The Los Angeles Dodgers head into spring training with a much different feel around the ball club. While they're still undoubtedly talented, they're not the mammoth favorite that has lapped the rest of the league (on paper) in terms of talent.
In fact, for the first time in the last decade, the Dodgers head into spring training as underdogs, with many people picking the San Diego Padres to run away with the National League West.
This new dynamic makes spring training more exciting than in previous years. Instead of it simply being a warm-up for the regular season, Dodgers fans can learn a lot about this team while it plays at Camelback Ranch. Specifically, fans will get an idea about which players will pull away and win certain positional battles.
Here are the Dodgers' 3 biggest position battles of spring training
3. Closer: Evan Phillips, Brusdar Graterol, Alex Reyes, whoever decides to step up in spring
For the first time in a long time, the Los Angeles Dodgers do not currently have a dedicated closer. Kenley Jansen held that role for years before handing it over to the disaster that was Craig Kimbrel in 2022.
Dave Roberts has pushed back on the idea of having a designated closer who only pitches in the ninth inning. It very well could be a situation where the Dodgers go closer by committee for the first half of the season until things iron out.
But you never know. Someone could be so dominant in the spring that it forces Roberts to change his mind. The obvious favorite for the role is Evan Phillips, who was borderline historic in relief for Los Angeles last season. Brusdar Graterol is also in the running, while new signing Alex Reyes should also be considered due to his previous experience as a closer.
And of course, we should all expect there to be one random reliever that comes out of nowhere and puts his name in the hat. That is the Dodgers special.