I know Joe Torre and Ned Colletti are trying to play it cool with us, of course. Torre says he wants to wait until he gets back to California before he names the starting 2B and 5th starter, and he claims that he still hasn’t decided on the last relievers. It’s nice of him to say that for the sake of the remaining veterans in the final spring games, but it’s become pretty obvious what the the roster is going to look like, and it’s going to be this:
Starters (8): Martin, Loney, DeWitt, Blake, Furcal, Manny, Kemp, Ethier
Bench (6): Ausmus, Carroll, Belliard, Green, Johnson, Anderson
Starters (5): Kershaw, Billingsley, Padilla, Kuroda, Haeger
Relievers (6): Broxton, Sherrill, Troncoso, Weaver, Monasterios, Ra. Ortiz
Russell Martin played in a major league spring game today. Since that would reset his retroactive disabled list date, he seems assured of making the Opening Day roster. DeWitt hasn’t been named the winner at 2B yet, but he basically has to be. I’ve heard the thoughts from others saying that DeWitt still has minor league options, yet he did nothing but impress this spring. There’s no way he doesn’t get the job. I hate, hate, hate the idea of Nick Green making this club, because A) I’d rather have held on to Eric Stults as the 12th pitcher for a few weeks and B) there’s nothing Green can do that Chin-Lung Hu can’t, but that decision seems to have been made. (Temporarily, at least, since the pitching staff will almost surely swell to 12 when Ronald Belisario and/or Hong-Chih Kuo are ready to return).
On the pitching side, the first four starters are obvious and Haeger looks to have locked up the #5 job, especially with Stults gone. Beyond the solid top three in the pen, Ken Gurnick reported that Jeff Weaver is on the team, and the eagle-eyed Eric Stephen noted Ramon Ortiz’ #35 bag in the clubhouse truck being packed for Los Angeles.
That leaves the final spot on the staff, and though Russ Ortiz, Josh Towers, Justin Miller, and Luis Ayala are theoretically still in play, there can’t be any question it’s going to Carlos Monasterios. Miller and Towers each have opt-out clauses in their contracts which don’t hit until May 1 (Miller) and June 15 (Towers), so they can be sent to AAA without being lost – and they will be. Monasterios, as you all know by now, would be lost as a Rule 5 pick if he doesn’t make the roster. Would you rather keep the 24-year-old with a 1.93 spring ERA, the 32-year-old in Ayala who was cut or DFA’d three times last year alone (when he’s not being an epic douche or putting up a 5.68 ERA for four teams in the last two years), or the 35-year-old Ortiz, who gave up another homer today and is Russ Ortiz?
There’s just no question there, because there can’t be. Nor is there any question left regarding the roster. Remember, the 25 men who make up the Opening Day roster are somewhat overrated, because due to injury or performance, you’re going to be seeing at least 10 other players this year, if not more. You’ll see Belisario. You’ll see Kuo. You’ll see Scott Elbert and James McDonald. You’ll probably even see an Xavier Paul or A.J. Ellis or Josh Lindblom at some point, plus whomever comes and goes in trades. So don’t get too worked up over the roster on April 5 (it’s the only way to think about seeing Nick Green in Dodger blue, after all), but also don’t hold your breath that the roster you see in Pittsburgh is going to be any different than what’s outlined above.