FanPost

What Could Have Been (inside the box and outside the box)

Thinking inside the box, this could have been the 2012 opening day roster for the Los Angeles Dodgers:

Starting Rotation: Kershaw, Kuroda, Billingsley, Lilly, Eveland

Bullpen: Jansen, Guerra, Lindblom, Elbert, Tolleson, Guerrier (ugh), St. Clair

Catchers: Ellis, Treanor

Infield: Loney, Hairston, Gordon, Uribe (ugh), Sellers, DeWitt (Hawksworth traded to Cubs)

Outfield: Kemp, Ethier, Sands, Rivera, Gwynn

This roster would have kept the payroll low, with no major risks taken. Bringing Kuroda back for one more season is not a long-term risk. How much better would Capuano be than Dana Eveland and his minimum salary for the first half of the 2012 season, until Eovaldi or Webster might be ready? Eight or nine times better? Wouldn't Kuroda + Eveland be better and more flexible in the future than Capuano + Harang? What about the four-man rotation at 2B and 3B of Uribe, Hairston, Sellers, and DeWitt? Wouldn't it perform similarly to Uribe, Hairston, Ellis, and Kennedy, but at a much lower cost? With the amount of money invested in Rivera, is he going to be the primary starter in LF instead of Sands? This is a guy who doesn't hit righties all that well, and doesn't cover much ground in the outfield. It was stunning to me that Ned set the market this off-season by throwing $4.5 million at Rivera at the very beginning of the free agent signing period. Here is what the opening day lineup could have been:

Gordon (SS) Hairston (2B) Kemp (CF) Ethier (RF) Sands (LF) Loney (1B) Ellis (C) Uribe (3B) Kershaw (P)

After the jump, my thoughts on what Ned could have done if he had been thinking outside the box.

Thinking outside the box, this could have been the 2012 opening day roster for the Los Angeles Dodgers:

Starting Rotation: Kershaw, Kuroda, Billingsley, Lilly, Eveland

Bullpen: Jansen, Guerra, Lindblom, Elbert, Tolleson, Guerrier (ugh), St. Clair

Catchers: Ellis, Treanor

Infield: Loney, Gordon, Jose Reyes, Uribe (ugh), Sellers, DeWitt (Hawksworth traded to Cubs)

Outfield: Kemp, Ethier, Sands, Jamie Hoffman, Gwynn

Deferring a portion of Kuroda's 2012 salary to 2013 and not signing Rivera, Hairston, Mark Ellis, Kennedy, Capuano, and Harang could possibly have brought us Jose Reyes (with a lower first year of his six-year deal), thereby moving Gordon to 2B for the first few years of the Reyes deal (they could always switch back once Reyes starts to slow down). Success depends on trusting Sands to continue his progress, Jim Loney to continue his turnaround, platooning Uribe and DeWitt at 3B, and trusting Eveland to be an average 5th starter until either Eovaldi or Webster is ready at some point during the season. Also, thinking outside the box, Ethier is told that playing LF should help his knee. So Kuroda says he doesn't want to return to MLB unless it's to a contender? Well, this roster is a contender. Here is what the opening day lineup could have been, if Ned had just thought outside the box and taken a worthy risk:

Gordon (2B) Reyes (SS) Kemp (CF) Ethier (LF) Sands (RF) Loney (1B) Ellis (C) Uribe/DeWitt (3B) Kershaw (P)

This concludes my first SB Nation fan post. Thanks to Grimjack for the DeWitt for Hawksworth suggestion. Please feel free to shoot holes in the rosters for each scenario.

The Dude Abides (somewhere near the In N Out on Camrose)

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