What Will Be the Spring Training Surprise This Year?

For most of the winter, the common refrain around the Dodgers is that the slew of (often regrettable) veteran signings this winter has all but solidified the Opening Day roster, taking some of the excitement out of spring training. You can see that fully 23 of the 25 spots are spoken for right now:

Catchers (2): A.J. Ellis, Matt Treanor

Infielders (6): James Loney, Mark Ellis, Dee Gordon, Juan Uribe, Adam Kennedy, Jerry Hairston

Outfielders (4): Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Juan Rivera, Tony Gwynn

Rotation (5): Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano

Bullpen (6): Javy Guerra, Kenley Jansen, Matt Guerrier, Mike MacDougal, Scott Elbert, Blake Hawksworth

Even the questions about the final two spots aren’t exactly fraught with drama, those being “will Jerry Sands get the final spot on the bench?” (I say yes) and “will a second lefty reliever push Josh Lindblom back to the minors?” (potentially, but I lean no.)

But it’s never really that simple, is it? Last year we thought that the six-man rotation was overstuffed, until Jon Garland and Vicente Padilla each got hurt in camp and forced John Ely into an April start. We laughed at the NRIs, until injuries allowed Aaron Miles, Mike MacDougal, and Lance Cormier to all make the club. And who among us remembers now that Hector Gimenez was actually one of the 25 players who went north? (Or, I could ask, that Hector Gimenez was even ever a Dodger?)

Whether it’s an injury to an existing player, a non-roster invite (perhaps even a distant Ortiz relative) making a short-lived splash that is in no way sustainable, or unexpected progress in the ownership process which causes drama, something is going to happen in camp that changes the roster as we anticipate it right now.

What’s it going to be?

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