Alright, this is a weird thing to say out loud: the Los Angeles Dodgers actually … have some … work to do in putting their 2022 Opening Day roster together?
That can’t be right … but it is.
At the moment, the familiar 26-man roster is full of more holes than we’re used to, and there won’t be an opportunity to fix it further before … March? April? Things are looking bleaker than ever. So bleak, in fact, that Jeff Passan is dropping F-bombs and then exiting stage left.
The Dodgers weren’t quite as silent as, say, the Yankees before the lockout hit, but the early portion of their offseason was certainly defined by departures more than by additions. Gone are superstar shortstop Corey Seager and imported ace Max Scherzer. Joe Kelly found himself without a deal, and Kenley Jansen still seems to be seeking more on the open market than the Dodgers want to give to an aging reliever.
The rotation, perhaps most of all, feels woefully undermanned, especially in comparison to last year’s unit, which received an overload of preseason praise, but still had to ultimately add Scherzer to get through the Wild Card Game and NLDS. Baseball’s really hard.
Hell, even Clayton Kershaw isn’t on a roster at the moment — and, again, will not be secured for many months.
Most offseasons, projecting the Dodgers’ roster would be a formality. Write in the names of 20 familiar stars, take some swings and flesh out the bullpen, add in the top two free agents still on the market, and boom! You’ve got yourself a top-of-the-projections NL West juggernaut.
This year, though? There are many more gaps to fill, and only a few of them will be stuffed by high-profile names.
Projecting the 2022 Los Angeles Dodgers Opening Day roster.
Dodgers Starting Rotation (5)
- Walker Buehler
- Julio Urías
- Luis Castillo
- Clayton Kershaw
- Andrew Heaney
Go bold or go home, right?
After 2021, I just can’t allow myself to believe that Tony Gonsolin or David Price will, no questions asked, be penciled into the starting rotation to begin the season.
After decades of evidence, I also can’t allow myself to believe that Clayton Kershaw will begin the season in Dallas, New York, Boston, or anywhere else baseball is played other than Dodger Stadium.
Eventually, Dustin May will return — and when that happens, it’s hard to envision him being built up to handle 6+ innings immediately, especially considering he didn’t regularly do that before Tommy John surgery. He’ll be a valued member of this rotation by the end of the season, or he’ll be an important swing man, but he doesn’t make our Opening Day roster, nor does he give us enough confidence to stick a stopgap in the rotation like Gonsolin. That’s where Luis Castillo comes in.
The Dodgers will have every opportunity to match the Reds’ desires in a prospect package, and after Castillo never quite managed to dig out of his 2021 April and May hole to put up a full season to his typical standards, this trade may be 5-10% discounted. Who knows? Perhaps LA even expands things and adds some outfield or bullpen depth …
Oh, and no Trevor Bauer. That goes far beyond even the most speculative projections.