Remembering the 2014 Opening Day Roster

2014

With the existing viral pandemic not appearing to be improving, coupled with the fact that most players have left their respective spring camp locations completely, Opening Day 2020 isn’t even on the radar for pretty much anyone associated with the game of baseball.

However, that doesn’t prevent us from remembering Opening Days from years past.

The beginning of the 2014 season was an interesting one because MLB’s opening series was being held in Sydney, Australia between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks way ahead of all the other season openers.

Because of the venue and early start to the year, there were a few odd rules in place. Specifically, both clubs were permitted to carry 28 players on their active rosters. Each team was allowed to place three of those players on an “exempt” list without having to go through the consequences of prospective disabled list stays.

Regardless, the Dodgers had a decent amount of talent on their big league club, but it didn’t necessarily show on their Opening Day roster, aside from a very stacked infield.

As the team exited the plane in Sydney and headed towards the cricket pitch, here’s how the 2014 Opening Day roster shaped up:

Starting pitchers (3): Clayton KershawHyun-Jin RyuPaul Maholm

Relief pitchers (9): Kenley JansenBrian WilsonChris PerezJ.P. HowellPaco RodriguezJamey WrightJose DominguezChris WithrowSeth Rosin

Catchers (2): A.J. EllisDrew Butera

Infielders (7): Adrian Gonzalez, Justin TurnerHanley RamirezJuan UribeDee GordonChone Figgins, Alex Guerrero

Outfielders (4): Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier, Scott Van Slyke, Mike Baxter

At first glance, this appears to be a somewhat underachieving group overall, but there were more than a handful of stars who didn’t even make the trip.

Matt Kemp, Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett all began the season on the 15-day DL with an assortment of ailments, while pitchers Scott Elbert and Onelki Garcia started the year on the 60-day disabled list.

Los Angeles used the exempt list to secure the active playing statuses of Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Brandon League, who all got off to slow starts in spring training. At the time, Greinke was dealing with a sprained calf from the early days of camp and Haren was experiencing a bout of dead-arm syndrome. League simply was not throwing well.

To boot, left fielder Carl Crawford did not make the trip because he was on the team’s paternity list.

Anyway, here’s how the Los Angeles lineup looked on the super-early Opening Day of March 22, 2014:

  • Puig RF
  • Turner 2B
  • Ramirez SS
  • Gonzalez 1B
  • Van Slyke LF
  • Uribe 3B
  • Ethier CF
  • Ellis C
  • Kershaw P

Despite the fact that the overall landscape of the roster was a bit suspect, the lineup was still perhaps one of the most formidable Opening Day lineups in the National League.

The Dodgers eventually handled the Diamondbacks by a 3-1 score. Van Slyke was the big offensive hero for Los Angeles, going 2-for-3 with a walk, a double, a homer and two RBI.

Kershaw was fantastic on the hill, throwing 6-2/3 innings on 102 pitches, which is extremely atypical for an Opening Day starter. Kersh allowed just the one earned run on five hits and a walk while striking out seven.

Perez, Wilson and Jansen combined for 2-1/3 frames of scoreless relief. Jansen registered the save.

Lefty Wade Miley took the loss for Arizona.

Coincidentally, A.J. Pollock led off and played center field for the Snakes. He went 0-for-4 with one strikeout.

The Los Angeles starting rotation would ultimately shape up with CK, Greinke, Haren, Ryu and Beckett getting the bulk of the work. The Dodgers were represented by four players at the All-Star Game that summer—Puig, Kershaw, Greinke and Dee Gordon, who was just starting to settle in as a second baseman after several unsuccessful stints as a big league shortstop.

Billingsley had season-ending elbow surgery in June. It would be his last year wearing a Dodgers uniform.

2014 was the second-to-last season for skipper Don Mattingly and the final year for GM Ned Colletti.

The Dodgers ultimately won the NL West handily with a 94-68 record, but fell out of the postseason quickly after being defeated by the Cardinals in the NLDS, three games to one.

 

4 thoughts on “Remembering the 2014 Opening Day Roster

  1. I remember watching on TV and thinking what a weird looking ball park. They actually did a pretty good job getting the cricket pitch ready for an MLB game.

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    1. I remember Gerardo Parra being unhappy about the whole event. He pretty much thought going down there was bullsh*t. I pretty much agreed with him.

      That was a very good Dodger team. One of many we have seen over the last several years.

      I can’t help but wonder if this season will be played at all. Probably. But it wouldn’t surprise me if this thing stretches out into late summer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is not looking good right now. The senate just passed a huge bill for funding testing and such and paid leave for workers. They are now working on a bill that would directly pay American’s.

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  2. Minor leaguers will be paid through April 8th. The business of baseball continues even though games do not. Some players have been re-assigned to the minors others are having surgery’s and procedures done now that there is time, Chris Sale, and Miklo Mikolas, have begun throwing programs after being shut down. A Red’s employee at their training complex tested positive, so now the entire Reds team will be tested. I am surprised somewhat that Matt Kemp, who was having a dismal spring, has not been cur loose by the Marlins, but according to some reports, they consider him a solid bench bat. Biggest news in LA is that the Rams have released Todd Gurley. Definitely some Rams fans fuming about that.

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