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Dodgers: Final Bench Spot Seemingly Down to Two for LA

It’s two-man competition for one last spot on the bench.



This isn’t a joke as Opening Day on April 1 is now just one week away for the Dodgers! While there isn’t a whole lot of time left between now and then, there are still plenty of decisions that have yet to be made. One of these decisions is, who will win the last spot on the bench for LA?

A handful of players are making their case to have that honor come the start of the season, but who comes out on top?

The Dodgers have already made their second cut of players, resulting in 38 players remaining in camp. 20 of those are pitchers, which leaves 18 position players. Take away the starting 8 and that leaves only 10 others to compete for bench spots.

However, it’s almost a certainty that Austin Barnes, Chris Taylor, Zack McKinstry, and Matt Beaty are locks. There will be a 26-man roster limit this year, up from the previous 25-man roster just two years ago, so the Dodgers could theoretically carry six players on the bench. What seems more likely, however, is the team carrying 13 pitchers to begin the season as the starting pitchers continue to build up their pitch counts, especially with the possibility of 3 starting pitchers moving to the pen. 

With four bench spots (Matt Beaty, Christ Taylor, Austin Barnes, and Zach McKinstry) already locked up and Sheldon Neuse recently optioned, that leaves one spot to be fought among 5 players. Realistically, only DJ Peters and Edwin Ríos have a legitimate shot at seizing the job. 

DJ Peters 

Peters started off Spring on a good note at the plate, yet his performance has faltered as of late. He’s now only hitting .242 which seems like it would be a normal batting average for him. The strikeouts have also really started to pile up. On the other side of the ball, he’s shown his athleticism in the outfield with the ability to play all three spots. The 25-year old could make the big league club and be a right handed bat off the bench, essentially replacing some of the power lost with the departure of Joc Pederson.

It’s fair to wonder if the Dodgers would be willing to carry Peters despite the team having Chris Taylor and possibly Matt Beaty to use in the outfield as well. 

Edwin Ríos

Everyone should know Edwin Ríos by now. The Puerto Rican native provided the Dodgers with some memorable home runs last season, most notably against the Houston Astros. While he cracked the roster last year, that doesn’t guarantee he does so again to begin the season. Ríos is best suited as a first base only/DH type of guy, though he has shown he can get by at third base. He may have a leg up on Peters in that he can slide in at third base when Turner needs a rest day.

He’s had a difficult Spring training to say the least. In 22 at-bats he only has 4 hits. Yes, it’s only the preseason and hitters are still shaking off the rust, but Ríos has just not looked himself and could be sent to the alternate site come April 1. 

Final Thoughts

Both players have undeniable power that could easily translate into the big leagues. While Peters does offer the Dodgers a legitimate fourth outfielder and a right handed bat off of the bench his tendency to strikeout more often than most may just send him back down, for now. Ríos already has experience at the Major League level and has been able to hold his own. Although having him and Beaty on the bench may be a little redundant, he seems like the likely choice here. Even so, this roster will constantly be shifting and should see plenty of fresh faces by season’s end. 

NEXT: AJ Pollock Has No Words for How Good Mookie Betts Is

Written by Adam Salcido

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  1. Here’s to hoping that DJ can cut down on the SO’s and take that final spot (he needs to see major league pitching, not minor league to solve this), then replace Pollock when his contract expires or he’s traded.

    • I hope you’re right. DJ Peters has been in the minors for 5 years, if he can’t make the big leagues now, he might never make it. He’s either gonna be the next Billy Ashley or the next Jason Werth. I think going to another team is the best option for him, sometimes all it takes is a change of scenery for a player to unlock his full potential.

  2. Well it appears that Roberts does like LHB. But my question is; are the aDodgers willing to be somewhat vulnerable in the later innings with mostly a LH hitting bench? First of all Taylor figures to be in the lineup somewhere a lot, and we can’t count Barnes because he is the other catcher and can’t be used unless he starts in a game or has to come in game due to a Smith injury. What I see is other teams will have plenty of LH relievers ready to match up well against guys like McKinstry, Beaty, Rios. Lux ( if he’s not starting). Something to consider as far as that last bench spot goes.

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