How Will Dodgers Create Roster Space for Joe Kelly?

(Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

While it’s been almost a week since the news broke of the Dodgers signing righty reliever Joe Kelly, there still hasn’t been an formal announcement from the team, which indicates there is some kind of holdup making the contract official.

There may be delays with Kelly’s physical exam, or there could be more time needed to put into legal jargon the particulars of the deal. Some have even speculated that there may be a trade in the works, giving the Dodgers the opportunity to clear roster space without having to release any players.

As Andy mentioned in her column yesterday, some rumors—as unbelievable as they sound—are even swirling about Bryce Harper having agreed to a deal, but the Dodgers are “purportedly” trying to move some players before they make an announcement. This seems nonsensical to say the least, despite all signs pointing to the 26-year-old superstar outfielder “badly wanting to be a Dodger.”

Regardless, because the 40-man roster is currently full, the simplest way to create space for Kelly is to designate a player for assignment. If the club is unable to make room on the roster soon, this may be the avenue the front office decides to take.

There are lots of guesses as to which players might be on their way out. Rocky Gale comes to mind straightaway, although the team could be forced to keep him for his experience if no new catcher is acquired via free agency or trade before spring camp begins. Another name that continues to pop-up is Brock Stewart. The righty swing man is currently out of options and would need to be included on the team’s Opening Day 25-man roster if management wants him to stay around.

The 30-year-old Gale made a handful of appearances for the Dodgers last year after rosters expanded and has gone 2-for-22 in 17 big league games stretching over three seasons.

Stewart, 27, pitched in nine games as part of the frequent flyer program between Oklahoma City and Los Angeles last year when the disabled list was at its busiest point. In those nine games, the Illinois native posted a 6.11 ERA and a 6.38 FIP over 17-2/3 innings of work. For his career, he has tallied a 4.84 ERA and a 5.50 FIP over an even 80 innings and 33 appearances, 11 of which were starts.

Other DFA candidates include several players from the recent wave of 40-man roster promotions—Yadier Alvarez, Josh Sborz, Matt Beaty or Edwin Rios.

Since the Kelly signing isn’t “officially” on the books, there is no hard deadline for his roster inclusion, so there isn’t any imaginable rush to make things formal. However, if the Dodgers were to make any subsequent moves as the winter progresses, the 40-man would need to be adjusted accordingly.



18 thoughts on “How Will Dodgers Create Roster Space for Joe Kelly?

  1. Unless they see something in Gale that we don’t he certainly seems like the most likely to go. There are a million guys they could sign to go to Tulsa or OKC and they could always come up with someone at least as good as Gale to back up Barnes if that turns out to be necessary. With regard to poor Brock Stewart, I can’t believe someone wouldn’t take a flyer on him in a trade, rather than a dfa situation. It certainly wouldn’t take much to get him but he’s worth more than a dfa scenario.


      1. I can’t imagine any situation under which Stewart starts the year on the Opening Day roster. Before that happens, they’ll dfa him. But hopefully before that happens they’ll send him to someone who will give him a chance to become the pitcher he might have been before we messed him up by constantly sending him back and forth to OKC. As far as Wilmer is concerned, I saw a Rays depth chart the other day that had him listed as one of their 5 starters. Not really sure that’s going to happen, but it was nice to see.


      2. Maybe we should forget about Kluber/Bauer and try to get Wilmer back from the Rays. Do you think Smith, May and Puig would do it? Just kidding of course, but sometimes a guy just needs a chance to pitch knowing that one or two bad outings won’t end his career with that team. Maybe the Rays made him feel that way.


  2. One thing Scoop really nailed was the glut of idiots on twitter. There is this one guy on there who just thinks he is the ultimate source of insider Dodger knowledge. He claimed this morning that the Dodgers already had agreements with both Harper, and Pollock and that they were working on a trade for Kyle Seager and also were in on Realmuto with Verdugo and Puig supposedly on their way to Miami. I don’t know what that guy is smoking, but it has to be some potent stuff.


    1. He forgot to mention that the Padres claimed Buehler off waivers from us and that Doc just named Gonsolin as the opening day starter. That guy is what I refer to as a PSWM (Pot Stirrer With Malice). Just trying to get a rise out of commenters. He seems to be pretty good at that. And by the way, when I spoke with Bryce a few minutes ago, he told me he’s signing with the Orioles.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The one that got away! Some of the rosters that posts are already showing the non roster invitees. Usually those do not pop up until early February. I am pretty sure ol Andrew is working on getting the Kelly deal in place.


    1. I thought Harvey might end up in LA. Missed it by a few miles. $11 million? Could be a steal.

      Watching AJ Pollock play in Arizona there was a time I wished he was a Dodger. His last full year, ’15, he slashed .315/.367/.498. He was 27 and healthy. Those numbers would look great out of our lead off position. I don’t believe we will see them again, but he does project well – near .800 OPS.

      As for who gets moved off the 40, does it really matter? It doesn’t to me. If the deal with Harper is in place, and it might be, it could be next year before the 40 is settled, and it might be churned all the way to July. It’s the 25 that matters.

      Anybody interested in Tulo for second base? He’d come pretty cheap. He’s working out for clubs this week. Giants interested. I think he’s probably done. He’s 34 now. He was sure a force 25 to 30.

      Descalso signs with the Cubs. Saw him a lot in Arizona. I like him. Reminds me of Kiké. Not quite the power. He doesn’t swing as hard.

      We’ve seen 8 guys play second base the last two years. Accumulated stats show those 8 kinda sucked. 30th in average, 28th in OPS, 23rd in wRC+. Defense wasn’t any better – 28th in DRAA,, 15th in DRS. Figure it out Friedman.

      When reading about our bullpen prospects it sure sounds like we have some options there. I wonder why those guys don’t show up higher on the top 200 lists. Maybe they only show starters. I did see Gonsolin at 232 on one list. He’s a starter but his K/9 and WHIP suggests he could come out of the pen. He’s going to be 25 this year. It’s time.


  3. Trim the roster to 35. Wouldnt have any impact on MLB teams and we wouldnt be having these silly discussions about who to drop. Call them what they are , triple a players. Would give younger guys a opportunity to move up. Dfa’s rarely get picked up and when they do it’s a your #40 may be better than my #40. Til another one comes along.


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