The Dodgers essentially finalized their 12-man Opening Day pitching staff yesterday when they optioned Adam Liberatore and Josh Fields and informed Julio Urias and Brandon Morrow that they wouldn’t be on the Opening Day 25-man roster.
That leaves Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, and Hyun-Jin Ryu as starters, while Kenley Jansen, Sergio Romo, Grant Dayton, Luis Avilan, Chris Hatcher, and Ross Stripling will come out of the pen. Brandon McCarthy and Alex Wood will battle over the fifth spot in the rotation, and the loser (probably Wood, as we’ve said before) will go to the pen.
With the cuts, the Dodgers are down to 41 players in camp, however that number is essentially 35 when factoring that Scott Kazmir, Pedro Baez, Brock Stewart, and Josh Ravin are all going on the DL, and the aforementioned Urias and Morrow have already been informed they won’t be included on the roster.
This all can be defended when considering the desire to retain as much depth as possible, but one could also easily argue that the exclusion of Urias, Liberatore, and Morrow (or anybody else but Hatcher), plus relegating Wood to the pen are all moves that still make the Dodgers worse than they could potentially be. And that’s just the pitching staff.
McCarthy has won the fourth spot in the rotation, meaning Wood will indeed start in the pen.