As many of us know, Triple-A starting rotations are very difficult to predict in the middle of the winter. Even though the big league starting five of the Dodgers has been theoretically set for quite some time, injuries, trades and free agent signings can impact all levels of the farm at any moment. Minor league rosters are often decided in the final hours leading to Opening Day, but that doesn’t prevent us from speculating on how things might look at Oklahoma City right now.
As quiet as the offseason has been so far, one of the main focuses of the Dodgers management crew is trying to snag an experienced catcher for the upcoming campaign. Many thought Wilson Ramos, who recently signed a two-year pact with the Mets, was a perfect fit, despite his intentions to remain on the East Coast. But even if Los Angeles is able to land a gem via trade or free agency, what would happen in the event of an injury?
With each passing winter, it seems as if the Dodgers have a hole in their roster regarding a primary second baseman. In 2018, fans saw eight different players garner starts at the keystone, and by the time the playoffs rolled around, team management still didn’t have a overwhelming choice for a solution. As it stands now, there will be quite a bit of personnel movement this offseason—including the coaching staff—and once again, fans will wonder if the front office will go shopping for a second baseman or try to utilize its resources from within the organization.
If there’s any area of the roster wide open for the taking over the winter break, it’s the Los Angeles catching department. Although it’s doubtful, it’s entirely possible the Dodgers have confidence that Austin Barnes can be the primary backstop, producing solidly both on offense and defense. Or, maybe management extends free agent Yasmani Grandal a qualifying offer, if only to hold the team over until either Will Smith or Keibert Ruiz are ready to emerge at the big league level. Or, perhaps the team is able to orchestrate a deal for somebody like J.T. Realmuto—the stellar catcher from Miami who is coming off his first-ever NL All-Star appearance.
On Sunday, one of our dedicated readers, the venerable Jeff D., brought up utility infielder Donovan Solano and the fact that he was having an exceptional year at Triple-A Oklahoma City. The 30-year-old Solano is slashing an insane .376/.421/.517 through 54 games this year and would probably have garnered a bit of big league consideration if he was in an organization other than the Dodgers. Solano’s success reminded me of a handful of other players, most specifically several on the Los Angeles 40-man roster, who would likely already be in the majors if they were in a different system.
After Monday’s convincing 17-1 victory over the Pirates, not many fans of the Dodgers are in the mood to discuss any potential roster moves as the club readies themselves for the second-half of the 2018 campaign. However, there are a handful of players on the upper levels of the farm who are conceivably worthy of a spot on a big league roster, whether it be for the Dodgers or somebody else.
Despite a recent series struggle against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, the Oklahoma City Dodgers have been the gem of the PCL this season as they still control the American Northern division and lead the entire league with a 24-12 record.