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Dodgers: Who’s Fighting For a Roster Spot This Spring?

Breaking down who the locks are and who’s on the bubble for opening day.

With Spring Training a couple weeks underway, several players are looking to make their case to be on the Dodgers’ opening day 26-man roster. Yes, you read that right. Rosters have expanded to 26, among other rule changes for the 2020 season. With that in mind, let’s break down where the opening day roster currently stands. 

Locks

Starting Rotation

  • Walker Buehler
  • Clayton Kershaw
  • David Price
  • Julio Urías
  • Alex Wood

Bullpen

  • Kenley Jansen
  • Pedro Baez
  • Joe Kelly
  • Blake Trienen
  • Ross Stripling
  • Jimmy Nelson

Regulars

  • Will Smith
  • Max Muncy
  • Chris Taylor
  • Corey Seager
  • Justin Turner
  • Joc Pederson
  • Cody Bellinger
  • Mookie Betts

Bench

  • Austin Barnes
  • Kiké Hernández
  • AJ Pollock
  • Matt Beaty

These virtual locks account for most of the roster, but three spots are still left open: one bat, two pitchers. This is where the importance of Spring Training results come in. Here are the players who are on the bubble:

Relievers

  • Dylan Floro
  • Scott Alexander
  • Adam Kolarek
  • Caleb Ferguson
  • Tony Gonsolin

Hitters

  • Gavin Lux 
  • Edwin Rios

Three of the five-man relief group will presumably start the year in Oklahoma City, while the other two will make the roster. All these players have options, hence why they are on the bubble, and not someone like Jimmy Nelson. 

As for Lux and Rios, it should be Lux’s for the taking, but it would not be surprising to see the Dodgers hold Lux down in an attempt to control his service time. By keeping Lux in the minors for about a month, the Dodgers would gain an extra year of control on Lux’s contract. The Dodgers employed this tactic with Walker Buehler a few years back, and there’s a good chance they do it again. 

Now, take a look at the players on the Dodgers’ 40-man who have essentially no chance at the opening day roster. 

Pitchers

  • Dustin May
  • Victor Gonzalez
  • Brusdar Graterol
  • Dennis Santana
  • Josh Sborz
  • Mitch White

Hitters

  • Keibert Ruiz
  • Zach McKinstry
  • DJ Peters
  • Luke Raley

Some might be surprised to see May on this portion of the roster, but it is widely expected he begins the year in Oklahoma City for a variety of reasons. Including Dave Roberts just stopping short of saying as much.

First, the Dodgers seem locked on keeping May as a starter, and the rotation is already set with Alex Wood and Julio Urías taking up the final two spots. Keeping May down would also give the Dodgers more flexibility down the line in regards to his service time.

Most importantly is May’s health, which isn’t at 100% just yet. May most likely won’t get the necessary reps to be ready for opening day, even if there was a spot in the rotation available.

That’s where the roster stands right now in terms of locks and who’s on the bubble. Keep in mind, it’s not necessarily about getting the best 26 guys on the roster, as other factors come into play such as option years and service time. Don’t fret if your favorite player starts the year in the minors, as the majority of guys on the 40-man will come up at some point in the season.

NEXT: How Does the NL West Stack Up Against Projections

Written by Wyatt Asher

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  1. Lux ripped a ball into the corner and got a triple yesterday. Would have been a double for a lot of players. Also takes pitches just off the plate. Has a good eye. Played short and looked comfortable. These are “passing the eye test” things. Can’t go along with him being on the bubble for opening day. I know the long term plan could be to start him in AAA (like Kris Bryant) to keep free agency further in the distance. But will that backfire for the Cubs? It could. He may rule out Chicago because of that issue. “Team” always works best from the top down. I say if he has a decent spring, keep him up. He showed he was more than capable last year.

  2. Jimmy Nelson is no lock to make the roster. He’s not even healthy enough to throw right now. And we have no idea how good he’ll be when he is healthy enough to throw. He’s nothing more than a lottery ticket.

    • I’ve never been on the Lux bandwagon, but without any infield free agents or trades he defaults to second base, possibly in a platoon with Hernandez who is looking good in spring training. Nelson shouldn’t even be on the team. May should start on DL, and then then join Gonsolin in the bullpen as long releivers, with occasional starts. Floro and Alexander should start in Triple A. They have had plenty of opportunities. The Dodgers need to go with the youth movement which includes May and Gonsolin.

  3. I stop at the starting rotation. I don’t care how great Mookie is, we don’t win the World Series with this current rotation. Two unreliable vets and three unpredictable mid level pitchers. We need an authentic ace, or at minimum three top 20 starting pitchers. We’re in trouble.

    • To which category are you assigning Buehler? There’s maybe a half dozen MLB pitchers that are equal or better. Kershaw may have had his problems but if you don’t consider him in the top 20 of MLB starting pitchers … well OK you’re entitled to your opinion.

    • I concur this team is going nowhere in October and Betts will be gone and Verdugo will be a solid .290 hitter

    • This Dodger team can win it all. Walker Buehler posted a 0.71 ERA vs the Nats last year. Find me a better postseason pitcher.

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