Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers' 25-Man Roster: Five Players on the Bubble

Nick OstillerContributor IIFebruary 10, 2014

The Dodgers' 25-Man Roster: Five Players on the Bubble

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    Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    The winter slumber is officially over.

    The Los Angeles Dodgers welcomed pitchers and catchers to their spring training complex at Camelback Ranch in Arizona this past weekend as another baseball season is just around the corner.

    Spring training is a time for established players to shake off the rust and for younger players to showcase what they worked on during the offseason in the hopes of turning heads within the organization.

    For a veteran-laden team like the Dodgers, most of the 25-man roster is intact and ready for another crack at a World Series appearance after having come so close last season. But some spots are still up for grabs and players on the bubble should have more than a little to prove in the coming month and a half.

    The following slides take a look at these players, the ones who will be clawing to make the final cut and travel to Sydney, Australia for the Dodgers' Opening Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on March 22. Some have a better chance than others, so read on to find out which hopefuls are likely to earn a trip down under.

Scott Van Slyke, LF

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    Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    2013 Statistics (129 AB)

    .240/.342/.465

    7 HR, 19 RBI, 37 SO

    Chance of making the 25-man roster

    75 percent

     

    Scott Van Slyke made a name for himself last season after being called up in May to fill in for injured outfielders Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford.

    Although he was demoted and promoted several times between the Dodgers and Triple-A, Van Slyke eventually earned a spot on the postseason roster after having begun 2013 on the 40-man roster. He finished seventh on the team in home runs and first in mustache appeal.

    The Dodgers will presumably have Yasiel Puig, Kemp and Crawford starting in the outfield with Andre Ethier and Van Slyke as the two best bats off the bench. That's not to say Van Slyke won't get thrust into everyday playing time in the event that one or more of those outfielders can't stay healthy, which would not be surprising considering Kemp's recent track record.

    With the versatile Skip Schumaker also out of the picture, the Dodgers will need to rely on Van Slyke even more in case an outfielder goes down. 

    Van Slyke (6'5'', 250 pounds) is bigger than the average outfielder but he defended respectably last season, only committing two errors in 41 games played as an outfielder.

    Still, Los Angeles has always liked "Van-Stache" more for his bat.

     

     

Jose Dominguez, RHP

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    2013 Statistics (9 games)

    8.1 IP, 2.16 ERA

    4 K, 3 BB, 1 HPB

    Chance of making the 25-man roster

    65 percent

     

    Dodgers fans may remember Jose Dominguez, who was with the team in 2013 for three weeks before straining his left quad.

    The 23-year-old showed promising glimpses in the extremely small sample size, including an average fastball velocity of 98.5 mph that trailed only Bruce Rendon of the Tigers for tops in the majors. The downside was that 17 of the 39 batters he faced reached base.

    Dominguez will be competing for a final bullpen spot with the likes of Yimi Garcia, Seth Rosin, Chris Withrow, Javy Guerra and Paco Rodriguez, the latter three of whom also have major-league experience.

    His impressive arm strength should give him a slight edge in spring training, and Dominguez could carve himself a nice niche as a power arm out of the pen if he is able to make the Opening Day roster.

Dee Gordon, SS/2B

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    Reed Saxon/Associated Press/Associated Press

    2013 Statistics (94 AB)

    .234/.314/.298

    22 H, 21 SO, 10 SB

    Chance of making the 25-man roster

    50 percent

     

    Once considered the Dodgers' shortstop of the future, Dee Gordon has not been able to hit consistently enough at the big-league level and spent most of 2013 in Triple-A after having been the Opening Day starter in 2012.

    Besides his hitting woes, Gordon's regression has been aided by the arrival of Hanley Ramirez. The shortstop position in Los Angeles belongs to Ramirez for the foreseeable future and Gordon's value is now primarily his speed.

    But as the old saying goes, "you can't steal first base."

    As a pinch-running addition to the postseason roster in 2013, Gordon couldn't even steal second base in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves.

    The remaining hope for Gordon's Dodger career lies at second base.

    If the Alexander Guerrero experiment does not pan out in a timely manner, expect Los Angeles to try Gordon's hand on the right side of the infield.

    The team has also had Gordon dabble in center field. The wiry speedster spent the offseason patrolling the position in the Venezuelan Winter League, but center field will be an unlikely destination for Gordon as there is already a well-documented logjam in the Dodgers' outfield heading into 2014.

Justin Sellers, SS/2B

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    2013 Statistics (69 AB)

    .188/.263/.246

    13 H, 20 SO, .959 FP

    Chance of making the 25-man roster

    40 percent

     

    Justin Sellers is in a similar boat with Dee Gordon. Both players have not been able to hit consistently in the majors, but each possess a skill that the Dodgers value.

    With Gordon, it's his speed. With Sellers, it's his glove.

    The utility infielder has impressive range and the defensive ability to play shortstop, second base or third base. Sellers was the Opening Day starter at shortstop in 2013, filling in for then-injured Hanley Ramirez.

    The problem is that he began the season in an 0-for-15 slump at the plate and never really broke out of it before Ramirez returned and he was sent to the minors.

    The chances that Sellers makes the Opening Day roster are slim, but he's where the Dodgers will most likely turn if there's an injury in the infield.

     

Stephen Fife, RHP

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    2013 Statistics (12 games)

    58.1 IP, 4-4, 3.86 ERA

    45 K, 20 BB

    Chance of making the 25-man roster

    25 percent

     

    Stephen Fife was the Dodgers' main spot starter last season, and the Idaho native was mostly reliable in the role. The high point of his season was in June, when he went 3-2 with a 2.21 ERA as a fixture of the rotation.

    But two trips to the disabled list because of shoulder bursitis took a toll on Fife, and he is essentially back to where he began last season: low on the totem pole. 

    The signings of Dan Haren and Paul Maholm further cloud Fife's outlook heading into 2014, and the only chance he has to make the Opening Day roster is if Josh Beckett falters in spring training or another starting pitcher sustains a preseason injury.

    Fife will almost certainly kick off the season in Triple-A and await his next chance to prove to the organization that he belongs on the Dodgers' 25-man roster.

     

    All statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.

     

    Follow @NickOstiller on Twitter.

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