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Who will be on LA's Opening Day roster?

@kengurnick
January 22, 2020

LOS ANGELES -- Rumors of a marquee acquisition have teased Dodgers fans all offseason, but coming off a 106-win regular season, it’s not like a teardown is in order. Since a bitter first-round elimination in the postseason, the Dodgers have made few roster moves. They’re giving non-tendered reliever Blake Treinen

LOS ANGELES -- Rumors of a marquee acquisition have teased Dodgers fans all offseason, but coming off a 106-win regular season, it’s not like a teardown is in order.

Since a bitter first-round elimination in the postseason, the Dodgers have made few roster moves. They’re giving non-tendered reliever Blake Treinen and starting pitchers Alex Wood (his second L.A. stint) and Jimmy Nelson (also non-tendered) opportunities for bounce-back seasons, hoping Treinen can bolster a shaky bullpen and the Wood/Nelson pairing can help offset the loss of Cy Young runner-up Hyun-Jin Ryu.

In addition to Ryu, they lost free-agent starting pitcher Rich Hill, backup catcher Russell Martin is an unsigned free agent and relievers Yimi Garcia and JT Chargois are elsewhere.

As usually is the case with the Dodgers during the offseason, they’ve been linked to every big-name free agent (underbidding for Gerrit Cole) and trade target, but have added none.

Pitchers

Locks: Pedro Báez, Walker Buehler, Kenley Jansen, Blake Treinen, Joe Kelly, Clayton Kershaw, Adam Kolarek, Kenta Maeda, Ross Stripling, Julio Urías

Possibilities: Scott Alexander, Caleb Ferguson, Dylan Floro, Victor Gonzalez, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, Jimmy Nelson, Casey Sadler, Dennis Santana, Josh Sborz, Mitchell White, Alex Wood

Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw anchor a rotation that loses Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill. Wood and Nelson will compete in the Spring with Julio Urías, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin for open spots. Of course, it’s the bullpen that has everybody worried, especially if Kenley Jansen can’t regain his All-Star form. Joe Kelly’s first season left the Dodgers wondering what to expect, while the club’s vague explanations left the rest of us wondering if he’s healthy or hurt. Treinen is a wild card after following his dominant 2018 with a poor '19.

Catchers
Locks: Will Smith
Possibilities: Austin Barnes, Keibert Ruiz

Judging from the postseason, management is committed to Smith, ready or not. The backup job appears to be Barnes’ to lose, as no veteran has arrived to replace free agent Martin.

Infielders
Locks: Enrique Hernández, Max Muncy, Gavin Lux, Corey Seager, Justin Turner
Possibilities: Matt Beaty, Zach McKinstry, Edwin Ríos

If the club is concerned with Turner’s defensive metrics at third base, the simple solution is for everybody to slide over -- Muncy to second, Lux to short, Seager to third and Turner to first. Seager’s resistance to a move complicates things.

Outfielders
Locks: Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson, A.J. Pollock, Chris Taylor, Alex Verdugo
Possibilities: Kyle Garlick, DJ Peters

The club heads into the season with Bellinger the likely center fielder, Pederson in right field (if he isn’t traded) and Verdugo at least platooning in left field with Pollock. But with the Dodgers, there is no depth chart as they shuffle everybody all over the place from one day to the next. That includes Taylor and Hernández taking turns in the outfield. Beaty can play the corners in the infield and outfield. There seems to be no expectation for a return by Andrew Toles, who missed the season with personal issues.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.