The Los Angeles Dodgers opened Spring Training this year with the core of a roster that won a franchise-record 106 games still intact, and further bolstered by the additions of Mookie Betts and David Price, and to a lesser extent, Brusdar Graterol.
And even with losing Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu in free agency, David Freese to retirement, and Kenta Maeda in a trade with the Minnesota Twins, the Dodgers aren’t lacking for depth throughout their roster.
“I think it’s been a theme during my time here. Understanding we won 106 games last year and we talked a lot about sacrifice and depth,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “You talk to the players, and they say that was the best team they’ve ever been a part of.
“Not only because of the talent but also just appreciating the sacrifice guys had for one another, the care for one another to win a baseball game. This year, more than any year, it’s going to be evident again and it’s vital for our success.
“It’s one of those things that you have a lot of talent, but a lot of talent comes with tough conversations and sacrifices.”
Roberts has regularly embraced having an excess of talent even if it brings about difficult decisions. The “high-class problem” will be prevalent once again in 2020, but the fifth-year manager doesn’t anticipate regularly needing to address the matter.
“I don’t think it’s something I need to talk about all the time,” Roberts said. I think they’ve been around long enough and understand the ultimate goal is to win a championship. I think they understand the situation.
“I’d like to think that I’ve built some equity with these guys as far as doing everything I can to keep them relevant and current and helping us win baseball games.”
In canvassing the Dodgers’ roster, at least six positions are effectively set. Will Smith is poised to remain the everyday catcher, Max Muncy is expected to slot in at first base, Justin Turner at third, Corey Seager at shortstop, Cody Bellinger in center field and Betts playing right.
Roberts stopped short of committing to Gavin Lux at second base, but he has the inside track. Meanwhile, Joc Pederson and A.J. Pollock are projected to form a platoon in left field.
That leaves Matt Beaty, Kiké Hernandez and Chris Taylor, all of whom were key contributors last season, to not only accept being available off the bench for pinch-hit situations but spot starts at multiple positions as well.
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