Dodgers' Opening Day roster bursting at seams

Kemp's spring success makes outfield more crowded

March 13th, 2018

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When the Dodgers opened Spring Training, outfielder Matt Kemp had something to prove and free-agent signee Tom Koehler had a bullpen spot.

Two weeks into Cactus League games, Kemp seems to have earned at least a share of the left-field job (if he isn't traded), and Koehler has his right arm in a sling indefinitely.

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Otherwise, the starting rotation and catching are set. So is the infield, as long as 's right elbow cooperates. The most robust competition is for the left-field spot and now the bullpen with Koehler's slot unexpectedly available. Here's a look at where the Dodgers' 25-man Opening Day roster stands.

Catcher (2): ,

Despite an 0-for-11 spring start, Grandal's bat has caught fire -- and he has the added motivation of pending free agency. Meanwhile, although Barnes emerged as the postseason starter by outplaying Grandal down the stretch, he showed up with a sore right elbow and only recently has been able to throw in games. A platoon is the likely result.

First base (1): 

Bellinger's disappointing postseason has carried over to this spring, as he's batting .208 with nine strikeouts in 24 at-bats. He bulked up in the offseason to avoid the dreaded sophomore jinx.

Second base (1): ,

Forsythe made late-season swing adjustments that have the club convinced he will provide more offense this year, which is why it picked up his option. Utley is the clubhouse role model.

Third base (1):

The complete package: Clutch hitter, ironclad defender, silently plays hurt, a respected clubhouse presence.

Shortstop (1): Seager

Seager's elbow will be a constant concern, but his bat is awakening.

Utility (1): 

Hernandez can play all over the diamond and can hit any left-handed pitcher.

Outfield (5): , Chris Taylor, Kemp, , ,

Puig will start in right, Taylor in center, then it gets fuzzy. Kemp's offense should outweigh defensive slippage. Toles appears completely recovered from major knee surgery. is doing everything he didn't do in his September callup. Pederson is struggling again at the plate. Thompson is hitting for average, but not power.

Starting pitching (5): , Alex Wood, , Rich Hill,

They seem set, but looks ready if the club can keep him healthy in the Minors. The same was said a year ago with , but he blew out his left shoulder.

Bullpen (8):  , , Tony Cingrani,

They're in. , J.T. Chargois, , Josh Fields, and  will battle for the remaining spots. In theory, Alexander proves to be an upgrade from , but Koehler's injury means they're still looking for the next . It might be Chargois. As always, Baez is the wild card.