Predicting the Dodgers' Opening Day roster

February 9th, 2024

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Pitchers and catchers went through their first full workout at Camelback Ranch on Friday, the start of what promises to be one of the most anticipated seasons in Major League history.

But before the Dodgers embark on a long season that will be loaded with attention, they still need to make some roster decisions before Opening Day on March 20 in Seoul, South Korea, against the Padres.

While Los Angeles still has more than a month to figure all of that out, let’s take an early look at what the 26-man roster could look like on Opening Day:

Catcher (2): ,
Despite an offseason of a lot of changes, the Dodgers will go into the 2024 season with the same two catchers in Smith and Barnes. 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):
Betts has been one of the best right fielders in the Majors throughout his career, but the 2018 AL MVP will now get his wish of playing second base every day at this level. Betts split time between second and right field last season, which helped him have his best offensive season as a Dodger.

Shortstop (2): ,
Lux was scheduled to be Los Angeles' everyday shortstop before the 2023 season, but he sustained a torn ACL and LCL in his right knee that ended his season during Spring Training. He will get another chance in ‘24, with Rojas backing him up.

Third baseman (1):
Muncy has been the Dodgers’ starting third baseman for the past few seasons, and that won’t change in ‘24.

Outfielders (4): , , ,
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 second base.

Hernández was brought in on a one-year deal to play against righties and lefties. Margot will serve as the fourth outfielder and can play all three outfield spots.

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 (1):
Taylor has bounced around positions throughout his career, and it’s where he brings the most value to the roster. With the Dodgers having a lot of moving parts, Taylor will once again be the super utility man.

Starting pitchers (5): , , , ,
Clayton Kershaw -- who re-signed with Los Angeles on Friday -- won’t be ready to return until at least after the All-Star break and Walker Buehler will likely start the season on the injured list, creating at least one spot in the rotation. There’s also a possibility the club could start the season with a six-man rotation. But for now, let’s stick to five spots. Barring injury, Glasnow, Miller, Yamamoto and Paxton will be in the rotation come Opening Day.

The fifth spot will be decided between Sheehan, Gavin Stone and Ryan Yarbrough. Given how Sheehan ended the ‘23 season, we’ll give him the nod to start camp, but the other options will have plenty of opportunities.

Relief pitchers (8): , , , , , , ,
Assuming Feyereisen, Kelly and Treinen are healthy, they should be on the Opening Day roster. Brasier returned to the Dodgers on a two-year deal after giving the club another solid option in middle relief last season. Phillips and Graterol will be tasked with a lot of the late-inning work, while Vesia and Yarbrough give the Dodgers a pair of lefties in relief.