Justin Turner – Coming off a career year in which he slashed .340/.404/.493 and accumulated 4.3 WAR, Turner is the surest bet to return to the Dodgers’ bench in 2015. After getting non-tendered by the New York Mets in late-2013, Los Angeles inked Turner to a Minor League contract and gave him an opportunity to compete for a roster spot.
While it’s unlikely Turner will replicate his 2014 season, he should still serve as a quality utility player for the Dodgers going forward. Needless to say, this was one of former general manager Ned Colletti’s best signings during his tenure.
Scott Van Slyke – Van Slyke, known as a lefty masher, carried that reputation into the 2014 season and did not disappoint. In 130 plate appearances against southpaws, he slashed .315/.415/.630 and totaled 18 extra-base hits.
Van Slyke also had surprising success against right-handed pitchers, with the help of an unsustainable .413 BABIP, slashing .279/.353/.413 in 116 plate appearances. All-in-all, he should form a nice platoon with Carl Crawford in left field this season and could see occasional time at first base when Adrian Gonzalez is in need of a day off.
A.J. Ellis – Ellis isn’t necessarily a “utility player”, but with Yasmani Grandal on board, he may see the majority of his playing time against left-handed pitching or exclusively during Clayton Kershaw starts.
Last season was disappointing for Ellis (.577 OPS in 347 plate appearances, threw out just 25 percent of baserunners), but he returns to the Dodgers in full health and is expected to rebound. More days off will presumably do the almost 34-year-old well, as he’ll be more fresh during the games he starts. Even if the struggles continue, Ellis will still be a clear-cut upgrade over Drew Butera and Tim Federowicz.
Unlike last season, the Dodgers are loaded with depth and have plenty of options to choose from, much to the work of president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi.
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