Dodgers: Breaking Down the Spring Training Position Battles
THE BENCH SPOT
Verdugo and Toles could be leading contenders for the last spot open on the Dodgers bench. Chase Utley, Kike Hernandez, Joc Pederson, and whoever is not catching that day are locks for the Dodger bench. Assuming Dave Roberts goes with a five-man bench, which leaves an open spot.
There are two reasons why I rule out Verdugo and three reasons why I rule out Toles for this assignment. First, Verdugo and Toles are young players and should be playing every day, so unless they are starting and platooning in the outfield, I don’t see this happening. Second, they are both left-handed hitters. The bench could use a solid right-handed bat with some power, and some positional versatility, because, well, why not? Seems to be a Dodger hallmark now.
Lastly, in Toles case, he is recovering from serious surgery, and needs to ease back into competitive baseball early on. It’s a long season, and the Dodgers will need to call on him during the season. That leaves us with Kyle Farmer, Rob Segedin, and Tim Locastro. Locastro should become a functional MLB utility player, but he lacks the RH power the bench needs. Segedin helped the Dodgers down the stretch in 2016 when he was healthy but regressed last year.
Farmer is the most valuable piece amongst this group. He has performed in a couple of clutch situations in his short time at the MLB level, is a good teammate, flashes some RH power, and can play some corner infield. Having him on the roster frees up Austin Barnes to play some second while Yasmani Grandal catches. Again, one of this team’s strengths is the positional versatility.