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