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It's a beautiful day for a ballgame, and a guess at the 25-man roster

James Today is the first spring game of the season for the Dodgers, which makes it an absolutely perfect time to play that impossible guessing game:

The final 25-man roster.

This is positively, absolutely guaranteed not to be the 25 guys the Dodgers open the regular season with.

Too much will happen over the next four weeks. Someone will get hurt. Someone will surprise. Someone will disappoint. There could be a trade.

But guessing before they play a single spring game is the fun of it. So here’s one guess:

Pitchers (12): Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, Vicente Padilla, James McDonald, Eric Stults, Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo, George Sherrill, Ronald Belisario, Ramon Troncoso, Jeff Weaver.
Catchers (2): Russell Martin, Brad Ausmus.

Infielders (6): James Loney, Blake DeWitt, Rafael Furcal, Casey Blake, Jamey Carroll, Ronnie Belliard.

Outfielders (5): Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Reed Johnson, Garret Anderson.

Even though overall the Dodgers have a pretty set team, there are all sorts of ways where this scenario could go haywire.

The pitching staff leaves out Eric Gagne and Corey Wade, both of whom will have an opportunity to make a case for themselves, and left-hander Scott Elbert, their Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

I like McDonald to win the fifth spot, though it could go to Stults. The loser becomes a long reliever. Not the best for Stults, but he’s out of options.

The bullpen also requires that Belisario actually shows up to camp sometime before the season opener.

I’m betting DeWitt wins the starting second base job. At least, I have to believe the Dodgers want a still young prospect to capture it over Carroll and Belliard, which leaves them as the extra infielders.

The starting outfield is set, with Johnson the utility guy. Anderson looks like the best bet as the left-handed pinch-hitter who can also play the outfield. I’m thinking Brian Giles is done.

This would leave out Doug Mientkiewicz, which could prove difficult. He’s a more natural replacement for Loney at first than either Carroll or Belliard.

I could be off five players, or come pretty close. But these are my predictions, at least until the first spring pitch is thrown. Then I reserve the right for an immediate baseball mulligan.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: James McDonald. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire

Comments () | Archives (8)

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You've got to make room for that Montesario kid that has to be on the roster all year or we lose him. Lose Weeaver. He's toast. And we lose both Haeger and Stultz who are out of options with this suggested 25 man roster.

I think you've got to give Haeger a shot. Charlie Hough said he has the best dancer he's ever seen , particularly from a pitcher this young. With all the hard throwers on the staff he's the perfect change of pace. But adding a dancer pitcher to a staff that throws as hard as the rest of our pitchers do (for the most part, anyway) should make all of them, including the knuckle ball pitcher that much better. Remember how we brought Pedro Martinez in after Candiotti had thrown dancers for 7 innings? Made his 97 mph heater look like 107 mph. Either use him as a starter or a set up relief pitcher and you’ve really got something (if you bring Broxton in after he’s pitched.) But you’ve got to use him regularly so he gets confidence at the major league level and keeps his dancer “grooved”.

I'd hate to see a pitcher of his quality simply walk away and win 16 games for the Red Sox next year. The kid showed he can do it all at AAA last year and during his brief "cup of coffee" with the big club.

Leave McDonald at AAA and cut "Geezer" Weaver to make room for these two.

Then, if Gagne is really getting his stuff back, carry a 13th arm and let him pitch as a set up man. Can you imagine having both Broxton and Gagne throwing gas out of the pen in the 8th and 9th? Maybe Gagne can teach Broxton and Kurveshaw how to throw a change up while he's at it.

We're going to need to carry 13 pitchers anyway the way Joe Torre over uses his bullpen. Otherwise we're going to see some elite arms fall off before September 1st.

I would agree with this guess at the 25-man roster.
I'll take Anderson over Giles and Meinkevitch, although it would be nice to also keep Meinkevitch- a gamer who plays with a lot of heart.

I pray to god that Russ and Ramon Ortiz don't make the team.

Hmm, I think I agree with virtually all of your picks...and as you said, injuries could play a huge part on who makes the final list. That being said, I've already gone on the record here as saying that I think Doug Mientkiewicz will be the left-handed bat off the bench. Sure, Garret Anderson is a very good hitter, but as I've also stated here, he needs to play a lot to stay sharp, and that won't be happening. For one thing, Reed Johnson is the fourth outfielder. However, if Anderson were to play some left field, he might be an improvement over the starter (sorry about that, all you Manny fans). As for Mientkiewicz, he's a good hitter as well as a very good first baseman...oh, and Torre likes him.

I'm writing this after the game and to me I don't think this game changed the scenario.

Weaver was more valuable last year than a lot of people want to give him credit for. Every team needs an inning eater live Weaver who can spot start, and pitch in blowouts.

Well thought out 25 man roster you have presented.
My own thoughts focus on a few positions...
Back up center field - Who replaces Kemp? None of the other outfielders are reliable enough in center defensively.
Back up shortstop - Who can handle that position? None of the infielders are adequate defensively at short besides Furcal. Xavier Paul cannot sub at Center either
I think you can drop one outfielder in favor of a defensive center back up. Casey Blake last year was considered a back up corner outfielder and DeWitt can cover Third if that happens. That leaves an infield position for a shortstop back-up (DeJesus, Hu)
On a lower level, if you need a power hitting sub for Loney - who? Again maybe Blake substituting at 1st with Dewitt at 3rd

No Luis Ayala?

Good analysis, Steve. Here's another take at the roster w/ analysis:


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