White Sox @ Dodgers Feb. 23, 2018: Baseball is back-ish

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

If you want to get technical about things, yes, baseball is back. It’s baseball that doesn’t count toward much, but it’s still baseball. You know, if you’re over the gut-wrenching defeat fewer than four months ago.

White Sox
Dodgers
12:05 PM PT
Glendale, Ariz.
3B
Sanchez
CF
Taylor
SS
Anderson
DH
 Seager
1B
Abreu
3B
Turner
RF
Garcia
1B
Bellinger
2B
Moncada
LF
Kemp
DH
Delmonico
C
Grandal
LF
Cordell 2B Forsythe
C
Smith
SS
Hernandez
CF
Engel
RF
Thompson
P
Covey (R)
P
Font (R)

The Dodgers are “hosting” the White Sox at Camelback Ranch, which is the default opening matchup of Cactus League play for both teams.

Wilmer Font is getting the start for the Dodgers, which makes some sense. He’s out of minor-league options, so this spring is an audition of sorts for him. There’s no way he’d clear waivers, so if the Dodgers think he’s worth keeping, he’ll have to open the season in Los Angeles, not Oklahoma City. How he performs this spring could could a long way to determining that.

As for the lineup, well, there’s a lot of familiar names in there and one old friend — Matt Kemp. I’m as surprised as you are that he’s still with the organization after the Dodgers acquired him in the money swap deal with the Braves back in December. All reports say he’s trimmed down and happy to be back in Los Angeles. We’ll see how long that sentiment lasts, if he’s still with the team in a five weeks. I want to believe, but I’m not getting my hopes up at all.

Trayce Thompson also draws a start. He’s in the same situation as Font — he’s out of options. With Thompson, though, there’s a greater chance he slips through waivers unclaimed. Then again, teams tend to bet on athleticism, so a second-division team snatching him up wouldn’t be terribly surprising. I believe there’s still an everyday player in that frame, but he needs to prove he’s healthy to fulfill that potential. I’m not fully confident he’ll be in the organization when the season starts, but a strong spring showing could make that more likely.

Corey Seager is the designated hitter because he’s still not throwing from more than 100 feet. He’ll build up this month and be ready for Opening Day. He didn’t have surgery on the elbow over the winter, so he (and the Dodgers) are reasonably confident he’ll be OK.

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J.T. Chargois is apparently a person who plays baseball. Julio Urias is also a person who plays baseball, but he won’t be until July or August (and the Dodgers needed the 40-man roster spot). Chargois, a 2nd-rounder in 2012 out of Rice University (oof) made 25 appearances for the Twins in 2016 and posted a 4.70 ERA and 3.36 FIP. He posted a 28.3 strikeout percentage in 113 1/3 minor-league innings with his high-90s fastball (96.2 MPH in his MLB debut) and high-80s slider. He missed almost all of 2017 with elbow issues and seems like the prototypical guy the Dodgers like to take a flyer on, so this shouldn’t be a surprising acquisition.

Brandon Warne of Zone Coverage chimes in on Chargois.

“Chargois didn’t appear at all with the Twins in 2017 after a promising end to the 2016 season due to elbow issues, and his current health is unclear at this point. This likely means one of two things for Chargois: 1. The Twins are hoping he sneaks through waivers because he’s been hurt and thus doesn’t give much for opposing teams to grade him on as far as whether/not to acquire him. 2. He still may not be fully healthy. Obviously, neither scenario would be ideal for Chargois, a promising relief prospect with big-time stuff who posted a 2.82 ERA in 22.1 innings after a disastrous first outing in the big leagues back in 2016. September of that season was especially good for Chargois that year, as he not only posted a 2.84 ERA but also had a 0.95 WHIP and more strikeouts (13) than innings pitched (12.2). The lack of health angle doesn’t make too much sense given the fact that the Twins could simply put him back on the 60-day DL — where he spent most of last season, and as they have already with Michael Pineda and Trevor May — but what this ultimately leads one to conclude is the team probably has another move coming not far into the future.”

Chargois has one minor-league option remaining, so he’ll spend a lot of time in Oklahoma City in 2018.

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I haven’t had a chance to read this yet, but I’m sure it’s great and you should read it.

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Let’s baseball, I guess.

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.