Diving into the depths: Los Angeles Dodgers

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Rotation
1. Hiroki Kuroda
2. Clayton Kershaw
3. Chad Billingsley
4. Vicente Padilla
5. James McDonald
6. Eric Stults
7. Scott Elbert
8. Russ Ortiz
9. Charlie Haeger
9. Josh Lindblom
10. Josh Towers
11. John Ely
12. Chris Withrow
13. James Adkins
It was a certainty that the Dodgers would add a fourth starter, and they got that done by re-signing Padilla. Now it just remains to be seen whether they’ll also pick up a No. 5. I think McDonald would be just fine in that role, but he could be as valuable while spending another year in the pen. The alternatives are plentiful, but there aren’t really any standouts. I prefer Elbert in the pen.
Bullpen
1. Jonathan Broxton
2. George Sherrill
3. Ramon Troncoso
4. Hong-Chih Kuo
5. Ronald Belisario
6. James McDonald
7. Scott Elbert
8. Cory Wade
9. Justin Miller
10. Eric Stults
11. Brent Leach
12. Luis Ayala
13. Scott Dohmann
14. Carlos Monaterios
15. Josh Lindblom
16. Juan Perez
17. Travis Schlichting
18. Javy Guerra
19. Armando Zerpa
20. Kenley Jansen
The bullpen will be deep regardless, but extremely so if the Dodgers do ink a fifth starter and let McDonald and Elbert battle it out for relief spots. Broxton, Sherrill, Troncoso, Kuo, Belisario and McDonald all had ERAs of 3.00 or better last year (McDonald was at 4.00 overall, but he came in at 2.72 in his 49 2/3 innings out of the pen).


Catcher
1. Russell Martin
2. A.J. Ellis
3. Lucas May
First base
1. James Loney
2. Casey Blake
3. Doug Mientkiewicz
4. John Lindsey
Second base
1. Blake DeWitt
2. Jamey Carroll
3. Nick Green
4. Argenis Reyes
Third base
1. Casey Blake
2. Blake DeWitt
3. Jamey Carroll
4. Nick Green
5. Angel Berroa
Shortstop
1. Rafael Furcal
2. Ivan DeJesus
3. Nick Green
4. Chin-Lung Hu
DeWitt is supposed to get a chance to be the full-time second baseman, but it’d make sense to have Carroll start over him against lefties. Green will probably have the edge on the other utility slot, given that the Dodgers don’t seem to be as high on Hu as they once were. DeJesus won’t be a candidate for a utility role, but he just might take over as the starting shortstop if anything happens to Furcal.
Left field
1. Manny Ramirez
2. Xavier Paul
3. Jason Repko
4. Michael Restovich
Center field
1. Matt Kemp
2. Jason Repko
3. Xavier Paul
4. Brian Barton
Right field
1. Andre Ethier
2. Xavier Paul
3. Jason Repko
4. Michael Restovich
If the Dodgers add another bat, it will probably be a veteran fourth outfielder. They’d be OK with Repko and Paul in reserve, but odds are that someone will fall into their price range. That’d set it up so that Repko and Paul would battle for one spot. Paul is the fantasy sleeper of the two, but the Dodgers won’t want to keep him in the majors unless they know they’ll be able to find him at-bats.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.