The long winter is coming to an end, Dodger fans. On Saturday, pitchers and catchers made their way to Camelback Ranch in Phoenix, Arizona for Spring Training.
Just hearing the words "pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training" is music to any fan's ears. The rest of the squad will join them next week and exhibition games will start up Feb. 26.
That means the 2014 baseball season is right around the corner, and the opening series in Australia is just over a month away. While most of the roster is set, there are some players who are fighting for a starting position, or just a spot on the roster in general.
The Dodgers have a pluthora of relief pitchers with a history of closing out games, yet the most inexperienced of the group is going to be the man responsible for locking down the ninth inning.
Kenley Jansen is slated as the teams closer with Brian Wilson likely setting him up in the eighth. What the team plans to do with former closers Chris Perez and Brandon League should be interesting, but could also block the path for younger arms into the bigs.
Paco Rodriguez, J.P. Howell, and Jamey Wright will certainly be in the mix, but names that became familiar in 2013, like Jose Dominguez and Chris Withrow, could find themselves in the minors to start the season.
The bullpen may be bursting at the seams, but the infield has cracks that might go unfilled. Adrian Gonzalez at first, Hanley Ramirez at shortstop, and Juan Uribe at third are a given, but second base is a giant question mark.
Alexander Guerrero has yet to be tested at the MLB level, and the Dodgers have seen what happens when they rely too much on Dee Gordon and Justin Sellers. Veteran infielder Chone Figgins is also fighting for a spot to be in the mix, but at this point there is just no telling who will end up the starter.
For some Spring Training is just a tune-up. For others it is the last chance to make the big leagues for opening day. As the team makes their cuts down to the 25-man roster fans will have a better picture of what to expect in 2014.