On Monday afternoon, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced that veteran outfielder Franklin Gutierrez had signed with the team after two days of working out in Glendale, Arizona the spring training facilities for the team.
The deal between the veteran and the Dodgers was reached late last week, but could not be announced formally because the team did not clear a space for him on their roster of 40 players until Vidal Nuno a southpaw was traded to Baltimore on Sunday.
The Dodgers are heading into a new season with huge expectations thanks to such depth on the roster. Los Angeles has won four straight National League West titles and has talented big leaguers at all positions ranging from young top prospect talent to seasoned veterans.
The extraordinary depth on the Dodgers means that spring training is very important as they begin a tough process of cutting the roster to its 25 players.
In just his starting rotation, manager Dave Roberts can choose from 10 starters who are legitimate big leaguers. The teams must also make difficult decisions in the bullpen as well as the outfield.
Tuesday marks the first workout with a full squad for the team which means the process of elimination will begin soon. Clayton Kershaw, the pitching ace for the Dodgers, said that competition will abound this spring and someone at some point will end up being unhappy.
This past offseason, the team spent over $192 million to keep closer Kenley Jansen, starter Rich Hill and Justin Turner their third baseman.
Last season the Dodgers were deep as well. That helped them win 91 games during the regular season before losing to the Chicago Cubs in the NL Championship series.
Injuries decimated the depth last season. The team set a record last season by putting 28 players on its disabled list. That is 28 different individuals of which some were on more than once.
In August seven of the Dodgers starting pitchers were on the DL during the same time. Fifty-five players played at some point during the season, which tied a team record.
This season the roster is even deeper. That is why they had to wait to announce the Gutierrez signing and that of Chase Utley the veteran second baseman who will fill in during the season.
The signing of Gutierrez will help the lineup against left handers. Last season the Dodgers struggled against lefties but this acquisition could help change that.