Even though there’s plenty of time left in spring training for the landscape of the big league outfield to change, it’s still not difficult to make an educated guess regarding the outfield crew at Oklahoma City, as the Dodgers‘ surplus of young talent has now created a very crowded locker room at even the Triple-A level.
While last week’s injury report brought on a bit of concern from many fans of the Dodgers, the outlook for this week is much better, as the two-week mark before the season opener is quickly approaching and the projected 25-man roster becomes a bit more defined.
The answer is yes, although there’s a slim chance he’ll be among the 25 players suited up for Opening Day.
As it stands now, assuming Andre Ethier comes away from a bout of back spasms unscathed, the primary outfield crew for the Dodgers‘ big league squad will consist of Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson, along with the 34-year-old Ethier. And according to our latest projections, newcomer Franklin Gutierrez warrants a spot based on his contract alone, while utility man Scott Van Slyke sneaks on the 25-man primarily for his ability to effectively provide cover at first base.
The first week of Dodgers spring training has come and gone, and the first game of the spring is upon us. The Dodgers will play the Chicago White Sox tomorrow, with whom they share the facilities at Camelback Ranch. Slated to be the starting pitcher is none other than Clayton Kershaw. He is expected to only pitch one inning. Taking their place in line behind him will be Alex Wood, Josh Ravin, Jacob Rhame, and Madison Younginer. Starters are expected to play through two at-bats.
In a flurry of interesting developments on Friday night, the Dodgers have reportedly reached one-year agreements with infielder Chase Utley and outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, both of whom are no strangers to the organization. These two recent deals, along with the addition of righty reliever Sergio Romo, have created a logjam on an already overcrowded 40-man roster, requiring the club to make three corresponding moves before the trio of new contracts can be made official.
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Depending on how the dust settles on all of the Dodgers‘ trade ventures at the end of the winter, Los Angeles should have at least several viable options to hit at the top of the batting order in 2017, creating more mathematically favorable alternatives when writing out the lineup cards.
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While it’s entirely too early in the offseason to consider potential batting orders and lineups, it’s definitely not out of line to think about prospective ingredients for the 25-man roster, as the first few moves of the winter promise to dictate which direction the Dodgers will be heading as far as assembling player personnel.
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While it’s probably entirely too early for team management to begin piecing together roster ideas for the upcoming season, it certainly doesn’t hurt when fans begin brainstorming about areas of the squad that could eventually fall under heavy scrutiny about four months from now.
After concluding that his lower back problems wouldn’t respond to any additional rest, the Dodgers placed outfielder Trayce Thompson on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday, and in turn recalled utility man Zach Walters from Oklahoma City.