The Dodgers on Thursday announced the final cuts to achieve their 25-man roster. Scott Van Slyke, Enrique Hernandez and Austin Barnes will remain with the team. Trayce Thompson, Chris Taylor and Julio Urias were optioned to the minor leagues, while catcher Bobby Wilson was reassigned.
And so the final roster is set — the staring infield consists of Yasmani Grandal, Adrian Gonzalez, Logan Forsythe, Corey Seager and Justin Turner. Outfielders will be Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Andrew Toles, and Franklin Gutierrez. The primary bench players are Chase Utley, Van Slyke, Hernandez and Barnes.
The cuts are not surprising, but still Dodger fans will deconstruct and discuss and second guess the management team. Taylor had really started to endear himself to Dodger fans over the course of spring training, showing off his skills at shortstop and doing incredibly well at the plate. But, manager Dave Roberts stated at the beginning of spring camp that whoever got the last utility role would have to be proficient at both shortstop and center field. Hernandez fills this role better than Taylor.
Still, fans will look to Hernandez’s previous season as proof that he doesn’t belong in that final spot. But to be fair, Kiké was dealing with both injury and with his father’s cancer, and both of those alone could lead to a sub-par season. He knows that Taylor is hot on his heels should he falter, and I’d love to see him return to his 2015 performance level.
This scenario is also true with Rob Segedin and Wilson. Segedin had a fantastic spring, both with the Dodgers and with Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic. The veteran backstop Wilson also opened some eyes during spring training, showing some serious pop in his bat.
In other organizations, these players may not have been only vying for bench time, but for starting positions as well. Some of them came into camp knowing very well they might not make the team, but they just wanted a chance to play for a winning organization. This is the depth of the Dodgers, though. The fact that there are so many players that could be considered for playing time only to be sent to the minors is quite remarkable. All credit given to the front office for amassing such an incredible group of players to choose from, that fans are left dissecting the last player on the 25-man roster.
And not that it’s anything that anyone wants to think about after last year, but there will be injuries. And when there are, Oklahoma City is just chock full of players able to fill in more than adequately. This is the genius of the Dodgers front office. Sure, they have a huge payroll, but they’ve also backed up those highly payed players with a farm system full of talent that could start for other teams.
The season starts in four days, and it’s time to get excited, Dodger fans. We can debate the nuances of this team until we’re blue in the face, but this team is going to be something special. All the boxes are checked, the what-ifs taken into account, all scenarios thought about. The backups have backups. It’s time for Dodger baseball, and I couldn’t be more excited.
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