Santana, Stewart Among Those Considered for Dodgers’ Final Roster Spot


Aside from one final spot in the bullpen, the Dodgers have announced the bulk of their 25-man roster for Opening Day against the Diamondbacks next Thursday.

By using simple deduction and heeding to a few hints dropped by skipper Dave Roberts over the past few days, the squad has finally neared its completion.

Other than the spots which were created as a result of injured players, our early roster projections were right on the nose. Of course, there’s still time for some kind of injury to come into play before the opener, but overall, the club appears to be relatively healthy at the moment.

Staff ace Clayton Kershaw, veteran starter Rich Hill and lefty reliever Tony Cingrani will begin the season on the injured list. All of those spots are retroactive to a date before March 28, should the Dodgers decide to bring back any of the trio before 10 days elapse after the season has begun.

Austin Barnes and Russell Martin will be the catchers, with Barnes receiving roughly 3/5 of the playing time, according to a statement made by Roberts early in the week.

A.J. Pollock, Joc Pederson, Cody Bellinger and Alex Verdugo will make-up the primary outfield, while Bellinger is also expected to see a significant amount of time at first base. According to some opinions, one of the main platoons on the team to begin the season will be in left field between Pederson and Chris Taylor. Taylor is also expected to assume the super-utility role for 2019, moving between all the outfield spots, second, short and third base.

The infield will consist of Max Muncy, Enrique Hernandez, Justin Turner, Corey Seager and David Freese. Roberts confirmed on Saturday that Hernandez is expected to see the bulk of the playing time at the keystone, at least to begin the season.

The starting rotation is Hyun-Jin Ryu, Ross Stripling, Kenta Maeda, Walker Buehler and Julio Urias—in that order. Boss Andrew Friedman told reporters on Friday that Urias will remain in the rotation only until Hill is ready to return from an MCL strain.

The bullpen will be made up of lefties Caleb Ferguson and Scott Alexander, alongside right-handers Dylan Floro, Yimi Garcia, Pedro Baez, Joe Kelly and Kenley Jansen.

Roberts told the media on Saturday afternoon that the final relief spot hjas been narrowed down to a choice between a pair of righty swing men—Dennis Santana and Brock Stewart.

“I would say internally right now as I sit here Brock and Dennis are probably the guys,” Roberts explained. “You’re expecting Rich to be back shortly after the season starts so to kind of have some length potential for a shorter time those two guys make the most sense.”

Seemingly, Urias will shift to the bullpen when Hill is ready to return.

Additionally, the team has not ruled out the acquisition of another reliever from the outside.


16 thoughts on “Santana, Stewart Among Those Considered for Dodgers’ Final Roster Spot

  1. Based on how Santana and Stewart have looked, they might just decide to grab someone from the outside until Hill or CK are ready. Just because they’ve indicated a couple of weeks doesn’t mean it can’t stretch to a month. I know they don’t want to add May and start his clock early, but that would be my choice. Or Gonsolin. They need to do Stewart a favor and send him to another organization. When he’s on the mound he looks like he’s just waiting for something bad to happen………….and it usually does. A new start would do him good and they owe him that after jerking him around so much last year.

    1. I think Santana would benefit much more from the experience. We all know he has the repertoire and talent to succeed in the bigs, but I think he has a long way to go in terms of having the proper mindset. In the minors, despite using his sinker and splitter successfully, he always had the luxury of letting loose and blowing a 99 MPH heater past the hitters. In the bigs, he can’t necessarily to that. He needs to figure out how to actually retire hitters strategically instead of depending on his velocity. Barnesy and Russell can help him do that much better than Smith or Ruiz.

      1. Good point with regard to the catchers, but I really don’t think Santana showed he was quite ready yet in ST. On the other hand it shouldn’t be for too long a time and maybe only in one sided games. I just don’t want to see us get off to the same kind of start as last year.

      2. It’s definitely hard to predict, but I would say a poor start might be attributed more to a slow start on offense. Turner appears to be tuned in nicely, but there just seems to be quite a few guys who have yet to find any sort of groove. If you have an unproven commodity like Santana, it’s pretty easy to bury him behind guys like Petey, Kenley and Joe Kelly, so long as they are all throwing relatively well.

    1. Allie reminds me of Josh Lindblom to a degree—having the ability to throw 100 MPH without command. Once Honeycutt got Lindblom to sharpen his control, his four-seam sat at 93-94. If Allie doesn’t demonstrate any kind of consistency with his control, the same could happen to him.

  2. Didn’t remember that Lindblom ever threw that hard. I think with Allie the answer is to simply let him throw as hard as he can, not worry about any control issues and get him a pair of thick glasses. The game desperately needs another Ryne Duren. I remember back in the day, he always made sure to have one of his warmup pitches sail all the way to the backstop screen. Must have been really fun to hit against him.

  3. Just came across an interesting article by Mike Petriello.
    Basically, some teams are now experimenting with a 4-man outfield against certain hitters like Harper and Bryant. Instead of the normal shift where 3 guys play on the right side of the infield and the fourth covers the left side, that fourth guy goes to the outfield, so 4 outfielders and 3 infielders.

      1. I think I remember seeing that mentioned in the article Dennis. Good company to be in – Harper, Bryant, Asche.
        I’m guessing there’s already a rule against that Rich but if not you could do it once and then you wouldn’t have another strike called for your pitcher for the rest of the game.

  4. If no one is on base can teams take out the catcher and put in another fielder. Ouch to the ump!

  5. The offense right now is not hitting on all cylinders. They have not won a game in a week. Taylor who was supposed to be working on making better contact is striking out faster than he did last year. Bellinger is not consistent, Pederson has been pretty bad and striking out a lot. Muncy has looked awful. He did finally have a multi hit game the other day. The starters are not stretched out. 36 days into spring training they pretty much look well, mediocre. Not that spring means that much, but it is an indication of who they will be the first few weeks. I believe that once they are facing the top guys, they are going to struggle early. Luckily there have been no major injury’s like there was last year. Seager is going to play all 3 games of the freeway series so we should have some idea of where he is at. Barnes, Pollock, Kike and Turner have had the best springs so far. It looks like they will use a more set lineup than last year. But Roberts said he has not really thought about a plan B if Muncy continues to struggle. Just seems a little short sighted to me.

    1. I say again, this is a seasoned group that likely doesn’t much give a rat’s ass what February, March and April look like. I don’t think they much care where the team is in the standings until summer.

      With a few notable exceptions, this is an older group, many of whom take considerable jacuzzi time during the season. I see but one every day player here, and that’s Bellinger. Seager if he’s 100%, which I don’t think he is. Everybody else out there will share their duties with someone else at least 25% of the year.

      If the team isn’t hitting in July and August then it’s a scoop. Until then? Meh.

  6. I agree bear looks like it’s gonna be a slow start out the gates. But it seems like that’s the norm for this team. Might not hurt us this year but will next few years if SD progresses as advertised. If Muncy falls off a cliff then Belli moves back to first and we’ll find out if Verdugo is a full time player. We have to improve hitting. We were an historically bad clutch hitting team last year. Cut down on all the K’s especially with runners on third with less than two outs. If Van “what’s his name” can teach them anything how about a better approach with 2 strikes! And can we hit something besides solo hr’s this year. But the key is Seager. If he doesn’t return and become a top 10 NL player then we’re in trouble

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