The Dodgers tied the Major League record of 27 disabled list stints as a team, which is quite astounding when considering major league rosters are comprised of 40 players. An amazing 48% of their total DL stints have been 60-day stints. With so many Dodger players on the DL, it will be interesting to see how many of them fit back into the mix once their time is ready. Let us play general manager for a minute and try to figure how, or if, these players slot back into the fold.
Major league rosters have two groups, 25, or the active roster, and 40, also known as the major league reserve list. Players on the 25-man roster are the only players available to play in that day’s game. The 40-man roster encompasses the players on the 25-man roster, and also includes 15 players that can be either players within the organization in the minors or players on the disabled list. The disabled list comes in 3 flavors; 7-day, 15-day, or 60-day. Players who are on the 7-day and 15-day disabled list count against the 40-man roster number, but people on the 60-day disabled list do not. This is where things may get tricky for the Dodgers.
60-Day (eligible return date) 15-Day (eligible return date)
Brett Anderson (any time) Casey Fien (8/2/16)
Andre Either (any time) Rich Hill (8/3/16)
Alex Wood (7/31/16) Adam Liberatore (8/15/16)
Clayton Kershaw (8/27/16) Bud Norris (8/16/16)
Hyun-jin Ryu (9/8/16) Louis Coleman (8/19/16)
Trayce Thompson (9/11/16) Scott Van Slyke (8/22/16)
Yimi Garcia (Out for year) Other:
Chris Hatcher (Out for year) Joe Blanton (Bereavement)
Chun-hui Tsao (Out for year)
Looking at our return dates, the three players closest to return will be Joe Blanton, Rich Hill and Brett Anderson. Word on Anderson is that his rehab timeline is being based on need, but someone will need to go back down to OKC when Blanton comes back any day. My money is on Grant Dayton. Grant has been great, and his stuff looks simply filthy, but with the team currently carrying 4 of them in the bullpen, it has to be a lefty that goes.
Grant gets the plane ticket instead of the much maligned Luis Avilan, because Avilan is just beginning to find his touch. During his current call-up which began on July 20th, Avilan has limited opponents to a .179 batting average, striking out 12 and walking 4 in 7.2 innings. But it’s all for naught, because Avilan will travel to OKC for the 5th time this season when Rich Hill comes back a few short days after Blanton.
Brett’s return poses a fun problem. He’s not on the 40-man roster due to currently residing on the 60-day disabled list. The right move here is moving Louis Coleman to the 60-day disabled list, swapping positions with Brett Anderson. Coleman has no current time table, and this move would effectively end his season. However, Brett would still need a spot on the 25-man roster. In this case, Brett would take the place of young Julio. Julio has an innings limit of around 110 that he is quickly approaching, with 93.1 innings on the season. Though it has been quite difficult to understand the team’s treatment of Julio, it’s probably best to give him one or two more starts in OKC, and shut him down for the year.
Alex Wood has an eight-week recovery from a July 20th surgery, so there is no need to worry about him until September. In addition to Yimi, Hatcher and Tsao, Trayce and Ryu may be done for the year.
Casey Fien started a rehab trip over the weekend, so he could be ready to come off the DL mid-week. However due to his performance, it’s very like that he will shuttle down to OKC immediately when healthy.
Once Liberatore and Norris are ready shortly thereafter, the likely moves are to replace Fields with Liberatore and Stripling with Norris. With his return from Tommy John surgery, Stripling remains on an innings limit for the year. While he still has some innings to give, it may be best to save them for September. If Norris is deemed no longer necessary, he may be placed on waivers before the end of the month or simply designated for assignment.
With Scott Van Slyke’s uncertainty and surgery a possibility, we could get an opportunity to see the Dodgers move him to the 60-day DL if he needs surgery and replace him on the 40-man roster with a minor leaguer, or free up his spot for the return of Kershaw. While Kershaw’s return is still up in the air, a best case scenario sounds like the first week of September, which is shortly after Van Slyke is slated to come off the DL. If surgery isn’t an option, we could see Fien get designated for assignment to make way for Clay.
While a lot could change between now and September, the Dodgers depth has most definitely been tested. Much has been said about how well the Dodgers have performed without the best pitcher on the planet, and it can’t be understated how much of a team effort it has been. From underachieving hitters turning it up to the bullpen shutting it down, being able to remain competitive while withstanding 27 disabled list stints is truly a thing to marvel.