Though the season is still in doubt there has been some movement towards putting something together. The owners have made a proposal and now it is time for them to negotiate with the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA). One important item that came out was some possible extra roster spots.
The active rosters are expected to be expanded from 26 players to 30, with a 20-man taxi squad consisting mostly of an organization’s top minor-league players being available all season. – Bob Nightengale
With the roster expansion, I’m sure that will mean some more pitching but there has to be some more position players added also. Even with the evil Designated Hitter coming into play the Dodgers could use some more flexibility.
The current Dodgers catching at the Major League level, barring injury, will be Will Smith and Austin Barnes. Keibert Ruiz will definitely be on the taxi squad as he is on the 40-man roster. The Dodgers have two more non-roster catchers in Rocky Gale and Jose Lobaton. I’m a big believer in Smith but Ruiz is not ready. Barnes has proven that he is a strong defensive catcher but the offense has vanished from his arsenal.
Some are worried about Will Smith also, as he did have quite the up and down season. If Smith does struggle the Dodgers lose a lot offensively. I see Smith as a hot and cold hitter. But, what if Smith or Barnes is out long-term with an injury? Again, Ruiz is not ready and I don’t believe Gale or Lobaton are guys I’d want to get a lot of starts.
Given all that, the Dodgers should sign Russell Martin as soon as possible. He has a decent season with the Dodgers in 2019 as he had a .8 WAR in 83 games. In the post-season, the Dodgers chose Martin over Barnes for the playoff roster. He may not be the perfect option but there aren’t a ton of choices.
No doubt, Martin would be well received by the fans again but would also be more productive at the plate in some starts than the other options. I will mention it just because, but Martin did have four relief appearances and did not give up any runs.
There aren’t any other free agent options out there. If an injury did happen the Dodgers could look to the trade market. However, in this soon-to-be weird season, nobody knows what the Trade Deadline or market might be. With the expanded playoffs in a short season, most teams will be contending for a playoff spot. That means there could be very few trade options.
I know I am being a bit optimistic about having a season in 2020. Once they all determine that there will be a season I hope the Dodgers will take the opportunity to grab one more catcher, Russell Martin. I would like at least one of our late-2000’s players to have a last shot at a World Series. This signing should be easy and inexpensive.