Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
With the 2020 Major League Baseball season being shortened to 60 games and players potentially missing time due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic a concern, the league decided to allow teams to have 30 players on their Opening Day roster.
Active rosters will then be shortened to 28 players a few weeks later, and will ultimately finish at 26. Furthermore, teams were permitted to assemble a player pool of up to 60 players who are eligible for the season.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are perhaps the deepest team in all of baseball, so president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Dave Roberts will have some difficult decisions to make before unveiling their Opening Day roster.
It appears they have begun narrowing it down as Roberts revealed they are expected to carry between 15 and 17 pitchers to start the season. He added that decision will be based on evaluating players during exhibition games as well as overall strategy based on their personnel.
“A little combo. Just kind of looking out at potential matchups, versatility, guys that can give us length out of the ‘pen and just kind of what makes the most sense,” Roberts explained. “Regardless of what we start with, we can always pivot at any point,” Roberts said.
Part of what will go into the Dodgers’ roster decision will be surrounding who is healthy and ready to compete in the first week of the season considering so many players have missed time during Summer Camp.
Additionally, with only 60 games to be played, L.A. can’t afford to ease into the season and dig themselves a hole in the National League West standings. That being said, Roberts gave updates on a handful of pitchers leading up to Opening Day against the San Francisco Giants on Thursday night.
White make case for spot on Opening Day roster?
Dodgers pitching prospect Mitchell White had an impressive outing in the team’s first exhibition game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday night, allowing just one hit and one run in five innings of work while retiring the final 14 hitters he faced.
Despite the performance, Roberts doesn’t envision him making the Opening Day roster.
“I think it was a great outing of Mitchell but he’s not going to break (camp) with us,” he said. “Mitchell, if he continues what he’s been doing, we’ve got to keep him built up, and anything can happen. To see him playing for us this year wouldn’t be a surprise for me.”
White will continue training with the rest of the Dodgers who aren’t on the big league club and could potentially be called up at some point to eat innings if needed.
Updates on Alexander and Baez
Scott Alexander and Pedro Baez are two relievers who reported to camp late. Despite that, Roberts believes the latter will be on the Opening Day roster, although was less certain about Alexander.
“Pedro and Scottie both threw to hitters today,” Roberts said. “Threw an inning, and they both looked sharp. I know Pedro is not going to throw in an exhibition; he’ll be ready for Opening Day on Thursday. With Scott, we still haven’t made a decision yet on what his next steps will be.”
Thoughts on Ramos
One reason the Dodgers always have so much depth is because Friedman makes under-the-radar signings that end up working out. The next that could fall into that category is A.J. Ramos, who L.A. recently signed to a Minor League contract.
Ramos is a former All-Star closer that has battled some injuries the last few seasons. He is currently healthy though and has impressed Roberts in camp.
“Didn’t really know what to expect. We heard a lot of really good things on A.J. and seeing him on the side has been good,” Roberts raved.
“It’s been quite some time since he pitched in a big league ballgame, but very impressed with his work ethic. The shape he’s in, what he can do on the mound. The plan is for him to get a full inning on Tuesday.”
Whether Ramos makes the roster or not remains to be seen, although he will likely make his way to the big league level at some point in the 2020 season.
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