Dodgers finalize 25-man roster for Opening Day

Too much is made about Opening Day rosters because injuries, performance and attrition will alter how the roster looks throughout the season.

Sure, it’s disappointing when some guys don’t make the Opening Day roster, but it isn’t the end of the world. A significant number of players  — especially relief pitchers — will not finish the season without injury or on the 25-man roster.

Catchers/Infielders (9)

Darwin Barney
A.J. Ellis
Adrian Gonzalez
Yasmani Grandal
Alex Guerrero
Howie Kendrick
Jimmy Rollins
Justin Turner
Juan Uribe

Outfielders (5)

Carl Crawford
Andre Ethier

Joc Pederson
Yasiel Puig
Scott Van Slyke

Starting pitchers (4)

Brett Anderson
Zack Greinke
Clayton Kershaw
Brandon McCarthy

Relief pitchers (7)

Pedro Baez
Yimi Garcia
Chris Hatcher
J.P. Howell
Juan Nicasio
Joel Peralta
Paco Rodriguez

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Not many surprises on the offensive side. We knew Guerrero, barring a trade or an earlier Hector Olivera signing, as going to make it because of the clause in his contract. The biggest surprise is the team keeping Barney on the active roster. It’s nice that he won’t take a starting spot in Triple-A from a guy like Erisbel Arruebarrena, Enrique Hernandez, Corey Seager or Darnell Sweeney, but he’s occupying a valuable bench spot — and is the most likely candidate to be optioned when the Dodgers need a fifth starter on April 14 (more on that in a moment). While Barney is a great defender, I don’t foresee Kendrick or Rollins needing a day off in the season’s first eight days. It might have made more sense to carry an extra pitcher, but it isn’t going to determine the outcome of the season, either.

As for the pitchers, I was surprised Baez made it ahead of guys like David Aardsma and Sergio Santos, but those guys all have opt-out clauses in their deals come May 1, so the Dodgers can delay a 25-man decision for them until that time. Garcia pitched incredibly well in spring training and absolutely earned a spot. There’s a lot of potential there. I also thought David Huff might get a look, but he’ll help to fortify the Oklahoma City bullpen for the time being.

Speaking of fortification, the Dodgers acquired left-hander Rudy Owens from the A’s on Saturday. Owens has started 140 of his 149 minor-league appearances and made his MLB debut with the Astros last year. He posted some decent numbers in 781 1/3 minor-league innings (1.18 WHIP, 0.7 HR/9, 2.0 BB/9, 3.47 K/BB), but he also didn’t miss a lot of bats (6.9 K/9). This, coupled with the Scott Baker acquisition on Friday, means the Dodgers have a ton of pitching depth in the minors (and my roster predictions are sure to take a hit because of it).

As for the fifth starter on April 14, it seems Joe Wieland is in line to take that start. The only other two I could realistically see getting the start are Mike Bolsinger or Huff. But Wieland impressed in spring training and one of the pieces in the Matt Kemp trade. The front office probably would like to see what it has in Wieland sooner rather than later.

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This is the deepest the Dodgers have been at the MLB, Triple-A and even Double-A level in quite some time. They aren’t relying on prospects or washed-up, Quad-A veterans to fill roster spots at all three levels. There are quality players who might have broken camp with other teams. This is only a good thing and just shows the marked improvement of this front office over previous regimes.

First pitch is in six hours. BASEBALL

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.