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Dodgers bullpen still deep beyond opening day roster

Sergio Santos is expected to open the season in Triple-A, but could end up helping the Dodgers.
Sergio Santos is expected to open the season in Triple-A, but could end up helping the Dodgers.
Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- It doesn't happen too often, but the Dodgers will head to opening day without a non-roster invitee making the squad. The last time was recent, in 2013, but for most of the last decade having a veteran (or a few) make the club out of spring training was an annual tradition for Los Angeles.

This year, that changed for the Dodgers, though in a different way.

The usual refrain in adding a veteran over a younger player with options is because the team wants (needs, craves) the depth. Usually, if John Q. Experience isn't added to the squad he might have an out clause. Better to keep both him and Billy Freshface by optioning the younger player to the minors.

In 2015, the Dodgers have no non-roster invitees on the roster, but they still have the depth. At least for a little while. David Huff and Sergio Santos both have opt-out clauses on May 1. David Aardsma has one on June 15.

Paco Rodriguez, Pedro Baez and Yimi Garcia, all of whom have minor league options, made the opening day roster.

"Paco has really generated some of the worst swings out of hitters in this camp," said Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.

Aardsma was happy with his camp, saying Saturday, "I felt like I threw outstanding. I'm extremely happy with how I've thrown."

Huff is still in line, possibly, for that April 14 spot start, the first time the Dodgers need a fifth starter, then possible long man duty in the bullpen after that.

Santos was happy with his camp as well, and was hopeful "something could be worked out" but said he would ultimately report to Triple-A Oklahoma City if needed.

Friedman was asked Saturday if he would work out trades to accommodate Aardsma or Santos since they didn't make the team.

"It's something that I wrestle with a lot. I've had experiences in the past where guys with time and if a team calls with a bid for them I have made that happen, but a lot of that gets into how they fit into our plans and where they are," Friedman said. "If they're down on the depth chart it's obviously something we would do and not stand in the way. If they are high on the depth chart we are less likely to.

"In both instances we've negotiated outs and that was part of the negotiation. Both guys figure prominently for us going forward as we look at it, both guys made very strong impressions in camp, and we're excited to have them."

There is still the slight chance that Mike Adams, who has left the team, might report to Oklahoma City rather than retire, which would add to the depth. His opt-out date is June 1.

Friedman said exchanged text messages with Adams, but there was nothing new to report.

The point is the Dodgers have some options still remaining for bullpen depth, especially when also including Adam Liberatore, Daniel Coulombe or even Carlos Frias, all of whom are on the 40-man. And Kenley Jansen is due back at the beginning of May.

That depth will be needed, too. By the end of April last season, the Dodgers already used 10 relievers. They used 17 pitchers in relief all season.