After injury plagued seasons in 2017, many have been wondering what 2018 holds for Andrew Toles and Adrian Gonzalez. Dave Roberts briefly touched on both subjects during his press conference at the Winter Meetings.

Roberts expects Andrew Toles to be healthy and to compete for a starting job, courtesy of Ken Gurnick.

Andrew Toles had a slow start to 2017, but started to find his groove towards the end of April. Toles ended up slashing .271/.314/.458 with 5 home runs and 15 RBIs before tearing his ACL while trying to make a catch in left field. Toles underwent surgery, and due to the severity of his injury he was expected to miss the beginning of 2018. It appears that his rehab is ahead of schedule, as Roberts expects Toles to be ready at the beginning of the year.

Toles came on the seen as a relatively unknown player in 2016. He was originally drafted by Tampa Bay but, after bouts with anxiety, was out of baseball and working at a grocery store. When Toles expressed interest in returning to baseball, his former GM from Tampa Bay, Andrew Friedman, quickly signed him. Toles skyrocketed through the minor leagues in 2015, starting in high-A ball and making it all the way to the Majors.

Adrian Gonzalez needs no introduction, he’s a 5-time All Star who has always been the model of consistency. However, this was not the case in 2017 as he was dealing with recurring back injuries throughout the season. It was unclear what role Adrian would play moving forward, but Roberts says that the 35-year old will compete for at-bats in 2018.

Here’s what Roberts had to say when asked about Gonzalez.

I see him on our team. You don’t get to be the player he is if you don’t overcome adversity. He’s at a different time in his career, dealing with injuries. I’ve had conversations with Adrian, and he’ll definitely bet on himself. He’s healthy and looks to compete to get at-bats. Obviously things can happen throughout the winter, but I see Adrian on our team and contributing.

If Gonzalez were to return to form, it would mean more reps for Cody Bellinger in the outfield. Bellinger is coming off a 39-homer rookie campaign that saw him win Rookie of the Year. Bellinger is an elite first baseman, but is also very good in the outfield so the potential move makes sense.

The Dodgers have plenty of options within their organization to improve moving forward. Hopefully Gonzalez can find his All-Star form and Toles can recapture the flair he provided early in 2017.

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