Dodgers: What Would the Roster Look Like if Opening Day was Today?
It goes without saying that this offseason has been nightmarishly slow. The Dodgers have brought in a few low risk, high reward bullpen arms but that’s about it in terms of real player movement. With no end in sight for the coldest hot stove in recent memory, it seemed like as good a time as any to play around with the roster as it sits now.
Justin Turner is gone. Enrique Hernández is gone. Blake Treinen is gone… what do the Dodgers have left? And what would a potential 25-man roster look like if opening day was today?
Let’s have some fun.
- Clayton Kershaw (LHP)
- Walker Buehler (RHP)
- David Price (LHP)
- Julio Urias (LHP)
- Dustin May (RHP)
- Tony Gonsolin (RHP)
- Victor González (LHP)
- Corey Knebel (RHP)
- Dylan Floro (RHP)
- Scott Alexander (LHP)
- Joe Kelly (RHP)
- Brusday Graterol (RHP)
- Kenley Jansen (RHP)
If MLB indeed goes back to 25 players on the active roster, expect the Dodgers to stick with 13 pitchers. Most of these spots are all but locked in, with the exception being the left-handed relievers. Last season, Victor González raised some eyebrows with his incredible postseason. That confidence boost should bode well for him as he competes with Adam Kolarek for one of the final roster spots. Caleb Ferguson, of course, will miss the 2021 season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
As for the rest of the pitching group, this is as stacked as it gets. If Corey Knebel can find his All-Star productivity once again, this group will be unstoppable. But even if he doesn’t, González, Kelly, and Graterol make one excellent bridge to the expected closer Kenley Jansen.
Honorable Mentions: Adam Kolarek, Caleb Ferguson, Mitch White
Related: Dodgers 2021 Closer Options
Position Players (12)
- Max Muncy
- Gavin Lux
- Corey Seager
- Edwin Ríos
- Chris Taylor
- AJ Pollock
- Cody Bellinger
- Mookie Betts
- Will Smith
- Austin Barnes
- Matt Beaty
- Zack McKinstry
Assuming that Justin Turner, Joc Pederson, and Kike Hernández move on in free agency, the positional depth will have a new look in 2021. Edwin Ríos seems primed to step in at third while Zach McKinstry would appear to be the replacement for Hernández.
While these two cannot replace everything that Turner and Hernández brought to the Dodgers, it wouldn’t be the worst dropoff either.
Ríos offers incredible offensive potential while being serviceable at the hot corner and McKinstry has yet to be given a true chance to show what he can do with a consistent role. With all of the outfield depth that the Dodgers have, Joc Pederson’s departure would not have that big of an impact on the overall quality of the roster.
Additionally, former top prospect Gavin Lux will likely be given a long leash at second base as he looks to re-establish himself after a down season.
At the end of the day, a majority of the 2020 core will be returning and should enjoy another successful season in 2021.
Honorable Mentions: DJ Peters, Luke Raley, Keibert Ruiz
Related: Digging into Gavin Lux’s Case as a Prime Bounce Back Candidate for 2021
- RF – Mookie Betts (R)
- SS – Corey Seager (L)
- LF – AJ Pollock (R)
- CF – Cody Bellinger (L)
- 1B – Max Muncy (L)
- C – Will Smith (R)
- 3B – Edwin Rios (L)
- 2B – Gavin Lux (L)
Taking one look at the potential starting 9, you can see why Andrew Friedman remains interested in acquiring another right-handed bat. After multiple seasons with enough depth to alternate spots in the order, the Dodgers would only have three righties in their most potent lineup.
This isn’t the ultimate crisis, as every batter in that lineup would be a tough out for any pitcher, but the Dodgers thrive on depth. One option would be to replace Edwin Rios with Chris Taylor, but that limits the offensive potential more than you would like.
A player like Nolan Arenado, for example, would fill in perfectly at third base and take care of this issue perfectly. But the odds of another blockbuster move by LA when so many of their young core are expecting paydays soon remain thin.
With a few months before players begin to report for Spring Training, there is plenty of time for things to chance and players to be signed and/or traded away. The Dodgers still have 3 open spots on their 40-man roster, meaning that they have their eyes on a player or two that can be a difference-maker in 2021.
Even if Andrew Friedman is indeed finished making moves before the season begins, this group of 25 men is more than capable of leading the Dodgers on another World Series run. Such is the life of a perennial contender like Los Angeles.
NEXT: Dave Roberts Talks Corey Seager and the Chip on His Shoulder
It’s a strong lineup, additions now would be icing. Bringing Turner back for two years plus team option would take care of two questions without hamstringing the team with a big contract to either Lindor or Arenado.
Sign Turner 2-3 years with lower AAV if 3 years. Sign Hendriks 3-4 years and Treinen for 2 years. Then we have the 4th 40 man roster when Ferguson is placed on 60 days disable list(Tommy John surgery).
I’ll tell you how it’d look like. It’d look awesome. It’d look like the envy of the league.
Surely Kolarek would be on the roster instead of Alexander. If Pollock bats third on a regular basis we, are in a world of hurt. Why would Bellinger suddenly move around Muncy and Smith after it didn’t work that way last year?
all left-handed hitting infield is a bit odd, but taylor will get cycled in.
Will Smith AND Edwin Rios at third (mostly Smith since he bats right) and put Keibert Ruiz on the roster instead of Beaty (although Beaty deserves better). Rios has to get 500 AB’s.
One thing for sure is that lineup above is too left handed heavy for my liking. Dodgers must re-sign Turner AND obtain another RHB or this team will struggle against the good LHP in the league and teams will make sure they have enough lefties on their staffs to combat this suggested lineup. Dodgers won WS in 2020 but what a struggle it was when Snell was on the mound. To conclude, JT and Hernandez cannot be replaced by another2 LHB on this roster as I see it.
If Justin Turner doesn’t resign, a good back up plan is to get David Freese out of retirement, have him platoon third base with Chris Taylor/Lux. Freese even at 37, 38 can still hit above average. Sign him for a one year minimum deal, a good risk with lots of upside.
I STRONGLY concur with those who want to re-sign JT for at least 2, possibly 3 years. Rios has great offensive abilities but he falls very short on the many plusses that Turner brings every game, series & season. I also like the idea of re-signing Freese to at least one season. Very clutch, seasoned pro.
The team that exists today is not enough for 2021. I’d be all in on LeMahieu. The lineup card would have a top four of Betts, Seager, LeMahieu and Bellinger. Secondly, give Turner his three years. Give Seager a long term contract and the same for Buehler next year. Then you will be solid for the next three years. The bull pen could improve but with Urias’ development and May and Gosolin behind the big three if Price joins in that leaves just six or seven relief spots and with what we got it could improve but its still enough. Gray is going to fit in somewhere later in the season and winning the division if that happens the pitching staff puts a couple of starters into the bull pen and that with the power house lineup above would be impressive. But in my mind it starts with adding LeMahiue probably at second but he can play almost anywhere.
Of all the minor leaguers, the switch-hitting Ruiz has earned a shot. Assuming he’s healthy, either play Ruiz or trade him.
Carrying three catchers could keep each rested and enable Smith to get occasional starts at 3B and Barnes to get action at 2B (his original position). Barnes is fast and athletic enough to play LF on occasion, while Smith could DH in interleague play.
Beatty, now the “emergency” catcher, would be odd man out and could be traded for a prospect.