Ryan Pepiot, Andre Jackson, Phil Bickford win last spots, 26-man roster set for Opening Day

Well, that escalated quickly.

Forgoing any tension about the roster the day after solidifying the position players for Opening Day, the Dodgers have announced the Ryan Pepiot has won the battle for the last rotation spot and Andre Jackson has won the last pen spot. Phil Bickford wasn’t even mentioned as winning a spot, as it apparently was just presumed he would be on the team.


Dave Roberts spoke on the choice of Pepiot, who has a 3.29 ERA in 13.2 innings this Spring.

“They both earned that opportunity. Probably the toughest decision we had to think through,” Roberts said. “I guess, to put it more simply, we just felt Ryan outperformed Michael this spring. … We just felt it was the right decision at this point in time.”

Most relevantly? His command has taken steps forward, as he walked just five compared to 19 strikeouts.

“He’s made huge strides,” Roberts said. “And I say that with the mechanics. The delivery is a lot more consistent. There just seems to be more clarity and things have slowed down for him. We just feel like his stuff plays at the Major League level.”

As far as Jackson goes, they are going to use him as a long-man out of the pen.

“To have a guy that can give you 75 pitches is really meaningful,” Roberts said. “Andre has earned the opportunity to be the length guy on our roster.”

Gonna be honest, I had not paid a ton of attention to Jackson so far this Spring, as I thought he was a bit of a long shot after a rough 2022 (5 ERA in AAA) and his stuff took a step back. However, he has shown out in Spring Training, posting a 1.17 ERA in 7.2 innings with just a single walk and 10 strikeouts.

The other day I mentioned that it was seven pitchers competing for three spots, but I guess with Phil Bickford out of options, it was never much of a competition to begin with. Phil has a 5.68 ERA in 6.1 innings this Spring with two walks and three strikeouts. They don’t want to give him up for nothing after the season he had in 2021, but if he gets off to a slow start it could force their hand anyway. He likely has until one of Daniel Hudson, Jimmy Nelson, Tony Gonsolin, or Alex Reyes gets healthy to prove himself.

Related to all this, Victor Gonzalez and Michael Grove were optioned to the minors, and Tayler Scott and Wander Suero being reassigned seems like formalities at this point.


2023 Dodgers 26-Man Opening Day Roster

Catchers: Will Smith, Austin Barnes
Infielders: Freddie Freeman, Miguel Vargas, Miguel Rojas, Max Muncy
Outfielders: Mookie Betts, David Peralta, James Outman, Trayce Thompson, Jason Heyward
Utility: Chris Taylor
Designated Hitter: J.D. Martinez

Starters: Julio Urias, Clayton Kershaw, Dustin May, Noah Syndergaard, Ryan Pepiot
Bullpen: Evan Phillips, Brusdar Graterol, Yency Almonte, Caleb Ferguson, Alex Vesia, Shelby Miller, Phil Bickford, Andre Jackson


Let’s go.

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