Trimming the Dodgers’ 40-Man Roster: Hypothetically

(Photo Credit: Benny Sieu/USA Today Sports)

Before the Dodgers can “officially” ink both reliever Kenley Jansen and infielder Justin Turner to their new respective deals, the front office crew will need to create at least one open roster spot, opening the door for some type of personnel move in the very near future.

There’s already been a bit of fluctuation over the past five weeks. The Dodgers selected the contracts of starting pitcher Chase De Jong, catcher Kyle Farmer and reliever Jacob Rhame in mid-November to protect them from being lost in the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings, giving the club a full compliment of 40 players. Consequently, the team did not tender a contract to relief pitcher Louis Coleman, which freed up one open spot, making the count 39. Eventually, Rich Hill‘s signing brought the tally back to 40. Finally, the count went back to its present number of 39 when the club outrighted utility man Charlie Culberson to Triple-A Oklahoma City last week.

Once a team “officially” signs a free agent, as with the case of Jansen and Turner, that player is immediately moved to the signing club’s 40-man roster. While both players probably still have the formalities of passing physicals, the more likely delay of the official team announcement is due to the club making corresponding roster moves.

According to a number of reports, a prospective trade of Minnesota second baseman Brian Dozier to the Dodgers is still carrying a fair amount of momentum, and would probably be the more desirable method of paring down the Los Angeles roster before the club needs to outright or designate more players for assignment. If the Dodgers can indeed reach some sort of deal with the Twins, and include at least two players who are already on the 40-man in the process, the necessary roster maintenance would take care of itself. However, if the Dodgers aren’t able to complete any kind of trade relatively soon, the club could bump out an individual player or two, with such players like Carlos Frias, Chris Taylor or Micah Johnson randomly coming to mind straight away.

As it would certainly take at least a few top level prospects to snag Dozier, another of many trade ideas is propositioning the Pirates to deal super-utility man Josh Harrision. While Pittsburgh has already indicated that moving Harrison isn’t desirable, especially after jack-of-all-trades Sean Rodriguez signed with the Braves, surely an offering of a pair of mid-level of starting pitchers would tempt the Buccos — something the Pirates desperately need. A deal for Harrison, who carries a career .290 average against southpaw pitching, would also conceivably open a door to bring back veteran second baseman Chase Utley in a platoon role.

Reliever Yimi Garcia, who had Tommy John surgery last month, could eventually be moved to the 60-man disabled list creating another open roster spot, but such a move cannot be made until the beginning of the 2017 season. It does remain a possibility, though, that the Dodgers could release Garcia before that time, similar to the situation with Nathan Eovaldi and the Yankees.

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