Julio Urias, Corey Seager, Joc Pederson among top 11 prospects (FanGraphs.com).

Julio Urias

Julio Urias, 18, is fourth on FanGraphs’ list of the top 200 prospects in baseball. (Associated Press photo)

Julio Urias, Corey Seager and Joc Pederson continue to lay waste to the 2015 prospect rankings.

In the latest glorified opinion, Urias is fourth, Seager is sixth, and Pederson 11th on FanGraphs’ Top 200 prospect list. Right-handed pitcher Grant Holmes, the Dodgers’ first-round pick out of high school last year, is 89th. Andrew Heaney, whom the Dodgers traded to the Angels to acquire Howie Kendrick, is 50th.

Pitcher Chris Anderson and outfielder Alex Verdugo also made the list but were not ranked (players 143-200 were not assigned a specific numerical ranking).

For Urias, Seager and Pederson, it’s time to play baseball. The Sporting News, Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com all ranked the three prospects similarly high on their lists. (BaseballAmerica.com, we’re waiting.) All of this makes their arrival in major-league camp one of the top storylines of spring training — which I wrote about over the weekend.

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Dodgers sign David Aardsma to minor-league contract.

The Dodgers have signed David Aardsma to a minor-league contract, the pitcher announced on his Twitter page Sunday. The contract includes an invitation to spring training.

Aardsma, 33, saved 69 games in 78 opportunities with the Seattle Mariners from 2009-10. He underwent Tommy John surgery the following year and has only appeared in 44 major-league games since — all but one for the Mets in 2013.

In 33 games last year for the Memphis Redbirds, the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate, Aardsma went 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA.

Aardsma held a showcase for scouts Monday and reportedly hit 92 mph on the radar gun.

The Dodgers have extended invitations to 19 non-roster players.

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Jamey Wright signs with the Texas Rangers, and a look at the Dodgers’ bullpen makeover.

Jamey WrightThe Texas Rangers announced a one-year, minor-league contract with right-handed pitcher Jamey Wright on Saturday. Wright, who turned 40 in December, recently said he checked in with the Dodgers (apparently that’s as far as it went) and heard from about five other teams in total.

Wright went 5-4 with a 4.35 ERA for the Dodgers last season. Now, he’ll be in a familiar position: Prior to last year, he went to spring training on a minor-league contract eight straight seasons with seven different teams, including the Dodgers in 2012. Each time, he had a major-league contract by April.

Wright made 66 appearances for the Dodgers in 2012, going 5-3 with a 3.72 ERA. He elected to sign a minor-league deal with Tampa Bay in 2013 and had one of the best years of his career at age 38: A 3.09 ERA (and 3.13 FIP, both career lows) in 66 appearances, including one start.

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti decided to give Wright a second chance as a long reliever, but he never quite filled that role. Wright excelled against left-handers (.238/.317/.303) but struggled against righties (.299/.362/.375), and became more of a situational reliever in the second half.

When the Dodgers acquired Adam Liberatore from Tampa Bay to join Paco Rodriguez for depth behind the primary southpaw reliever, J.P. Howell, it left little room for Wright to return in 2015.

The Dodgers’ bullpen ranked in the bottom half of the majors in several categories last season, like WHIP (20th), ERA (22nd), strikeout/walk ratio (25th) and strikeouts/inning (16th). Their relievers had an 18-24 won-loss record, which is remarkable considering their starters went 76-44. That’s a huge disparity in winning percentage.

Not surprisingly, the Dodgers’ bullpen will look very different in 2015.

Name 2014 appearances Current team
Kenley Jansen 68 Dodgers
Brandon League 63 Dodgers
Jamey Wright 61 Rangers
Brian Wilson 61 Free agent
Chris Perez 49 Brewers
Paul Maholm 22 Reds
Pedro Baez 20 Dodgers
Chris Withrow 20 Dodgers
Paco Rodriguez 19 Dodgers
Kevin Correia 6 Free agent
Yimi Garcia 8 Dodgers
Scott Elbert 7 Padres
Carlos Frias 13 Dodgers
Jose Dominguez 5 Rays
Daniel Coulombe 5 Dodgers
Drew Butera 2 Angels
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Sandy Koufax, Vin Scully, Fernando Valenzuela complete 2015 bobblehead lineup.

Clayton Kershaw bobblehead

Clayton Kershaw’s bobblehead graciously posed for this picture posted to the Dodgers’ official Twitter account.

The Dodgers filled out their 2015 bobblehead lineup Friday with four heavy hitters: Sandy Koufax on August 13 (vs. Reds, 7:10 p.m.), Justin Turner on September 1 (vs. Giants, 7:10 p.m.), Fernando Valenzuela on September 16 (vs. Rockies, 7:10 p.m.) and Vin Scully on September 23 (vs. Diamondbacks, 7:10 p.m.).

The Dodgers will offer 10 total bobblehead giveaways this year. The other six:

· May 12 (7:10 pm) vs. Miami Marlins; Clayton Kershaw Bobblehead

· May 23 (7:10 pm) vs. Colorado Rockies; Adrian Gonzalez Bobblehead

· June 4 (7:10 pm) vs. St. Louis Cardinals; Kenley Jansen Bobblehead

· July 6 (7:10 pm) vs. Philadelphia Phillies; Maury Wills Bobblehead

· July 11 (7:10 pm) vs. Milwaukee Brewers; Juan Uribe Bobblehead

· July 29 (7:10 pm) vs. Oakland Athletics; Yasiel Puig Bobblehead

The Dodgers also added two postgame movie nights to the 2015 calendar: The Lego Movie on June 20 (4:15 p.m. vs. San Francisco) and Back to the Future on August 15 (6:10 p.m. vs. Cincinnati).

Screenings are free with a game-day ticket. Fans sitting in the right field pavilion and left field pavilion will be invited down to the field postgame for a better viewing experience.

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The Dodgers and Cuban baseball players: A brief primer.

Hector Olivera

Hector Olivera, 29, played second base for Team Cuba at the 2009 World Baseball Classic and 2008 Olympics. (Getty Images)

The Dodgers have been linked to four Cuban free agents this week, and if that’s not enough … no, that’s enough.

Here’s what you need to know about the quartet.
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Dodgers promote Luis Matos to manage Single-A Great Lakes.

Luis Matos

Luis Matos played 494 of his 508 career major-league games for the Baltimore Orioles. (Getty Images)

Luis Matos will manage Single-A Great Lakes in 2015, the Dodgers announced Thursday.

Matos replaces Bill Haselman, who managed the Loons to a 66-73 record in 2014. Haselman was originally re-hired as the Loons’ manager, with Matos as a third coach. When P.J. Forbes resigned as the manager of Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on Feb. 2, Haselman moved up a level, creating the vacancy at Great Lakes.

Matos was a hitting coach this past winter for Crillos de Caguas of the Puerto Rican Winter League and also served as a coach in MLB’s Puerto Rico Youth Summer League.

Here’s more from the Dodgers’ press release:

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Corey Seager, Joc Pederson, Julio Urias among top 13 prospects (Sporting News).

The Sporting News ranked three Dodgers among its top 50 fantasy prospects for 2015: Corey Seager (5), Joc Pederson (7) and Julio Urias (13).

Free agent infielder Yoan Moncada is 23rd.

Seager, Pederson and Urias have all appeared on similar lists compiled by BaseballProspectus.com and MLB.com, among others.

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Report: Yoan Moncada will decide where to sign by February 23.

Yoan Moncada


February 23 will mark the seventh anniversary of Fidel Castro’s final day as president of Cuba.

In the United States, it’s Yoan Moncada Day.

The free agent infielder will sign with a major-league team sometime in the next 12 days, his representative told ESPN.com. From Jerry Crasnick’s piece:

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The Dodgers will draft 24th and 35th in June. Hold onto your red grading pens.

James Shields

The San Diego Padres won’t draft until 41st overall in June because they signed James Shields. (Getty Images)

When James Shields‘ contract with the San Diego Padres becomes official — he’s reportedly agreed to terms on a four-year contract — the Dodgers will hold the 35th overall pick in the June draft.

That’s in addition to the 24th overall pick that was theirs by virtue of their 2014 regular season record.

None of this became official until today, when the 2015 draft order was finally set. Why did it take so long?

Because Shields rejected a qualifying offer from the Kansas City Royals before signing with the Padres, the Padres forfeited the 13th overall pick in the draft (and won’t draft until the 41st overall pick). And because Shields was the last unsigned free agent who’d rejected a qualifying offer, every team can confidently say where it will pick June 8.

That’s the short version of what went into setting the draft order; BaseballAmerica.com has a nice breakdown of the particulars.

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Enrique Hernandez, Brandon Dixon wrap up Winter League stints.

The Caribbean Series is over. The Cuban club from Pinar del Rio beat the Mexican entry from Culiacan, 3-2, to claim the championship Sunday.

It’s worth mentioning that Dodgers infielder/outfielder Enrique Hernandez had a strong series. His Puerto Rico club didn’t make the final, but Hernandez went 3 for 11 with a home run and two RBIs in three games. That followed a 15-game stint in the Puerto Rican Winter League in which Hernandez slashed .279/.328/.377.

Those numbers won’t blow you away, but in such a small sample size there’s going to be more to the story than just numbers.

We should also mention Dodgers minor-league infielder Brandon Dixon, who had a productive three games in the Australian Baseball League championship Sunday. Playing for the Adelaide Bite, Dixon went 4 for 14 (.286) with at least one hit in each game of the three-game series.

Dixon batted .289 with nine home runs in 47 games during the ABL regular season. That’s equal to the number of home runs he hit in 94 games last season in the hitter-friendly California League.

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