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Dodgers: Roster Crunch Is Coming For Position Players

They need room for returning players from the IL.

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 01: Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Kristopher Negron (9) looks on during a MLB game between the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 1, 2019 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Dodgers have built a deep roster that has withstood injuries and unfulfilled expectations. As the season has passed the two-thirds mark the Dodgers’ 25 man roster contains names none of us expected such as Kristopher Negrón, Matt Beaty and Tyler White. Players such as Edwin Rios and Kyle Garlick have also been up and down. The biggest surprise has been sending Austin Barnes down to AAA with Will Smith becoming the regular catcher. Heck, they even traded for an injured Jedd Gyorko, who is on a rehabilitation assignment.

As of this writing Alex Verdugo, Chris Taylor, David Freese, Gyorko and Kiké Hernandez are on the Injured List. It looks like Taylor, Gyorko and Hernandez could be back within the next two weeks with Freese back in September. It is important to note that the roster expands to 40 in September but the crunch from players due back soon can cause some real issues. There are many players that cannot be sent back without clearing waivers. Two of those players are the newly acquired Kristopher Negrón and Tyler White. Jedd Gyorko, on the IL also cannot be sent to AAA without clearing waivers.

This article will take a look at the impacts to the 25 man roster as position players come off the IL and where they all fit back in. We will also take a look at which position players might need to be removed from the roster to make room for the returning players.

The Position Players

The table below has each player in consideration for the 25 man roster along with a note if they are not on the 25 man at the moment and if they can be optioned to the minors without any consequences.

Injured List Status

  • Alex Verdugo – “Dugie” was just put on the 10 day IL for an oblique injury. It is quite possible he could be out until September.

  • Chris Taylor – CT3 suffered a fracture in his wrist when he was beaned during a game against Boston right after the All-Star Break. He was thought to be out for 4-6 weeks so he could be ready to come back soon. I talked to him briefly a few days ago and he had nothing on his wrist and said it felt good.
  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 13: David Freese #25 of the Los Angeles Dodgers smiles during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on June 13, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated the Cubs 7-3. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

    David Freese – Freese has continued lower half injuries. He’s been put back on the IL and the Dodgers will bring Freese back as he manages his own rehabilitation. The goal is to have him ready by September to get him ready for the post-season.

  • Jedd Gyorko – When Gyorko was acquired from the Cardinals he was already on the 60 Day IL. However, he has already started a rehabilitation assignment for the Dodgers and should be ready to be activated soon. The Dodgers want him to get 50-60 plate appearances.
  • Kiké Hernandez – Kiké sprained his left hand while swinging a bat. Other than Gyorko, he is probably closest to being ready.

My estimates from reports I’ve read are that the players will return in the following order:

  1. Gyorko – about 10-14 days or so as he is rehabbing now
  2. Hernandez – rehabilitation assignment by early next week and back by mid-August
  3. Taylor – just a little behind Hernandez
  4. Verdugo and Freese – on or after September 1st.

Possible Roster Moves

To activate anyone after August 31st they won’t need to make any further moves except for players coming off the 60 Day IL. With Gyorko, Hernandez and Taylor back within two weeks, three players will need to be moved off the 25 man roster and a player will need to be moved off the 40 man roster (for Gyorko).

On-The-Bubble Players With Options

In the above table I put a mark in everyone that has an option but we know some of them are not going to the minors. Players on the current 25 man roster that have a realistic chance to be optioned without consequence are:

  1. Edwin Rios – he was just called up but doesn’t have a full role on the team.
  2. Matt Beaty – this would be unfair but they’ve sent him down before without cause.

On-The-Bubble Players Without Options

The players on the 25 man that don’t have options that could be Designated For Assignment (DFA) could be lost to another team. A player who is DFA’d could be put on waivers and, if unclaimed by another team, could be sent down. The only players that I think that are on that bubble are:

  1. Tyler White – he has struggled since the Dodgers acquired him. I’d like to see him get more time with the coaching staff.
  2. Kristopher Negrón – he has been excellent with the Dodgers on offense and has displayed a lot of versatility on defense. I would hate to lose him.

If either of these players are moved off the roster then it would free up a 40 man roster spot also.

The Injured List

The Dodgers could use the Injured List to put someone like A.J. Pollock on it (consistent groin issues keeping him out) or put one of the vulnerable players on the IL with an “injury”. Yes, the phantom IL is always a possibility.

Summary

With Verdugo and Freese probably out until September, the Dodgers will need to find room on the 25 man roster for Gyorko, Hernandez and Taylor. They will also need a 40 man spot for Gyorko. With Keibert Ruiz injured he may go onto the 60 Day IL to help create the 40 man spot. At the same time I hope they can retain as all the players mentioned above in the organization. Injuries will still happen and there isn’t a chance to trade for replacements.

Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

7 Comments

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  1. Not that complicated, some thoughts:
    – Beaty, if he goes down then Roberts needs to be fired and / or committed. Beaty is the real deal, the complete package. But then Roberts is not the best manager, to say the least.
    – Tyler White, we’ve seen nothing, definitely take a hike.
    – Rios still looks like he can’t hit breaking balls, hard heat, or run out the balls that he does hit, take a hike.
    – Gyorko, why would the Dodgers acquire a marginal player to begin with who is also injured? Take a quick look, when he can actually play, and if nothing, take a hike.
    – Negron looks like a keeper, those 2 homers need to be forgotten, needs to keep his swing tight & under control. Better infielder than outfielder.
    – Ruiz, can’t hit, defensively raw & clumsy, nowhere close to Will Smith, forget about it. Excellent trade bait.
    – Garlick, deserves another brief look. Has pop & good minor league average.
    – Is AJ Pollock the most fragile human being ever made? Come on AJ, get with it.

  2. Agree with John’s comments above. Did not understand then and still don’t now the love affair with Gyorko. Better players in the system and not worth a 40 man roster spot or 25 man active spot.

    • As far as Jon’ comments, most I would concur. Only issue with beaty is he may be like Joc Pederson against LHP. But other than that Taylor Hernandez and Gyorko all provide some RH sock, something of which Dodgers are still a bit lacking.

  3. The Dodgers, in my view, have made few if any personnel blunders this season. The record speaks for itself. This article generally describes good problems to have. Consider the post season is a grind, and having some of these assets in reserve, ready to go at a moment’s notice, or that match up better in the next series, could make all the difference.

  4. I’d like to see Lux given a long look at 2nd base. Then Muncy can play 1st and Beaty can play left field over Joc whose average always fades at the end of each season. So it all comes down to whether you would take Beaty over Joc. I’d rather see a post season outfield lineup of Beaty in left, Verdugo in center, and Cody in right. Having Lux in the lineup along with Beaty makes Keke and Joc expendable which is OK with me.

  5. The problem is Roberts isn’t the one making the decision on who stays and who gets sent down. I am sure he shares his thoughts, but Friedman is making that call. The only guy we could lose that I have seen worth keeping is Negron. White can go. I love Beaty like most, but where is he going to get consistent playing time. Unless we move Pederson, which we can’t until the off-season. Our depth is ridiculous, and I could see them dragging their feet on activating some guys until rosters expand so we don’t lose anyone.

  6. Great article as usual! Just one small little pet peave of mine. This baseball term has been twisted through the years and does not mean what your description implies. “Bean Ball” is a ball that actually is thrown at the HEAD or hits the batter in the HEAD. His “bean” is his head. So to be clear, when a player is hit by a pitch, it is simply that, he was “hit by a pitch”. However if he is hit in the HEAD it can be called a Bean Ball. I hope you take this criticism in the spirit in which it was intended.

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