Beginning in 2020, the rules will change as far as roster expansion goes in September. The new regulation will allow a club to carry just 28 players on its expanded roster as opposed to the full 40 permitted by today’s rules. This should make for some interesting conjecture, especially with the Dodgers, who annually like to give many regulars prescribed rest periods down the stretch run of the season.
Regardless, there isn’t anything stopping Los Angeles from loading up its active roster next week, although it has been hinted by management that this season may not see as many call-ups compared to years past. However, based on who might be able to contribute at the big league level, fans may indeed see a full dugout come September 1.
As far as players on the 40-man roster go, I broke down all the players into “probables,” “definite doubtfuls” and “maybes.”
On my doubtful list, I have Keibert Ruiz, Yadier Alvarez and Dennis Santana. Ruiz suffered a broken finger on his right hand earlier in August and is definitely out for the remainder of the season. Alvarez has been listed on Double-A Tulsa’s DL since April and has shown no signs of being ready to throw. Santana, who began the season on the big league roster, hasn’t been able to get it together since his demotion. In 89 innings at Triple-A OKC this year, he has a whopping 51 walks with a 7.20 ERA and a 1.78 WHIP.
Still, I think there could be small chances that Ruiz and Santana get invites to be present in the big league dugout for the benefit of being exposed to the major league atmosphere, similar to the opportunity that catcher Will Smith had last year.
For the “maybe” group, I only have two players—reliever Scott Alexander and utility man Tyler White. The last we heard about Alexander, he went to visit a nerve specialist a few weeks back for the problems with his forearm. The lefty also had issues with his thumb, but it will probably be the neurological issues which keep him from seeing any more action this year. I list White as a maybe only because he could be the victim of a release if the Dodgers need to make a 40-man spot to promote infield prospect Gavin Lux, as suggested by several media outlets close to the organization.
The probables account for a whopping 13 prospective call-ups. Position players include catcher Austin Barnes, veteran infielder David Freese, utility men Kristopher Negron and Edwin Rios, as well as outfielders Kyle Garlick and Alex Verdugo, so long as Vedugo’s oblique injury is fully healed. Based on his current progress, Verdugo’s recall may be delayed by a week or two.
The lone starting pitcher who will be recalled at some point is lefty Rich Hill. There have been some reports that have already stated that there’s a possibility the veteran could be part of the prospective playoff rotation, if he indeed can prove that he’s both effective and 100% healthy. There will also need to be a 40-man spot created for Hill, who has been listed on the 60-day injury list since early July.
Consequently, lefty Julio Urias will be eligible to return from his suspension on September 3.
While the expanded roster will certainly allow skipper Dave Roberts to provide some much needed rest to his regulars, the next several weeks will also be a tryout of sorts for players who may be considered for the team’s postseason roster.