With less than a week before Opening Day, the Dodgers still have a fair amount to work through. Taking from the most popular questions I receive across all forms of media…
1. Is Yasiel Puig going to make the team?
No. Well…. no. Right? I think?
We’ve been over this a lot, but he’s still here, and even though management said weeks ago that he definitely wouldn’t be on the team, it’s hard to argue .526/.508/.842. But with Carl Crawford looking like he’s going to be ready to play, there’s not a spot here without bouncing Crawford to the bench, which doesn’t seem realistic. Besides, there’s service time considerations at play with Puig, in addition to obvious concerns about his true readiness.
For most of camp, we thought this was simple. Carl Crawford would start the season on the disabled list, Jerry Hairston & Skip Schumaker would platoon in left field, and Tim Federowicz, Nick Punto & Juan Uribe would staff out the rest of a very unappealing bench. But now it looks like Crawford will be active, and Hairston may be needed for additional duty at third base thanks to Hanley Ramirez‘ injury.
That makes the outfield extremely left-handed, which is why Don Mattingly has been talking about wanting a righty corner outfielder so much. (Thanks for joining the rest of us in “every year since 2009″ in wanting that, by the way, Don.) That’s partially why Puig remains in the mix, as does Alex Castellanos and multipositional switch-hitters Alfredo Amezaga & Elian Herrera. Amezaga’s non-40 man status probably hurts him here, so I really think Castellanos is the right call. That being the case, it’ll absolutely be Herrera because of course it will.
3. Oh my god, Kevin Gregg is going to make this team, isn’t he?
Wellll… yes. I’m sorry.
We know that Brandon League, Kenley Jansen, J.P. Howell & Ronald Belisario are locks. Matt Guerrier, much as I hate to admit it, is probably getting one spot, and let’s say one additional spot goes to an excess starting pitcher. That leaves one final spot for Gregg, Peter Moylan, Paco Rodriguez, etc, but we know that Ned Colletti almost always has one NRI pitcher on the club.
That worked out okay last year with Jamey Wright, who just made the Tampa roster today, and the Dodgers have had success with it in the past. (They’ve also had more than one Ortiz on the same time, so there’s that.) You’ll hear a lot about Gregg’s “1.00 ERA this spring!”, but I’m guessing surprisingly little about his 4/0 K/BB in nine innings. Can’t say I have super high hopes on that one.
4. So if just one starter makes the bullpen, then…
… yes. I expect some sort of trade before the end of the weekend, because noise and rumors have really picked up over the last few days, especially with the amount of scouts watching Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang. My guess is that one (likely Capuano) starts in relief, one gets moved (likely Harang), and as for Ted Lilly, well, he probably has to hope that Chad Billingsley‘s injured fingernail falls off. Considering how rotten his spring has been, it’s probably not too hard to see some sort of DL stint get ginned up for him.
5. Where is Kyle Cofield going to end up?
If the reaction here is “wait… who?” that’s more than justified. The Dodgers signed the minor league free agent in January after many undistinguished years in the low minors for Atlanta & Pittsburgh. He didn’t receive an invite to major league camp (though he has suited up on occasion to fill out the big league roster for the day), and is more than likely destined for the Chattanooga bullpen, if he even makes a roster at all. Why am I bringing this up now? Because I have one person who has asked me about him at least a half-dozen times this spring, both via email and Twitter. I have no idea why I should care about Kyle Cofield, but someone clearly does.
6. What can’t Vin Scully do?
We’ll put anyone to work: twitter.com/Dodgers/status…
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 26, 2013