If the Dodgers do nothing, this is what I would expect come Spring Training.
1B – Bellinger
2B – Forsythe
3B – JT
SS – Seager
LF – Kike’ and Joc/Toles
CF – Taylor
RF – Puig
C – Barnes
Rotation: Kershaw, Hill, Wood, Maeda, Ryu
Bullpen: Jansen, Baez, Fields, Garcia, Koehler, Stripling, Avilan, Cingrani
Bench: Grandal, 2 of Kike’/Joc/Toles, and Locastro
Grandal and JT can relieve Bellinger at 1B. CT3 and Kike can relieve Corey at SS. Logan and Kike’ can relieve JT at 3rd. Barnes/Kike’/Farmer/CT3 can all play 2B for Logan. Kike’/Toles/Joc can all play LF, CF or RF.
That is a 25 man that can compete right now. Win a WS…?
It does not include Matt Kemp or Brock Stewart. There is no reason to include Kemp in their plans, and Brock Stewart is the #6 in rotation. I think he is better suited for the bullpen, but he needs to be convinced of that. I think he goes back down to OKC to work on his changeup. If he cannot get that to become a legit out pitch, then he should move to the bullpen where he has a chance to do extremely well.
Verdugo should go back to OKC and see if he can get more lift on his swing without significantly increasing his strike outs. I also think he should continue to work on his defense. He has that great 1st step, but he needs to continue to make good routes to the ball. He can go back on a ball, and he has a plus plus plus arm. He is closer to becoming a good MLB OF than any minor league OF not named Victor Robles. Liberatore also goes back to OKC to work his way back up again. Farmer is better suited to go to OKC and work with Buehler, Oaks, Sborz, Sopko (and later White, Alvarez, Urias, Santana, and Ferguson).
I do not know what happens with Font. I do not know if the Dodgers try to sign him to a ML contract and hide him in OKC like they did with Culberson, or if Font says he would rather be a FA. Some ML team will want him. He and Trayce Thompson should be moved for lottery picks if nothing else. I like the prospects of Font in the pen, but if Font is added to the 25 man, who does he replace?
Many have called for a legit #2, but I do not believe that FAZ has any intentions to go in that direction. I am listening to Friedman… Friedman specifically downplayed the notion of adding a starting pitcher this offseason, citing high expectations for young-and-upcoming arms that are already in the organization:
“That’s just being more opportunistic. At some point, we really want to create an opportunity to work in some of our really young, talented, high-upside guys and let them kind of have a little bit of a runway to get acclimated so they can start to establish themselves. We’re really mindful of not just doing something to block a spot. So, if we line up on some guy who slots in at the top of our rotation, or near the top of our rotation, obviously it’s something you have to really consider.” There are only two that have been discussed… Gerrit Cole and Chris Archer. I stay high on Cole and very very mildly interested on Archer. But more importantly, I have not heard anything that might indicate that the Dodgers are in on either. There are too many question marks for both. FAZ would certainly take a call on Sale/Kluber/Keuchel/Bumgarner, but realistically the Dodgers will wait on Buehler/Urias/Oaks/White/Santana.
My one concern with the current Dodgers rotation is that it is too Left Handed. With the number of RH power bats in the NL West, they could use another RHSP.
The Dodgers could use a RH power bat for the middle of the lineup. But for now that is going to have to be Puig. I know many believe that Belly needs to be protected in the lineup, but he needs to mature and learn to protect himself. Do only what he can do, nothing more.
The Dodgers need the bridge to Jansen, but have needed it the last two years and have found that guy. I know many are unconvinced with Koehler, but those same people felt the same about Blanton and Morrow before they became that bridge. I do not know if Koehler is legit, but I am convinced that FAZ believes that Koehler/Cingrani/Garcia can be that bridge. And we know that Doc strongly believes in Baez. With the number of reliever options the Dodgers have, I think they are done with ML significant additions to the bullpen.
The one change that I do see potentially is the addition of a LH hitting or SH middle infielder. Both Jace Peterson and Erick Aybar fill that role. I like Locastro but I think he is better served to go back to OKC to continue his evolution into the super utility player. He brings a different skill set to the utility role than Kike’. Kike’ has the power, but Locastro has the speed to offset that.
One other change I would like to see is the emphasis on the bunt to counteract the shift.
I do expect to see a number of minor league contracts for borderline MLB SP, RP, and middle infielders (like LHP Henry Owens who they just picked up). OKC will again be a place to keep ML ready “just in case” players while the prospects continue to percolate at Tulsa. I would like to see Edwin Rios play 3B until he plays himself out of 3B. Matt Beaty will work on becoming an OF at OKC to increase his value. He is another of those #25/#26 players that should move up and down. The same with Rob Segedin who does have options remaining.
Now if FAZ can unload Kemp quickly….