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Diving into the depths: Los Angeles Dodgers

Feb 2, 2011, 3:00 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers Getty Images

This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.

Rotation
1. Clayton Kershaw
2. Chad Billingsley
3. Ted Lilly
4. Hiroki Kuroda
5. Jon Garland
6. Vicente Padilla
7. John Ely
8. Blake Hawksworth
9. Carlos Monasterios
10. Dana Eveland
11. Tim Redding
12. Chris Withrow

I realize I like the top five more than most, but this is the obvious strength of the Dodgers, and they even have plenty of depth here even though most of their prospects took step backwards last season. Padilla is probably the game’s best sixth starter, and Ely is another nice arm to have in reserve.

Bullpen
1. Jonathan Broxton
2. Hong-Chih Kuo
3. Matt Guerrier
4. Kenley Jansen
5. Ramon Troncoso
6. Vicente Padilla
7. Blake Hawksworth
8. Travis Schlichting
9. Ronald Belisario
10. Carlos Monasterios
11. Scott Elbert
12. Josh Lindblom
13. Jon Link
14. Tim Redding
15. Oscar Villarreal
16. Roman Colon
17. Jon Huber

The bullpen should also be very good, though it’d help plenty if Broxton returned to 2009 form. If that doesn’t happen, they’re going to need Kuo to stay healthy again and take over the closer’s role. … Belisario, who was so effective in posting a 2.04 ERA in 70 2/3 innings as a rookie in 2009, seems unlikely to make the team and could be part of a trade this spring.

Catcher
1. Rod Barajas
2. Dioner Navarro
3. A.J. Ellis
4. Hector Gimenez
5. J.D. Closser

First base
1. James Loney
2. Jay Gibbons
3. John Lindsey
4. Marcus Thames

Second base
1. Juan Uribe
2. Jamey Carroll
3. Ivan DeJesus
4. Justin Sellers

Third base
1. Casey Blake
2. Jamey Carroll
3. Juan Uribe
4. Russ Mitchell
5. Justin Sellers

Shortstop
1. Rafael Furcal
2. Juan Uribe
3. Jamey Carroll
4. Ivan DeJesus
5. Juan Castro

Given that it’s always easy to find a cheap second baseman, it looks like the Dodgers really blew it by spending big on Uribe over the winter. Only Furcal from this group projects as anything more than an average regular and he’s missed big chunks of two of the last three seasons. Uribe is supposed to offer help there, since he can slide to shortstop if Furcal gets hurt. However, he’s not much of a defender there these days.

Left field
1. Jay Gibbons
2. Marcus Thames
3. Tony Gwynn Jr.
4. Xavier Paul
5. Gabe Kapler
6. Jamie Hoffmann
7. Trent Oeltjen
8. Eugenio Velez

Center field
1. Matt Kemp
2. Tony Gwynn Jr.
3. Eugenio Velez
4. Trayvon Robinson

Right field
1. Andre Ethier
2. Xavier Paul
3. Gabe Kapler
4. Jamie Hoffmann
5. Trent Oeltjen
6. Tony Gwynn Jr.
7. Eugenio Velez

The Dodgers have given themselves plenty of options in left field, but none of them are very attractive at all. If Gibbons can post an 800 OPS against right-handers, then a platoon of him and Thames wouldn’t be too bad. However, putting those two in left would leave the Dodgers with one of the game’s worst defensive outfields. Ideally, Paul would step up and win the job. If not, the team might just be better off sticking Gwynn in center and putting defense first.

  1. BC - Feb 2, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    If I thought this team could actually score any runs, they’d be dangerous. Garland as your #5? They have the pitching. Question is, does Matt Kemp show up this year and does Andre Ethier not completely spit the bit after the All Star Break? (OK, that’s two questions. Sorry.)

  2. loungefly74 - Feb 2, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    weird seeing no huge names in the line-up. yes, there are stars but no big-time national names.

  3. Dan in Katonah - Feb 2, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    I did not realize how bad that lineup was. Off the top of my head I can’t think of an NL one that is worse. What a waste of good starting pitching.

    • BC - Feb 2, 2011 at 4:03 PM

      Arizona, Pittsburgh and Houston are worse. And the Mets will be once their entire team is in the medical ward by May 1 again.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 2, 2011 at 5:05 PM

        Or traded. The Mets actually have upside, though, given that they’re likely to have better health than last year. These Dodgers have, like, zero upside.

        Remember when they traded Carlos Santana for half a year of Casey Blake? Those were the days.

      • Dan in Katonah - Feb 2, 2011 at 8:14 PM

        Dodgers really only have Kemp as an impact bat and Ethier can be good, Loney is below avg. for his position. The rest are just old roster filler.

        Arizona has Young and Upton as up and coming impact bats, Drew and Johnson above average.
        Pittsburgh may surprise with McCutchen, Jones and Walker, but no, not appreciably better.

        I grant you that Houston is worse (just Pence).

        Mets, for all their troubles, still have Wright and Reyes and Pagan, Bay should bounce back to at least above average, Beltran returning and Davis is passable.

        Giants still ahead with slimming Panda, Posey and some useful parts.

        Padres, damn, they make even the Dodgers look good.

        Ok, LA is bottom tier with Padres and Pirates.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 2, 2011 at 5:12 PM

      Don’t forget the Giants & Padres in your list of similarly awful lineups. In other words, the whole freakin division is pretty weak in the lineup. Even Colorado does not look great outside of Tulo and CarGo, and those two are not completely without question marks…

  4. dodger88 - Feb 2, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    The only ranking I can quibble with is Ramon Troncoso as I think you may have overvalued him – of course I hope you’re right!

    The pitching should be strong so this team will go wherever Kemp, Either and Loney take them. If even 2 of those 3 take the strides that were expected last year, this team could have enough to take the NL West. The Giants offense is no better and their pitching will be hard pressed to match last year thanks to the extra innings they threw in the post season. The Rockies have not really added any pieces while both the Dbacks and Padres figure to be well back of everyone.

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