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Perhaps the Dodgers were hoping to make a trade with the Twins by now, clearing out a few spots on the 40-man roster in the process. Or maybe team representatives are waiting until the honeymoon is over, permitting time for a physical examination and allowing agents and lawyers to gather in one place to review the contract. Quite possibly, the front office could be mulling over which player to outright to the minors, creating one opening on the big league roster. Either way, at least one corresponding move will need to be made before star reliever Kenley Jansen officially signs his name to his new five-year, $80 million dollar deal.
The moment any free agent player signs a major league contract, that player is immediately moved to the signing club’s 40-man roster. That’s just the way the rules work. And in the case of the Dodgers, the team’s 40-man is already at 40 players, as the last opening was filled when Justin Turner‘s contract became official just before Christmas.
In addition to a prospective deal to acquire Brian Dozier, we already discussed a few other alternative trade scenarios, most specifically exchanges with the Pirates and Brewers to snag Josh Harrison and Jonathan Villar, respectively.
While Pittsburgh has already indicated that the idea of moving Harrison is off the table, 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 Bucs, an area of weakness they desperately need to address. 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.
To boot, there hasn’t been any hint from the Brewers in regards to shopping Villar right now, but perhaps the versatile infielder could be landed at the right price. With highly touted infielding prospect Orlando Arcia currently on the fringes of the big leagues, an exodus involving Villar down the road may already be on the agenda. A conceivable trade with the Dodgers involving two or three high quality prospects may be worth exploring, as Villar’s .309/.385/.581 slash line against southpaw pitching in 2016 would certainly look favorable to the Dodgers’ front office crew.
We also briefly mentioned some type of potential move involving injured relief pitcher Yimi Garcia. Garcia, who had Tommy John surgery in November, 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 to create an immediate roster opening, similar to the situation with Nathan Eovaldi and the Yankees.
The 2016 season was basically a total loss for Garcia, who only made nine major league appearances before he was shut down for good. In 2015, however, the hard-throwing righty logged 56-2/3 innings of 3.34 ERA ball in his first full MLB campaign.
Furthermore, we also considered that the Dodgers could bump out an individual player or two to create space, similar to what the team did with Charlie Culberson a few weeks back. Players on the 40-man right now, such as Carlos Frias, Chris Taylor or Micah Johnson, randomly come to mind straight away.
Regardless of what the team decides, one would guess some sort of resolution should be reached not too long after the passing of the new year.