Dodgers Spring Training Week 1
Photo Credit - Kyle Polson (@mlbphotoman on Instagram)
If anyone (looking at you Jared Carrabis) thought that Mookie Betts would be sad to be a Dodger, the last few days at Camelback Ranch have put those thoughts to rest. The Dodgers' Twitter Feed has been clogged with photos of Mookie beaming and paling around with fellow MVP Cody Bellinger. While it's fun to see Betts with the Dodgers (and it still doesn't feel totally real), it is very important that he is meshing well with a team that had incredible chemistry last year, the core pieces of which are still on the Dodgers, in part thanks to the impatience of Angels owner Arte Moreno.
The first week of Spring Training seems to be going well for the Dodgers, as they are all bonding over their hatred of the Houston Astros and Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred. Bellinger and Turner have spoken out profusely, calling out Manfred for giving the Astros player immunity in his investigation of their sign stealing scandal and the Astros themselves for claiming that they earned the 2017 World Championship. Ross Stripling said on his podcast, "The Big Swing," that he is happy to still be with the Dodgers and discussed with guest Anthony Rendon that there were during the 2017 World Series that Houston was cheating. Rendon added, that, when watching the games on TV with friends, he noticed that the Astros were taking pitcher that were "strikes for 59 feet" and thought that something was up. Kenley Jansen has also expressed strong feelings that the players who have sent his career into a bit of a (probably temporary) spiral ought to be held accountable for their cheating. Regardless, team chemistry seems to be a nearly an all-time high, with the core energized by the trade for Betts and starting pitcher David Price and the young players yearning for a shot to make the big league club.
As Ken Gurnick of MLB.com notes, Alex Wood is very happy to be back and threw a live BP to an absolute gauntlet of Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts, and Corey Seager. I think that he has a solid shot at making the starting rotation, especially if Driveline Baseball has improved his game. Gurnick also notes that Dustin May and Jimmy Nelson are dealing with left side tightness and groin/lower back stiffness respectively. May, unlikely to make the rotation out of camp, should not be waylaid too long according to him. I think that Jimmy Nelson will probably be a middle reliever out of Spring. There is no timetable for his return.
The Dodgers have signed Terrance Gore, a terror on the base paths due to his unfathomable speed, as a possibility to be the 26th man on the roster if he can figure out how to hit (life .224 BA). Tyler White has been out-righted to AAA but is a non-roster invitee to big league camp. Both Kershaw and David Price are feeling great having thrown multiple bullpens, a good sign for 2 aging pitchers with injury history.