Dodgers have many options for expanded September rosters

Active rosters expand from 25 players to 40 on Thursday, and the Dodgers will certainly do their fair share of promotions. This season seems to be a bit more interesting than ones in the past because the Dodgers have a myriad of options.

The Dodgers have 48 players on the 40-man roster (eight of which are on the 60-day disabled list). While some guys won’t come back this month — Yimi Garcia, Chris HatcherHyun-Jin Ryu (despite what he thinks) — but there is going to be a lot of maneuvering.

Here are players in the minors who are locks to be recalled at some point in September:

Luis Avilan
Austin Barnes
Josh Fields
Casey Fien
Chris Taylor

These are guys on Oklahoma City’s roster who might be recalled:

Carlos Frias
Micah Johnson
Brock Stewart

Frias hasn’t pitched since July 3, so he might not be healthy enough for a September call-up. Johnson might follow in the footsteps of Ivan De Jesus, who was on the 40-man roster six years ago and wasn’t promoted in September. Stewart wasn’t exactly ready for the majors when he debuted and the Dodgers might not want to have him worry about pitching in September (my own speculation, obviously).

Here are guys on the 15-day DL who figure to be back in September:

Louis Coleman
Scott Kazmir
Josh Ravin

And 60-day DL guys:

Andre Ethier
Clayton Kershaw
Alex Wood

Then there are the question marks among the injured players (15- or 60-day* DL):

Brett Anderson
Brandon McCarthy
Trayce Thompson*
Chin-hui Tsao*
Scott Van Slyke*

Anderson might be healthy, but will he be effective? That’s a huge question. McCarthy showed that when he wasn’t hurt, he was more than effective. Thompson has/had a couple fractures in his back, so I’m not holding my breath for his return. Tsao will be the first guy jettisoned off the 40-man roster if the Dodgers need space (i.e. Jose De Leon). Van Slyke was just moved to the 60-day and won’t be eligible to play until Oct. 8. Outside of McCarthy, I’m not sure any of these guys come back this season.

Of the 48 players on the 40-man, five of them (by my speculation) won’t be back. That leaves 43 players for 40 spots, depending what happens with Anderson, Frias, Johnson and Stewart. Are the Dodgers better off creating a spot for a guy like De Leon rather than going with the players who are already on the roster? That remains to be seen.

I know you’re wondering, “Dustin, what about Yasiel Puig?” Yeah, the thing about that is …

It’s no secret I think Puig has played his last game as a Los Angeles Dodger. And despite expanded rosters next week and the Triple-A season not going all the way through September, I still don’t see Puig coming back. The issues have been well-documented, and I also think they go deeper than what we know and what has been reported.

While the Dodgers could use his bat (if he has indeed improved his weak spots during this month in the minors), it’s more the principle of the situation. Rob Segedin and Andrew Toles‘ early success has also helped ease concerns about not having Puig in LA. Josh Reddick has struggled mightily, but if Ethier comes back, that should also help the outfield production.

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There are 11 players who are highly likely to be added to the active roster. That would leave four spots open for the following players: Anderson, Frias, Johnson, Puig, Stewart. That doesn’t include any possible additions between now and Thursday from outside the organization or any internal promotions to the 40-man roster (like De Leon, Randy Choate, Jacob Rhame, etc.). I’m not sure the organization wants to be running at max capacity on the 40-man, either, just to have that flexibility and to not risk losing a player who unnecessarily gets designated for assignment and/or goes through waivers.

The options are plentiful, and there are going to be some interesting/tough decisions to make. We’ll see what happens next week.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.