off the bench, but Guerrero’s contract pretty much guarantees him a roster spot. Roberts said earlier that the Dodgers would consider carrying three catchers after Grandal returns, and Barnes’ versatility allows for that to happen.
With Crawford bumped up to the lineup, Trayce Thompson figures to get a good look as the fifth outfielder. He didn’t put up great numbers in the spring, but he hit the ball hard and showed off his athleticism. An outfield with Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson and Thompson would be in the conversation for the most athletic outfield in baseball and he should be a solid late-inning defensive replacement and bat off the bench. Thompson figures to be up for a while as Ethier is likely sidelined until June, but he’s a more than capable backup that could be a part of the Dodgers’ future.
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Here’s the 25-man in list form. This will be the roster come Monday, when the Dodgers open the season in San Diego.
SP- Clayton Kershaw, Scott Kazmir, Kenta Maeda, Alex Wood, Ross Stripling
RP- Louis Coleman, Yimi Garcia, Pedro Baez, Joe Blanton, J.P. Howell, Chris Hatcher, Kenley Jansen
C- A.J. Ellis, Austin Barnes
INF- Adrian Gonzalez, Chase Utley, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Enrique Hernandez, Charlie Culberson
OF- Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Carl Crawford, Scott Van Slyke, Trayce Thompson