The team will likely head into the season with 12 pitchers on the roster, five starters and seven relievers, meaning that space is limited for the Dodgers’ position of strength.
According to Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times, a young reliever that logged in key innings in 2013 may be forced down:
And incredibly, the odd man out appears to be … Withrow?
Withrow was a hard-throwing semi-sensation in the second half last season (1.88 earned-run average, 35 strikeouts in his 28 2/3 innings) and it’s difficult to fathom they would actually open the season with the right-hander back at triple-A Albuquerque.
But if you assume they will have him, then it’s almost as if they are counting on another reliever coming up lame in the spring. At 24, he is oddly the most likely candidate.
Withrow came on strong last season and even made the postseason roster in his first year up. The Dodgers brought him and Jose Dominguez up last season after designating Matt Guerrier for assignment and optioning Peter Moylan. Some believe that the right-handed Withrow could be a trading chip and that he could be used in a deal to bring in Tampa Bay Rays’ left-hander David Price or possibly a middle-infielder.
The Dodger bullpen will head into the spring with Wilson, Howell, Wright, Perez, Kenley Jansen, Brandon League and Paco Rodriguez. While decisions haven’t been made, management may choose to go with 13 pitchers, which would give Withrow a chance to make the cut. The Dodgers also have Dominguez, Javy Guerra, Scott Elbert, Onelki Garcia, Yimi Garcia, Pedro Baez, Jarret Martin and Seth Rosin on the 40-man roster. All but Dominguez have a legitimate shot at making the club this spring.
It remains to be seen how the Dodgers decide to construct their bullpen for 2014, but it isn’t entirely clear where Withrow figures into their plans.
ICYMI: The Dodgers and Chris Perez agreed to a one-year deal in 2014