Dodgers Likely to Adjust 40-Man Roster Ahead of Winter Meetings

While many fans identify baseball’s Winter Meetings as a hotbed for trades and potential free agent signings, few realize that the event also features the annual Rule 5 Draft, which is held on the final day of the gathering.

Heading into the meetings next month, the Dodgers need to add two players to the big league 40-man roster or else risk losing them to rival clubs in the draft. Both are right-handed pitchers—sinkerballer Trevor Oaks and the hard-throwing Dennis Santana.

Oaks is heading into his fifth season in the Dodgers’ system after being selected in the seventh round of the 2014 first-year player draft. Santana is also embarking on his sixth official year in the organization after being signed as a free agent shortstop out of the Dominican Republic at the age of 16 in 2013.

Players first signed at age 18 must be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons or they become eligible to be drafted by other organizations through the Rule 5 process. Players signed at 19 years or older have to be protected within four seasons. Clubs pay $50,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn’t stay on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $25,000.

In 2017 at Triple-A Oklahoma City, Oaks posted a 4-3 record with a 3.64 ERA in an even 84 innings over 15 starts before his season was ended abruptly with an oblique injury in July. Across three levels of the farm in 2016, he registered a 14-3 record with a 2.73 ERA with 108 strikeouts in 151 innings of work.

In regards to his pitching repertoire, Oaks, who turned 24 last March, features a sinker, an occasional four-seamer, a cutter, a slider, a changeup and periodically a curve ball.

“My four seam and sinker usually come out the same speed,” Oaks told us in an interview during 2016 spring training. “I try to live around the 91 to 93 range. If I’m feeling fresh might get it up to a five. I added the cutter this offseason for a different look off of my sinker—I primarily use it against lefties. I worked on my slider a lot with pitching coach Dom Johnson. It’s been much sharper this season and I’m hoping it continues to be a pitch I can rely on down the road.”

Santana recorded an 8-7 record with a 4.11 ERA with 129 punchouts over 118-1/3 innings between High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa last season. On center stage in the Texas League’s North Division Championship series finale against NW Arkansas in September, Santana threw perhaps the best game of his career, delivering seven brilliant innings of three-hit, shutout ball while striking out a season-high 11 opposing batters.

Santana’s arsenal is also very impressive, and is highlighted by a fastball that has the potential of topping out in the triple digits.

“I think my two best offerings are my slider and my fastball,” the 21-year-old righty told us in a conversation towards the end of last season. “I throw both a four-seam and a two-seam that sinks. I also use a changeup and a bending curve ball. Plus, I’m currently working on a splitter. My fastball normally sits at 96-98 MPH, but was clocked as high as 100 MPH at Rancho earlier in the season.”

Another player eligible for the draft is outfielder Jacob Scavuzzo, who is heading into his sixth year in the organization. It is unlikely that the Dodgers protect Scavuzzo, though, as he went unclaimed in last year’s draft. The 23-year-old native of Orange, CA has a career .258/.310/,433 minor league slash line with 65 long balls, 247 RBI and 43 stolen bases in 513 games.

Other players like slugger O’Koyea Dickson and righty pitcher Scott Barlow had the right to file for first-time free agency at the end of the 2017 campaign. Minor league players become eligible for free agency after seven seasons on the farm.

Dickson and Barlow join other notable players such as Fabio Castillo, Jack Murphy, Bobby Wilson and Madison Younginer who are also free agents and played in the Los Angeles system in 2017.

At the moment, the big league 40-man roster is full, so it remains to be seen how the Los Angeles management crew will make room for Oaks and Santana. A few potential DFA/non-tender candidates include right-handed flamethrower Josh Ravin as well as versatile outfielder Trayce Thompson.

In addition, if the Dodgers decide to do any selecting of their own, management will need to create even more space on the 40-man.

All MLB teams must tender 2018 contracts for everyone on their current 40-man rosters by December 2.

The Winter Meetings commence on Sunday, December 10 in Orlando.

(FOLLOW DENNIS ON TWITTER: @THINKBLUEPC)

 

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Dodgers 40-Man Roster May Have Different Look After Trade Deadline

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(Mandatory Credit: Nate Billings/The Oklahoman)

Even if the Dodgers don’t make a huge splash before next month’s non-waiver trade deadline, the club’s 40-man roster may take on a bit of a different look before the big league 25-man rosters expand in early September.

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A First-Quarter Progress Report for the Oklahoma City Dodgers

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

While we typically take a concise look at a handful of standout Dodgers prospects on a weekly basis, we very rarely check the progress of one of the affiliate squads as a whole. Yet, as it’s a bit difficult to size up the growth of the Triple-A Oklahoma City club with all the very frequent roster fluctuation, we thought it be interesting to check on the team just past the quarter-way mark of the regular season.

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Dodgers Roster: Realigning the Starting Pitching Depth Chart

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(Mandatory Credit: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

Admittedly for many fans of the Dodgers, veteran lefty Rich Hill wasn’t the first member of the original starting rotation thought to have been destined for a stay on the 10-day disabled list so early in the season. But while this move is more of a precautionary measure than a required need, it’s probably safe to say that Hill’s stay will result more towards the minimum amount of time instead of an elongated period. Even so, it surely doesn’t hurt to take a look at the depth chart beyond the current starting five.

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Rethinking the Oklahoma City Starting Rotation

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(Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports)

Several scenarios have become much more clear since we published our initial 25-man roster projections for the Oklahoma City Dodgers just under a week ago, especially the prospective components of the pitching staff. The position player portion of the roster will remain pretty much the same; however, the starting rotation will potentially consist of a group of Triple-A veterans, with the exception of one of the organization’s top starting prospects, right-handed sinkerballer Trevor Oaks.

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Dodgers Spring Training Notes: Kershaw, Roster Battles, Injuries & More

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The Dodgers looked nice and ready for Opening Day yesterday in their game against the Texas Rangers. Clayton Kershaw went for his longest outing yet, and was dominant — he struck out 11 of the 21 batters he faced in 92 pitches, allowing two hits and one walk. The prime time slot for the game last night showed MLB that its best pitcher he’s ready to go.

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All of a Sudden, the Dodgers Starting Rotation Doesn’t Seem So Deep

(Mandatory Credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

For many fans of the Dodgers, it’s beginning to become an annual occurrence — overwhelming optimism about a stacked rotation in the winter, eventually turning into genuine concern about the prospective starting pitching crew as Opening Day draws near. What was once a highly talented staff extending to the rafters at Triple-A Oklahoma City now has a few gray areas even at the big league level.

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Dodgers Cactus League Notes: Kershaw, Ethier, Seager, Urías, Buehler & More

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The countdown is on — just two weeks until the Dodgers open up the season against the San Diego Padres. Clayton Kershaw will be the starter that day, but on his last start he looked less than Kershaw-like. Kersh allowed three home runs, four runs total on six hits in five innings. He also had eight strikeouts and two walks.

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Dodgers Prospects: Trevor Oaks Discusses Early Days of Spring Training

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(Mandatory Credit: Tony Capobianco)

Even though he had the opportunity to suit up in a pinch and sit in the bullpen at one Cactus League game last year, righty pitching prospect Trevor Oaks is still excited for his first official non-roster invite to the big league camp of the Dodgers, and hopes to take advantage of every single moment.

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Projecting the 2017 Starting Rotation at Oklahoma City

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(Mandatory Credit: Kurt Steiss/The Oklahoman)

Even though the best available arms at Oklahoma City will undeniably be called upon more than once during the upcoming campaign, if the big league starting rotation of the Dodgers somehow stays relatively healthy for the majority of the season, the projected Triple-A rotation certainly has both the required talent and potential to be among the most elite in recent history.

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