Spring training is a time for playing time competition for some, getting ready for others, and they all converge eventually into the initial 26-player active roster on — this year — March 30.
But opening day is just one of the 186 days of the 2023 season. It’s definitely a significant point in the season, ideally the day with the lineup and roster you planned for all offseason. Accordingly, opening day is weighted very highly in importance, perhaps too much so, I say even though I’ve been guilty of this perception as well.
There is still competition in Dodgers camp, as I wrote three weeks ago. But that was before they signed David Peralta to see the bulk of time in left field, which essentially left only one spot left nominally up for grabs, at least until Gavin Lux was carted off the field on Monday in Peoria.
But if you’ve seen the reports from folks in Dodgers camp and heard interviews, it’s fairly clear that non-roster invitee Jason Heyward has the inside track to grab a spot if he shows anything at all this spring. To that end, Jack Harris at the Los Angeles Times wrote about how, for the most part, the Dodgers camp battles seem mostly settled, which this note about Heyward:
The fifth spot is becoming clear, as well, with Jason Heyward pulling clear of fellow minor league signings Steven Duggar and Bradley Zimmer, as well as prospect James Outman, through the opening couple of weeks.
Dodgers brass has been pleased with Heyward’s offseason swing change, in which he’s lowered his hands, flattened his bat path and simplified his mechanics.
But just remember, opening day is only one day. If Heyward makes the team, all five outfielders will be in their 30s, most with recent injuries. Opportunities will certainly rise for others later in the season, usually sooner than we expect.
Here’s a wonderful and thrilling caper from Stephanie Apstein at Sports Illustrated about stolen jerseys and other equipment from Dodgers, Padres, and Giants players, and the frantic search to find the perpetrator.
J.J. Cooper at Baseball America analyzed the ever-changing world of regional sports networks and its potential long-term effects on MLB teams.
“The next era of baseball broadcasting may be very different. There are significant questions over whether teams can come close to recouping the revenue they received for local broadcast rights from RSNs if they sell directly to consumers through MLB.tv,” Cooper wrote. “But that’s only one significant question. Equally important is the reality that teams will go from a world where RSN income is steady and consistent to one where they have to win over fans each and every year, or in some cases, each and every month.”
Mookie Betts has a new YouTube channel in which he will share behind-the-scenes footage of his life. The first such video was Monday’s look at an offseason hitting workout at Dodger Stadium. Here is the sizzle reel for the channel: