While we’re quickly approaching the four-week mark before pitchers and catchers convene at Camelback Ranch, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at a 25-man roster prediction for the Dodgers based on all the players presently in the organization.
As a side note, I’m inclined to believe there will be an additional move or two made—and just not medial fringe players like we’ve seen multiple times this winter. Just by the way Andrew Friedman is spending seems to suggest that he’s saving up for something, and I feel that it could be a legit, right-handed hitting outfielder.
For example, the deal for catcher Russell Martin caused me to contemplate the way Friedman is building the roster. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great move as far as experience and leadership goes, but if Friedman was not money conscious, he could have easily filled the gap at catcher without sacrificing prospects. Both Martin Maldonado or Matt Wieters conceivably could been convinced to sign for a one-year deal. Pay Maldonado $5 million for a year—give or take—and you have Andrew Sopko and Ronny Brito to use as resources at the summer deadlines when building a prospective playoff roster. Instead, we may have received a sign that money may be more important than mediocre prospects at this stage of the game.
Regardless, 25-man roster projections are always a bit tricky during the winter, but this year there really aren’t an overwhelming number of bubble players. The bullpen is where the competition will be this spring, as the starting rotation and position player crew are relatively stable. Of course, there will be injuries that throw wrenches into our early projections, but here’s what we’re looking at right now—sans the new high-impact, right-handed hitting outfield acquisition:
There’s really not much to discuss here. This rotation was solidified with the departure of Alex Wood last month. As far as depth goes, Dennis Santana will be ready to go at the beginning of the year, while Ross Stripling is always capable of being stretched for four-plus innings. Julio Urias will emerge at some point, and if our guess for Caleb Ferguson holds true, he’ll be stretched out at OKC and ready for big league starting action at the drop of a dime. Still, Ferguson could be a relief option at some point should the parent club require his services.
The relief corps is certainly the area of the team with the most speculation, and depending on the effectiveness of a handful of these guys during 2019 Cactus League play, several of the roster spots won’t be decided until the final hours before Opening Day. In my initial projections several weeks back, I had Ferguson and Josh Fields in my 25-man group, but further deduction led me to replace them with Alexander and Garcia. Joining Fields and Ferguson on the fringe are JT Chargois, Adam McCreery, Jaime Schultz, Josh Sborz, and Brock Stewart, whether or not Stewart finds a way to stay with the team.
Like the starting rotation, the group of position players is very much stable, at least until any new acquisitions are made. Presently, there isn’t much fringe depth to write home about unless you consider the veteran minor league trio of Shane Peterson, Paulo Orlando and Cameron Perkins as a quality resource. Furthermore, it may be wise to keep a close eye on Matt Beaty and Edwin Rios if the club decides to mostly stand pat on the 40-man roster. As far as current needs go, notice the lack of right-handed bats.
Looking ahead, we’ll put together another projection about a week or so before Opening Day, but aside from two or three potential adjustments, this list should be fairly accurate.