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.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

Screenshot 2016-02-07 at 10.16.43 AM
Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.