Photo Credit: Jon Soohoo
With Spring Training camp about to break Don Mattingly and the Dodgers front office have some tough decisions to make.
First, the ovious one, the bullpen. With Jansen and League both out, they will have to piece an Opening Day bullpen together that can compete and hold the leads for the first 2 months of the season. J.P Howell to me might be the only "lock" to make the team, other relievers such as: David Aardsma, Pedro Barz, Paco Rodriguez, Sergio Santos, Carlos Frias, Yimi Garcia, Joel Peralta, and Adam Liberator all have a viable chance of breaking with the Major League clubs out of Spring. Dustin McGowan has been cut after a rough spring and Mike Adams has been sent to the minors, with an opt out clause if he doesn't make the big league roster by June 1.
Now, the 5th spot in the rotation. If they teams in healthy the rotation come April 6th will be: Kershaw, Greinke, McCarthy, Anderson. The Dodgers won't need a 5th starter until about the second week of the regular season. Joe Weiland has been optioned to Triple-A but he looked good in today's start versus the Chicago White Sox, only allowing 2 runs in 5 innings of work. Juan Nicasio could also be an option, both to break with the Dodgers and be the 5th starter, as they could use him out of the bullpen and start him when 5th starter is needed. Erik Bedard getting hurt affected his chances of making the club, along with Chad Gaudin they both may start in the minors or be released.
The bench situation may be the toughest of all the decisions Donny will have to make. Justin Turner and Scott Van Slyke will be with the big league club on April 6th, but which other 2 players will join them? If Andre Ethier is not traded we could see him or Joc Pederson as a lefty and Out Fielder off the bench and Dodgers will have to choose between Darwin Barney and Alex Guerrero for the last spot on the bench. But if Ethier is traded or Pederson gets sent to the minors, which could occur just so he can get reps in before Ethier is traded, then both Guerrero and Barney will be with the Big League camp at the end of spring training. Some other players with an outside chance of making the Opening Day roster are: Chris Heisey (OF) , Kike Hernandez (Utl), Darnell Sweeney (Utl), and Scott Schebler (OF).