Unlike several of his predecessors, Dodgers‘ boss Andrew Friedman is developing a reputation for giving his younger players opportunities to show their value on the highest stages. This spring, for example, the Los Angeles management crew invited a whopping 22 players who were not on the 40-man to take part in major league workouts at Camelback Ranch, elevating the number of participants on the big league side of camp to well over 60 players.
After one of the saddest and longest winters ever for Dodgers fans, the end is finally here. Pitchers and catchers report tomorrow to Camelback Ranch. Although many of us are still hungover from what might have been, most of us can’t help but get excited about what might be waiting for us during the upcoming season.
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.
The Dodgers held their FanFest this past Saturday, and there was the usual fun of autographs, pictures and interviews. During those interviews, some new information has come to light, especially concerning the outfield and Matt Kemp‘s situation.
Ever since the Marlins agreed to the deal to send Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees in early December, fans around the league knew it was just a matter of time before Miami scraped away all the excess salary it could in an effort to begin a massive rebuild. Not long after the New York trade, Dee Gordon was shipped off to the Mariners, and about a week after that deal, Marcell Ozuna was sent to the Cardinals.
We are now within the one month range of pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training. As we have mentioned so many times before, the team appears to stand pat for now, which the exception of a few relief pitchers.
Even though we’re still outside the 30-day window for players reporting to spring camp, we still can’t help speculating what the regular season roster may look like for the Dodgers, especially when we try to layout any type of prospective lineup on paper.
It’s only November, and already many fans of the Dodgers have been trying to put together an outfield plan for the upcoming 2018 campaign. We are guilty of it, too—over the last few weeks we have talked about where Chris Taylor fits into next year’s roster strategy, in addition to discussing how Andrew Toles returns from a severed ACL. Anything can happen over the next few months, especially with the Winter Meetings approaching; but based on what we know right now, we decided to attempt to paint a picture of what may lie ahead.