GLENDALE, Ariz. -- We are down to the final week of exhibition baseball, which means six more days before the Dodgers have to finalize their opening day roster. There are 40 players still in major league camp at Camelback Ranch, but in reality the Dodgers only have eight more cuts to make to finalize their roster.
Counted among the 40 in camp are Brandon Beachy and Chris Withrow, both of whom are already on the 60-day disabled list. That puts us at 38. Brandon League will go on the 60-day DL, maybe not right away but he will start at least on the 15-day disabled list, so now we're at 37.
Kenley Jansen is still in a walking boot and expects to be back my May, so he'll start on the DL. That puts us at 36 players. Hyun-Jin Ryu won't even begin throwing until next week, so he'll be on the DL too. Now we're at 35.
Non-roster invitees Erik Bedard (teres major muscle strain) and Chad Gaudin (tingling in his fingers) are both hurt, and won't make the team. They will be reassigned to minor league camp at some point this week. We'll find out the MRI results on Gaudin at some point Monday.
That puts us at 33 players, which means eight have to be cut to get down to the active 25.
The first decision will likely come Tuesday morning, when by 9 a.m. PT the team has to tell non-roster invitee Mike Adams either (a) he made the active roster, (b) he is released, or (c) he will begin the season in the minors, for which the club must pay him a $100,000 retention bonus. The final choice is the most likely decision for Adams, coming off two years of shoulder injuries, and comes with an automatic opt-out date of June 1 if he isn't added to the active roster by then.
Two of the eight cuts will likely be from the trio of Chris Heisey, Darwin Barney and Kiké Hernandez, all three on the outside looking in with the current configuration of the five-man bench. Heisey plays outfield well, Barney plays infield well, and Hernandez does both but is also 23 and wouldn't be hurt by continued development. All three have options. One of the three will likely make it onto the roster, at least for a week or so, taking Ryu's roster spot should the Dodgers decide to keep an extra position player.
This assumes, of course, that the Dodgers can't find takers for Andre Ethier or Alex Guerrero during this last week. As it stands, both provide excellent pinch-hitting options, one from each side of the plate, complementing a strong bench that already has A.J. Ellis, Justin Turner and Scott Van Slyke.
Trades could happen this week, no question. But those are obviously hard to predict. A lot of the movement this week involves players who are out of options, or perhaps the Dodgers are interested in adding a player who didn't make another team but had an out clause that made them a free agent.
But barring trades, we are still at the eight cuts that still need to be made. The bulk of those cuts will be in the bullpen.
Outside of Joel Peralta, J.P. Howell and Chris Hatcher, whom I consider locks at this point for the bullpen, I would not be surprised at almost any combination for the other four spots. Okay, maybe Paco Rodriguez getting optioned might surprise me, since he has likely moved into must-keep status.
Rodriguez has options, as do Adam Liberatore, Yimi Garcia and Pedro Baez.
"It's clearing up, but I can't hardly say it's crystal clear. Our left-handers are all throwing the ball well," manager Don Mattingly said Sunday. "We have numerous guys who have thrown well some days, but other days not as good. That part's a little less clear for us."
It's hard to see more than two of the four healthy non-roster invitees - David Aardsma, Adams, David Huff and Sergio Santos - making the team, just because of 40-man space. But then again, it's not that difficult to create space if the team really wanted to.
League to the 60-day disabled list creates one spot. Designating a shaky Dustin McGowan for assignment could create another (or he could make the team; again, kind of wide open at this point). The team could, if it wants, try to sneak the out-of-options Juan Nicasio and his $2.3 million through waivers if he doesn't win a spot in the bullpen in an effort to create room on the 40-man roster, with the caveat that Nicasio could, as someone with three years of service time, simply refuse the outright assignment and become a free agent. But these are just a few of the possibilities that lie ahead.
But we are down to the final week, with eight cuts left to be made, likely two position players and six relief pitchers.
Who do you think makes the cut?