After the Dodgers acquired former catcher Russell Martin from the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday afternoon many Dodger fans and media members pontificated that trading for Martin could possibly be part of something bigger. That maybe the Dodgers would include Martin in another trade for say JT Realmuto. Well I am sorry to break this to everyone, but no the Martin trade is not part of something bigger. The Dodgers are likely finished making moves this winter. There is no superstar on the way to Dodger Stadium. There are no more white horses at the Dodger’s door.
While we all like Martin and get the feels with him rejoining the Dodgers again, the fact is that Martin is 35-years old entering his fourteenth MLB season. He hasn’t had an above average season at the plate in several years. He’s old and busted. The Dodgers refused to resign Yasmani Grandal and downgraded the catcher position.
Despite the downgrade at catcher, and the moronic salary dumping of Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer, the Dodgers are still heavy favorites to win the National League West and the National League pennant. The reason for this is because the Dodgers are still a very deep and talented club and the competition in the National League isn’t as strong as most people think. Most experts agree that the Dodgers and Red Sox could meet again in the World Series in 2019.
But let’s take a moment to talk about what the 2019 Dodger’s roster will look like. Here’s how I see it looking. Of course things can and could change between now and then, but here’s my best guess on what the 2019 Dodgers will look like.
The rotation will be the Dodger’s biggest strength in 2019. With Clayton Kershaw and youngster Walker Buehler leading the staff the Dodgers will be in good shape pitching wise. Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda will round out the rotation with the fifth spot likely going to Hyun-jin Ryu. The Dodgers will have Julio Urias, Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart as potential depth pieces. Urias will be handled with kid gloves again since he’s coming off of injury. I’m sure the Dodgers will watch his innings carefully. Look for him to begin the season in Oklahoma City if the Dodgers want to really limit his innings.
The bullpen will see the addition of Joe Kelly whom the Dodgers signed (their only pitching acquisition this winter thus far) to a three-year 25 million dollar contract. The rest of the guys are returnees or bullpen stalwarts. Kenley Jansen will return as closer with Pedro Baez, Tony Cingrani and Scott Alexander providing middle options. Left hander Caleb Ferguson should figure in there somewhere as well.
The position player side will see some changes. With Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp gone, Alex Verdugo will probably see the majority of time in right field. His contact oriented approach and athletic profile will be a great infusion of speed, timely hitting into the Dodger lineup. Max Muncy will likely get the lion’s share at first base and Cody Bellinger will play a lot of center field. Joc Pederson and Andrew Toles could share time in left, and Enrique Hernandez and Chris Taylor will both get playing time at second base. Russell Martin and Austin Barnes will pair behind the plate. Barnes should see the majority of the time behind the dish as well. With Martin being 35-years old (turning 36) I would guess that the split would be 60/40 in favor of Barnes. Hopefully shortstop Corey Seager has made a full recovery from his 2017 Tommy John surgery.
Alex Verdugo RF-L
Corey Seager SS-L
Justin Turner 3B
Cody Bellinger CF-L
Max Muncy 1B-L
Chris Taylor 2B
Joc Pederson LF-L
Austin Barnes/Russell Martin C
Andrew Toles OF-L
Enrique Hernandez IF/OF
David Freese IF
This is how I see the Dodger roster and lineup shaping up for 2019. There should be one open spot on the roster which could be on the position player side. It would make sense for a right handed bat to balance out the Dodgers lefty heavy lineup. The Dodgers have 39 players on their 40-man roster. So look for another move within the next week or two. This is it folks. This is the 2019 Dodgers, like it or not. Or the Dodgers could just sign Bryce Harper to a record breaking mega contract and make me wrong.
Make me wrong Dodgers, please.