Dodgers announce roster for home opener

March 28th, 2024

The regular season is already underway for the Dodgers after splitting two games against the Padres in the Seoul Series, but with the home opener against the Cardinals on Thursday, there's another opportunity to name an Opening Day roster.

Here is that 26-man crew:

Catcher (2): ,
Despite an offseason of a lot of changes, the Dodgers are going into the 2024 season with the same two catchers in Barnes and Smith. Smith took another step in ‘23, becoming an All-Star for the first time in his career. He’s widely viewed as one of the best-hitting catchers in the Majors. Barnes struggled at the plate in ‘23, but he still brings a lot of value as a pitch-caller and framer behind the dish.

First baseman (1):
Freeman has been nothing short of remarkable since he joined the Dodgers before the 2022 season. He hit 50 homers and posted a .948 OPS over his first two seasons with the club.

Second baseman (1):
Lux came into camp as the starting shortstop, but after a few games at the position, the Dodgers decided to move him back to second base in order to help some of the throwing woes that have plagued him this spring. At the plate, Lux has been impressive, especially considering he missed the entire 2023 season after tearing his right ACL and LCL.

Shortstop (2): ,
With Lux at second base now, the Dodgers flipped Betts to the other side of second base, making him the primary shortstop for the first time in his pro career. Betts played 16 games at short last season with mixed results, but the Dodgers are confident that the six-time Gold Glove Award winner in right field will adjust at his new position the more he plays it this season. If Betts can’t handle the everyday demands of perhaps the toughest position on the field, the Dodgers have Rojas to back him up.

Third baseman (1): Max Muncy
Muncy has been the Dodgers’ starting third baseman for the past few seasons, and that won’t change in ‘24. Muncy came into camp 15 pounds lighter than where he was last season and showed improvement defensively this spring.

Outfielders (3): , ,
Outman took full advantage of his opportunity in 2023 to become the Dodgers’ everyday center fielder. That will continue this season. In right field, Heyward had a resurgent season last year and will handle most of those duties in ‘24 with Betts moving to shortstop.

Hernández was brought in on a one-year deal to play against righties and lefties. The Dodgers would’ve had Manuel Margot on the roster, but the veteran outfielder was dealt to the Twins on Feb. 26.

Designated hitter (1):
Ohtani won’t pitch in 2024 as he recovers from a second major right elbow injury, but he’ll still be one of the most feared designated hitters in the Majors. Los Angeles’ new $700 million man will hit atop the lineup for a long time.

Utility (2): Kiké Hernández,
Taylor has bounced around positions throughout his career, and it’s how he brings the most value to the roster. With the Dodgers having a lot of moving parts, Taylor will once again be a super-utility man.

He’ll have some company as Hernández returned to the Dodgers on a one-year deal on Feb. 26. Kiké should get a lot of time in center field against left-handed pitching, but he will also play third, second and short.

Starting pitchers (5): , , , ,
Glasnow and Yamamoto were the two starters vs. the Padres in Seoul, but there's a slight adjustment to the rotation for the Opening Series.

Miller will get the call Friday, while Yamamoto will pitch on Saturday. The switch was intended to give Yamamoto extra rest and help ease his transition from Nippon Professional Baseball.

Rounding out the rotation is Stone -- who will pitch in the finale on Sunday -- and Paxton. Stone and Michael Grove were competing for the No. 5 spot in the rotation but the Dodgers opted for Stone. Paxton is slated to pitch in the series opener against the Giants at Dodger Stadium next Monday.

Relief pitchers (8): , , , , , , ,
won't be on the roster due to hip discomfort and right shoulder soreness. He'll be sidelined for at least a few weeks. will be left off the roster too, as the right-hander is not recovering as expected from a bruised lung suffered from a comebacker on March 9.

Filling those two spots will be Grove and Hurt. Grove was competing with Stone for a rotation spot but will instead slide to the bullpen. Hurt made a brief MLB cameo last season (two innings) but figures to play a much larger role given his track record in the Minors.