Dodger Pitchers Have First Throws of Spring Training; Thoughts on Tatis Jr’s Contract

We’ve finally reached the first harbinger of Spring—pitchers and catchers have reported to Spring Training for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Almost all were in camp yesterday, with Clayton Kershaw arriving today. There was no explanation as of this writing why Kershaw was late, but one could assume it was due to the terrible weather in Dallas, where Kershaw makes his off-season home.

David Price was out throwing today, quelling any doubt that he would be with the team this season after sitting out the 2020 season due to Covid concerns.

Joining Price on the mound for their first official throwing sessions of the spring were Walker Buehler, Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, Jimmy Nelson, Dennis Santana, Enny Romero, Mike Kickham, Andre Jackson, James Pazos, Gerardo Carrillo, and Alex Vesia.

In a meeting with reporters afterwards, Manager Dave Roberts gave a few notes. He stated that Julio Urías has reported in the best shape of his life, the best he’s ever seen him to start a season. Catcher Keibert Ruiz is not yet in camp, as he is dealing with visa issues.

Roberts also stated that he expects Kenley Jansen to be the closer to start the season. “I think he’s earned that opportunity to start off as our closer. But at the end of the day, I want the guys that are pitching the best to finish the game.”

Two pitchers are “a little sore” and are not yet throwing, Mitch White and Joe Kelly. Roberts stated that Kelly is “still coming back” and “not quite there yet.”

Down the road in San Diego, the big news is that the Padres signed their young, superstar shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr to a 14-year, $340MM contract extension. The 22-year-old phenom is now slated to be in San Diego until 2035, and it signals that the Padres are in it to win it well beyond this season.

Much has been made of the additions that the Friars have made to keep up with their rivals to the north in the Dodgers. San Diego is definitely going to give Los Angeles a run for their money (pun intended) in the NL West. But, a lot of times, smaller market teams try to go big and end up falling back off after a year or two. This extension signals that the Padres are going to continue to try to wrestle the top spot in the division away from the Dodgers, who are looking for their ninth consecutive division title.

When asked if he was worried about the Padres, Dave Roberts said, “ I don’t mean to sound brash, or how do I say it….. I don’t mean to sound arrogant. But the fact is I really don’t (care about the Padres).”

The best way to approach a season is to worry only about the things you can control and about your own team. In that respect, Roberts is absolutely right to say what he said. But, it will probably be more locker rooms fodder for the Padres.

The burning desire to overtake the Dodgers is definitely there. The Padres finished second to the Dodgers in the division last season, and then were swept by them in the NLDS. They now have Blake Snell, who still carries the what-might-have-been burden from the World Series, when he was taken out in the sixth inning of Game 6 when he had been dealing, and the Tampa Bay Rays ending up losing the game, and subsequently the World Series. The Padres have been the Little Brother for a long time, and this season is going to be really fun to watch.

16 thoughts on “Dodger Pitchers Have First Throws of Spring Training; Thoughts on Tatis Jr’s Contract

  1. Kelly is “still coming back” and “not quite there yet”. They’ve been telling us that for over a year. I think it may be time to put him on the 180 Day IL (yes, I just made up that list). That might just be the best thing for all concerned. When Kelly is right he can be amazing, but if he is still not physically 100% they should just keep him off the field indefinitely, like for all of 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A name to watch that I think is going to break out very soon is Gerardo Carrillo. He’s got one hell of an electric arm inside that small body. With his violent delivery and control issues I doubt the Dodgers will try to keep him on a starting trajectory as long as some other guys who have a better build to take the innings load of starting which means he could shoot up the ranks as a high leverage reliever very quickly, maybe by the end of this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have far more possibilities for the bullpen than we can possibly accommodate at one time on the active roster. I’m really looking forward to seeing all these newcomers and younger guys who will be in camp for the first time.

      Just read somewhere that Vesia threw today and was very impressive.

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      1. Is Marshall Kasowski still in the system? I know he’s only got one pitch but that one pitch sure seems just about untouchable in the minors. I wonder why we never hear more about him.

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      2. I think he was hurt for part of last year (or maybe that was 2019 – all the years are starting to blend together). Not sure why he wasn’t invited to camp since I think he was there last year. As far as I know, he’s still in the organization.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m excited to see what Urias looks like if he’s in the best shape of his life. He’s a naturally stocky kid but I’ve always felt he carried a little bit too much bad weight. Hopefully he comes 10-15 lbs lighter and brings that nastiness when he pitches out of the bullpen with him to the rotation. I’ve never understood why someone with the stuff he has nibbles like he does when he starts. When he comes out of the bullpen he’s balls to the wall making the hitter hit his best stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If Urías is our number 5 starter, and he pitches anywhere near close to what he did in the World Series , then that is a absolute dream.

      I know we’re all low on Kenley but he also looked to be in really great shape coming into camp. Maybe the reduced workload will be good for him

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kasowski, Brock Stewart, Morrow, Pazos, Nelson, Romero, and Kickham all listed on OKC’s roster. Carlos Asuaje, is also on that roster. Matt Davidson has not been added yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Urías didn’t nibble in the playoffs, as much as he did during the season. I think we are going to see the playoff version this season, I think it all finally came together for him, and he is going to be more confident, and aggressive, we’ll see.

    Liked by 2 people

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