Dodgers Roster: A Few November Predictions for Opening Day 2018

(Mandatory Credit: Morry Gash /AP)

I, like many of you, miss baseball a lot right now. It’s been two weeks since Game 7, and I finally feel ready to move forward, but spring training doesn’t start for three months. Until February, we have the holidays, we have the joy of winter, and we have offseason trades and free agent signings. Though the offseason is not nearly as riveting as Game 7, it’s still something, and it’s worth getting excited about.  In the past, my predictions as to who the Dodgers would sign have been, for the most part, incorrect and conventional.

If 2017 proved anything, it’s that the Dodgers are good at changing the game. I like being surprised, which is why I won’t be surprised if my 2018 predictions turn out to be wrong. The Dodgers already have a good roster—a world championship roster—but it can always get better.

2017 was just the beginning for this team.

Trying to predict the free agent market is like trying to predict the weather—there’s almost an equal chance of being right or wrong, and that’s what makes it so fun. I rather like it when it rains when it looks like it’s going to be sunny. It’s interesting, and it’s real.

First, a few free agent predictions:

The Dodgers will re-sign Brandon Morrow—I think that Brandon Morrow is like this winter’s version of Rich Hill last year; he proved during the season that he can be great for the Dodgers and can help pitch them into the postseason. Similarly, the asking price will be high, but he would be worth every penny.

The Dodgers won’t sign Yu Darvish—If the Dodgers don’t sign Yu Darvish, I don’t think Game 7 will play much of a role in the decision. If Darvish had won the game, and the Dodgers were crowned World Champions, I definitely think it would have been a major factor in bringing him back, but I don’t think a loss seals his fate with Los Angeles, either. Personally, I would like another lights-out starter in the rotation, and if that’s Darvish, I am perfectly okay with it. I liked Darvish as a Dodger, but I’m not sure he’ll be one in 2018.

Tony Watson will re-sign with the DodgersTony Watson was great after coming over from Pittsburgh, and I always felt confident when he jogged out of the bullpen. Re-signing Watson would help keep the Dodgers bullpen strong, and I have confidence that, come Opening Day,  he’ll be walking out on to the field in a Dodgers uniform.

The Dodgers won’t trade for Giancarlo Stanton, but neither will the Giants—There have been rumors that the Giants are one of the teams pursuing the Marlins slugger via trade. There haven’t been many reports linking the Dodgers to Stanton, but I don’t think the Giants will sign him, either. Stanton could still be great in the National League, but I think he should play for an American League team. Stanton can play right field incredibly well, but should he not start in right one day, the DH will give him a chance to still have multiple at-bats in a game.

The Dodgers 2018 Opening Day 25-Man Roster Projections:

Starting Rotation: Clayton Kershaw, Hill, Alex Wood. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Walker Buehler

Bullpen: Kenley Jansen, Tony Cingrani, Watson, Josh Fields, Ross Stripling, Morrow, Kenta Maeda

Catchers: Austin Barnes, Yasmani Grandal

Infielders:  Cody Bellinger, Logan Forsythe, Justin Turner, Corey Seager

Outfielders: Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor, Joc Pederson, Andrew Toles, Alex Verdugo

Utility: Enrique Hernandez, Charlie Culberson, Kyle Farmer

Anything can happen between now and Opening Day, but the 2017 postseason is going to have an impact on what happens moving forward. During this year’s playoffs, specific plays and matchups worked out that will go on to help the Dodgers in 2018, and even if big free agent signings and trades aren’t made, the Dodgers will still be in a really good place.

Even though spring is still a ways away, the countdown to Opening Day has already begun, and there is plenty to look forward to.



12 thoughts on “Dodgers Roster: A Few November Predictions for Opening Day 2018

  1. Love your predictions and I am rooting for you to be correct!

    Gary Bernstein Co-Chairman Hoodworx Entertainment


  2. I agree with you about no Darvish and no Stanton, but I expect to see Maeda in the starting rotation and Buehler at OKC for opening day. If you’re right about Buehler that means he had a great spring, so I hope you’re right and I’m wrong. I do expect Andrew/Farhan to re-sign Morrow but also pick up another good reliever to add to the pen. I think someone will pay Watson more than we will so I don’t expect him to be back. I think Verdugo will start the year in OKC and I expect Grandal to be traded. These discussions are what makes Hot Stove season so much fun. Let’s see who had the best guesses come opening day.

    1. I’ll give you my guess after the new year. I’d love to see Morrow come back, but I don’t see that happening. And I don’t see Grandal being traded until mid-season. Gonzo will play at least some if he’s healthy, and I also believe Locastro will have a legitimate shot to make the roster if he hits well enough in spring training. Like you, I believe Maeda starts the year in the rotation with Buehler at OKC.

      1. Grandal mid season – do you feel that way because they want to be absolutely sure Barnes doesn’t crash and burn and leave them with no good alternatives? I could be reading Yas totally wrong, but I really think that if they demote him to backup or even 50-50 playing time, his attitude will be really bad and that will have a very negative effect on the team. Do you figure they could get just as much for him in July as they could at the Winter Meetings? I think I’d rather just jump into the deep end now and take my chances with trading him. If Barnes implodes and Farmer isn’t up to the task, they could get someone in July for the stretch run.

  3. Agon plays if he is healthy, so you would have to make room in the outfield for Cody . My guess would be verdugo stays in okc. Instead of Farmer I expect the team to find a lefty batting infielder. Would love to see Charlie get a shot as you predict. We all know this front office never does what anyone expects, so your predictions are as good as anybody else’s . Good articles Sarah, keep it up.

      1. It would be a shame if that post season scenario would mean that Agon’s Dodger career ended on a sour note. I can’t see them getting rid of him before spring training. He’ll have to prove he’s healthy before anyone would even slightly consider taking him in a trade and I don’t see them just releasing him if there is a chance he could still play at a decent level. I don’t really expect his back to hold up for an entire season so I could easily see him on the opening day roster and then cut or retiring in June-July. He was great with Bellinger when he came up, apparently even telling management that they shouldn’t send him back to the minors. I’d like to see him go out with a thank you ceremony rather than just being kicked to the curb.

  4. Jeff, I think the front office will want to keep a quasi platoon at catcher, since Farmer is a righty, I think they keep Grandal, unless they find a back up catcher who bats left handed.About the attitude thing, Doc has the respect off the players to much for a problem to arise. These guys have always put the team first, and Roberts has already dealt with situations about starting, and sitting, without any real problems.

    1. I seem to remember that at one point pretty far into the season Barnes actually had better numbers against righties than southpaws but I would definitely not be surprised to see them start the season with a Grandal/Barnes tandem. That said, I would still trade him this winter and everyone knows that I’m much more of an expert than anyone in the Dodger front office. 🙂

  5. I agree about trading him, he is a free agent next year. He is well thought of around the league, they could probably get a good package for him.

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