With the Los Angeles Dodgers in the midst of their final regular-season series, plenty of focus has already shifted over to the postseason and National League Division Series matchup against the New York Mets.
Once Game 1 of the NLDS rolls around on Friday, Oct. 9, the Dodgers and others in the playoffs will have cut their rosters down to 25 men. That of course is a stark difference than the upwards of 30-35 players that littered MLB rosters during the final month of the regular season.
For an organization such as the Dodgers that’s focused on carrying as much depth and talent as possible, settling on a postseason roster can make for difficult decisions. While that may hold true, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly indicated Friday only a handful of choices are left to be made.
“I’d say we got 21-22 pretty well set,” he said. “There’s a few spots open.” Last season the Dodgers carried 12 pitches (four starters; eight relievers) and 13 position players for their NLDS matchup with the St. Louis Cardinals.
In 2013 against the Atlanta Braves, the Dodgers elected to go with 11 pitchers (four starters; seven relievers) and 14 positions players. Andre Ethier was battling a sprained ankle when the NLDS began, and it limited him to pinch-hit duty in the four-game series.
Corey Seager has presumably played his way onto the roster, leaving the outfield picture and bullpen as the most unsettled. Which outfielders to carry has been muddied in a sense with Yasiel Puig making a dramatic turn in his recovery from a sprained hamstring.
Puig was reinstated from the disabled list on Saturday and played against the Padres. Mattingly will spend the weekend looking to get a final glimpse at those who are in contention for one of the final spots on the NLDS roster.
“I think we kind of know for the most part, but we’ll try to keep looking at a couple different guys to see where they are at,” the fifth-year manager said. “The last couple spots are tough ones, depends if you go extra player or extra pitcher. You’re just trying to look at guys that you feel are on the bubble.”
Clubs are permitted to alter their 25-man roster prior to the start of each series.