Spring training has begun, and the Dodgers are still a few weeks away from moving from Arizona to Los Angeles. However, their roster is still slightly in flux; I believe the platonic ideal of their Opening Day roster is not what it would actually look like if the team broke camp today.

Expensive players remain on the roster, and contractual issues ensure that those players will be on the 25-man roster unless they are no longer in the organization. Therefore, the following moves will be designed to create extra roster flexibility.


Trade Andre Ethier

This is the single most important move the Dodgers could make. They are clearly trying to move him, as recent reports have indicated that they are willing to pay “about half” of the money still owed to the outfielder, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. What this indicates to me, though, is that they may not be trying hard enough.

Ethier is both expensive and unproductive, and he takes up a valuable roster spot. The lefty is owed about $54 million over the next three years, and he does not provide enough value to be worth anything close to that. He hasn’t posted an ISO above .200 since 2010, and the presence of Yasiel Puig and the Carl Crawford/Scott Van Slyke platoon means he will have to be a center fielder. Unfortunately, the defensive metrics paint a bad picture: FanGraphs’ UZR has him as a solid negative in center field.


Trade Alex Guerrero

This move is not an either/or proposition with regards to Ethier. Guerrero has a clause in his contract that stipulates he cannot be sent to the minors without his permission, but I don’t think the Dodgers would want to keep him on the big league roster if they did not have to.

Guerrero’s skill set matches Justin Turner’s pretty well, and the Dodgers are already well stocked with bench bats. Turner is the backup infielder, and Chris Heisey and Scott Van Slyke are outfield options. While Guerrero could well be a better hitter in the long run, we don’t actually know if that will be the case.


Sign Rafael Soriano

Soriano is the only notable free agent left, and he certainly isn’t perfect. He is a 35-year-old reliever, but he also has a recent track record of success. He’s posted a 2.84 ERA and 3.36 FIP over the last three years, and he would come free.

The Dodgers bullpen was notoriously bad last year, and their decision to release Brian Wilson clearly indicates they are aware that spending money on relief pitchers is a fool’s errand. Soriano, though, would have to be a cheap option at this point in the offseason, and he would be worth a flier.

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