So Here’s Your 25-Man Roster (Updated)

This is largely comprised of news from the last several days that you’ve seen elsewhere, but since I was in Florida I’m playing a little catch-up here. Now it’s true that the 25-man roster hasn’t been officially announced, yet enough moves have been made that we can put the pieces together. With Ramon Troncoso shipped out, Dioner Navarro on the DL, Ron Mahay no longer with the club, Juan Castro told he wasn’t making the team, and Lance Cormier having been asked to accept a minor league assignment (though he reportedly has neither accepted nor exercised his out clause yet), this is what we’re looking at for Opening Day:

Hitters (14)
C Rod Barajas R/R
C Hector Gimenez S/R
1B James Loney L/L
2B Ivan DeJesus, Jr. R/R
SS Rafael Furcal S/R
3B Juan Uribe R/R
IF Jamey Carroll R/R
IF Aaron Miles S/R
LF/OF Tony Gwynn, Jr L/R
LF/1B Jay Gibbons L/L
LF/PH Marcus Thames R/R
LF/OF Xavier Paul L/L
CF Matt Kemp R/R
RF Andre Ethier L/L

Pitchers (11)
SP Clayton Kershaw L
SP Chad Billingsley R
SP Ted Lilly L
SP Hiroki Kuroda R
CL Jonathan Broxton R
RP Hong-Chih Kuo L
RP Kenley Jansen R
RP Matt Guerrier R
RP Blake Hawksworth R
RP Mike MacDougal R
RP Scott Elbert L
RP Lance Cormier R (now added)

Disabled List (4)
SP Jon Garland R
RP Vicente Padilla R
C Dioner Navarro S/R
3B Casey Blake R/R

There’s still a small possibility A.J. Ellis is kept over Gimenez, or that Cormier’s refusal to report to the minors convinces the team to keep him over Elbert (Update: this looks to have happened, see below), but otherwise this is the team you’ll see on Thursday. Not exactly what we thought we’d see six weeks ago, right?

Remember, however, that even though much is made of the Opening Day roster, this is not the same group you’ll see in a few months or even in a few weeks. Garland, Padilla, and Blake all look to return in April, and that doesn’t even account for the possibility that Tim Redding or John Ely is needed for the first 5th starter spot should Garland not be ready.

So here’s what to look out for on the roster front over the first part of the season:

1) Pray, pray, pray for Ivan DeJesus to get off to a good start. The best possible scenario is that he shows solid defense and good on-base skills (I don’t even care about power at this point), and claims the job for his own. That’d not only solve the #2 hitter problem, it’d keep Uribe at 3B, where his strong arm plays better, and push Blake to the bench to be the lefty-mashing corner IF bat he really ought to have been in the first place. When Blake returns, it’ll also be interesting to see if DeJesus has made enough of an impression to avoid being farmed out, and if that means Aaron Miles is instead cut. 

2) That goes double for Xavier Paul. There’s no way you can keep six outfielders on the roster for long, and as I said recently, I prefer Paul to Gibbons. That said, small sample sizes be damned: if Paul gets off to a 1-for-10 start, there’s no way he’s going to survive the inevitable outfielder DFA that’s going to have to happen when the injured begin to return.

3) Hector Gimenez isn’t really going to make it, right? Every year there’s an out-of-nowhere camp darling, and this year it was Gimenez. That’s a nice story, but I’m just not sure I see it working out. The Dodgers have been clear that they don’t think much of him as a catcher, since he barely put on the gear before Navarro got hurt, and since Don Mattingly’s talking about playing Barajas every day in April. If he’s not a catcher, he’s here for his bat, but aside from 94 games in 2010, he’s never been much of a hitter, either (career MiLB numbers: .262/.318/.403). I love the story, and I love the idea, but I predict he’s DFA’d the second Navarro is ready – if not sooner, for A.J. Ellis, who’s probably the best fit of the three.

4) How soon will the bottom of the bullpen churn? I’ve been on record this spring as saying neither Mike MacDougal or Scott Elbert needed to be in the big leagues right now, and it looks like both will be on the club. We all know that the last spots in the bullpen are constantly in motion, so will either or both be able to prove me wrong? Let’s see it, gentlemen. (Update: Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Cormier has indeed made the team. No word yet on who didn’t make it – I assume Elbert – but that doesn’t really change the point of this question at all. Cormier has the same questions to answer as MacDougal or Elbert.)

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