Dodgers May Readjust 40-Man Roster Before Winter Meetings

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(Photo Credit: David Zalubowski/Associated Press)

If the MLB Winter Meetings do indeed begin as scheduled this Sunday in Maryland, the Dodgers may very well decide to make a number of adjustments on the 40-man roster, especially if the management crew wishes to participate in the Rule 5 draft on the final day of the meetings.

Less than two weeks ago, the Dodgers selected the contracts of starting pitcher Chase De Jong, catcher Kyle Farmer and reliever Jacob Rhame to protect them from being lost in the draft, giving the club a full compliment of 40 players on its 40-man roster. However, any player chosen in the Rule 5 draft must be immediately moved to the selecting club’s 40-man, so, in essence, any team that does not have any vacancies on its 40-man roster may not make a selection.

If Los Angeles decides to pass on the big league portion of the draft, the team still may participate in the minor league stage of the selection process. There are also Triple-A and Double-A phases to the Rule 5 draft, where players put on the Triple-A reserve list cost the selecting team $12,000, and players put on the Double-A reserve list cost the selecting team $4,000. Any player who is picked in the major league portion of the draft costs the selecting team $50,000. Teams draft in reverse order of the regular-season standings.

In years past, there have been several gems discovered in the Rule 5 draft, including Roberto Clemente, Johan Santana, Dan Uggla, Josh Hamilton and Joakim Soria. Some of the more intriguing players of this year’s affair are among an interesting crop of hard-throwing pitchers, most specifically Julian Fernandez of the Rockies, Yimmi Brasoban of the Padres and Drew Muren of the Diamondbacks.

Another reason for the Dodgers to clear roster space is to make room for the potential signing of a free agent who would need to be added to the 40-man immediately. The players on the club’s primary, immediate radar are certainly infielder Justin Turner and reliever Kenley Jansen, although it’s also been suggested that starting pitcher Rich Hill and infielder Chase Utley are also high priorities.

While the Dodgers could possibly create roster space by sending players away through trades, the most likely method would probably be to non-tender a contract to a player who is arbitration eligible. The club has nine players who fit that category, with catcher Yasmani Grandal and pitcher Alex Wood the likeliest to receive properly compensated contracts. Others in the group, who may even be conceivably viewed as non-tender candidates include Louis Coleman, Chris Hatcher, Josh Fields, Luis Avilan and Scott Van Slyke, in addition to newcomers Darin Ruf and Vidal Nuno.

All MLB teams must tender 2017 contracts for everyone on their current 40-man rosters by December 2.

The Winter Meetings commence on Sunday, December 4 just outside of the nation’s capital in National Harbor, MD, and end on Thursday, December 8 with the conclusion of the Rule 5 draft.

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