With just over two weeks left in the regular season it’s looking more and more like the Dodgers will soon be stamping their ticket for playoff baseball. First year manager Dave Roberts has seemed to push all the right buttons (except for the Rich Hill game, but that’s another debate for another day), and he will need to continue making tough team decisions going forward.
Perhaps one of the most difficult decisions he will need to make is compiling his 25-man roster for the postseason. There have been several Dodgers to consider who have made key contributions to the team’s success this season. Assuming the players on the Dodgers’ current 40-man roster remain healthy, the following list is the 25 players I would choose to pencil in for the playoff run.
- Yasmani Grandal, C
- Carlos Ruiz, C
- Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
- Chase Utley, 2B
- Justin Turner, 3B
- Corey Seager, SS
- Howie Kendrick, INF/OF
- Joc Pederson, OF
- Josh Reddick, OF
- Enrique (Kike) Hernandez, INF/OF
- Andrew Toles, OF
- Yasiel Puig, OF
- Andre Ethier, OF
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- Clayton Kershaw, SP
- Kenta Maeda, SP
- Rich Hill, SP
- Bud Norris, SP
- Kenley Jansen, RP
- Adam Liberatore, RP
- Pedro Baez, RP
- J.P. Howell, RP
- Joe Blanton, RP
- Grant Dayton, RP
- Jesse Chavez, RP
- Julio Urias, RP
First I will begin with my decision for the 13 position players. The first ten I believe are no-brainers. They are all vital to the Dodgers’ success this season and, if healthy, deserve to be playing for the team in October. Toles was an easy decision for me. His speed alone makes him a valuable weapon, and Roberts should know as well as anybody how important speed is in the crucial moments of a playoff game. Toles can also provide the team with stellar defense in the outfield.
Ethier I would pencil in on experience and merit alone. He has been with the Dodgers longer than anyone, played in more playoff games for the team than anyone, and deserves another shot at a championship. Ethier can offer the team veteran leadership and has historically come up big in clutch moments.
The final roster spot for a position player goes to Puig. In an editorial posted yesterday on Dodgers Nation titled: Puig is Powering His Way on to the Playoff Roster, contributor Brandon Knudsen very eloquently states why Puig deserves to be on the team in October. All of the reasons given in the article I completely agree with. The most important being the opportunity to boost his trade value. If the Wild Horse can play to his amazing potential, even in a short period of time in the playoffs, the Dodgers should be able to get far more value for him than they could have at the season’s trade deadline.
Now let’s move on to the pitchers. Twelve pitchers make the playoff roster; four starters and eight relievers. Starters Kershaw, Maeda and Hill are obvious choices. The trio provides a very formidable playoff rotation that can go pitch-for-pitch against the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals staffs. Norris would be the fourth starter and will pitch if Kershaw cannot go on three days rest.
Eight relief pitchers may seem like much. However, considering the relief staff has thrown far more innings than any other NL playoff team, going eight deep in the pen is pretty necessary. Aside from Kershaw (and his health could limit his ability to go deep into a game), the starting staff has averaged less than six innings per game, and they have relied heavily on the bullpen to hold leads. Guys like Jansen, Baez, Liberatore, Blanton and Howell have been consistent all year. Chavez and Dayton have also pitched important innings lately. They will continue to be vital to the Dodgers’ playoff success.
The final spot on the Dodgers’ playoff roster should go to Urias. His arm is a weapon that the Dodgers can’t afford to lock away until next year. He has shown the ability to perform in playoff-type situations and has drastically improved from his initial start in June. At the very least, should a game go into extras he will be able to pitch multiple innings and give the other relief pitcher’s arms a rest.
Roberts has been incredible in his managerial debut and should hoist the trophy for NL Manager of the Year at season’s end. I’m sure he and his staff will make the right decisions when it comes to assembling the Dodger playoff roster. The above list is just an idea of who I would choose to be on that roster. Roberts doesn’t have to heed my advice, but if he wishes to hoist a more important trophy, he should.
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