With most of the core players returning from last season, there isn’t an overwhelming amount of speculation surroundinging the Dodgers‘ 25-man roster heading into Opening Day. However, there are several spots—most specifically, one outfield spot and a few utility spots on the pitching staff and the bench—which could conceivably be won or lost over the course of the 2018 Cactus League schedule.
Nine years ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks each had a dynamic young outfielder you could build a team around. They were cornerstone players with a heady mix of speed and power, poised to lead their teams in a battle for National League West supremacy for years to come.
The moment that fans of the Dodgers have been waiting for all winter has finally arrived. Even though there normally isn’t much news surrounding the first reporting day, pitchers and catchers are indeed in the house.
The Think Blue gang has spent a lot of time in the prediction and prospect business over the past week. And why not? With spring training just a few days away and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ roster, for the most part, camp-ready (with a pair of major exceptions in Matt Kemp and Chase Utley), there’s not much more to talk about.
Chase Utley is enjoying quite an offseason.
He’s hanging out at Disneyland, having a day with the singer from OneRepublic and their families. He’s in Dubai, talking about robot umpires. He’s on social media, celebrating the Hall of Fame induction of his buddy, Jim Thome. He’s out golfing at Justin Turner’s charity golf tournament (and outgolfing Turner, according to the host). He’s going viral, making Eagles hype videos with the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Much time has been spent by many bloggers writing about whether the Dodgers should re-sign Yu Darvish, myself included. Los Angeles remains tops on the wish list of places that Darvish would like to pitch for, and that is shown in that he has chosen not to sign with another team.
While there’s been quite a few discussions lately surrounding the prospective big league outfield picture of the Dodgers, there hasn’t been much chatter about Trayce Thompson. As a matter of fact, if veteran Matt Kemp somehow squeezes his way onto the Opening Day 25-man roster, it will likely create a logjam for a handful of other players, resulting in Thompson’s chances of making the big league squad extremely slim.
Picture this—it’s Saturday, October 4th, 2014. The Dodgers are tied with the St. Louis Cardinals 2-2 heading into the bottom of the 8th, in the second game of the National League Division Series. Matt Kemp, one of the most well-known Dodgers of this century, is walking to the plate. J.P. Howell is in the dugout, well aware of the two runs he’s given up, simultaneously reducing the Dodgers lead to 0. On a 2-1 count, three pitches into Pat Neshek’s appearance in the game, Kemp launches a monster home run to deep left field, right next to the Dodgers’ bullpen.
With the arrival of spring camp just a mere two weeks away, the Dodgers on Tuesday afternoon announced the list of 22 players who will be non-roster invites.