LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers opening day roster is basically set, with four more roster cuts answering the final questions on Thursday. Chris Taylor, Trayce Thompson and Julio Urias were all optioned to the minors, and Bobby Wilson was reassigned to the minors.
That leaves 30 players left in MLB camp, but with five players — Pedro Baez, Andre Ethier, Scott Kazmir, Josh Ravin, and Brock Stewart — set to join Yimi Garcia (60-day) on the disabled list, the 25-man active roster is all but set.
Austin Barnes has won the Dodgers backup catcher job, and will make the opening day 25-man roster for the second straight season. Veteran non-roster invitee Wilson, Barnes’ competition for the role, paid the price.
Catcher and good dude Bobby Wilson just packed up and said goodbye to Dodgers teammates. Crummy time of year for some.— Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) March 30, 2017
Wilson had a solid spring, hitting .275/.326/.575 with four home runs, and made a great impression ever since he signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers on Jan. 3.
"He's done everything that's been expected,” manager Dave Roberts said two weeks ago. “Even in talking to Bobby this winter when we signed him, he was getting videos on the pitchers and making calls to guys in the pen trying to establish a relationship, and he's continued that during the spring.”
Barnes is in his third season with the Dodgers. He made the opening day roster in 2016 when starter Yasmani Grandal started the season on the disabled list for a week. Faced with an opportunity this spring to seize a major league role, Barnes tried not to let that distract him.
"You just prepare to be the best you can be, and be ready when they call on you,” Barnes said earlier in camp. “I don't really focus on the outside stuff, or try to dictate what their moves mean or anything like that.”
That also means Kiké Hernandez is the utility role, and his right wrist appears okay after getting hit by a pitch on Tuesday, because Hernandez is starting at shortstop on Thursday against the Angels. It makes sense, since Roberts said all spring that the utility spot would need to also play center field, an advantage Hernandez holds over Taylor.
Scott Van Slyke will be the backup first baseman and outfielder, looking to rebound after a pair of injury-plagued seasons. And outfielder Andrew Toles can add opening day roster to his list of accomplishments after making the majors last year in a season he started in Class-A.
The Dodgers roster will be official on Sunday, but here it is:
Starting pitchers (5): Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill, Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-jin Ryu
Relief pitchers (7): Kenley Jansen, Sergio Romo, Grant Dayton, Chris Hatcher, Luis Avilan, Alex Wood, Ross Stripling
Catchers (2): Yasmani Grandal, Austin Barnes
Infielders (5): Adrian Gonzalez, Logan Forsythe, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Chase Utley
Infielder/outfielders (2): Kiké Hernandez, Scott Van Slyke
Outfielders (4): Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Andrew Toles, Franklin Gutierrez