A rundown of Dodgers’ 40-man roster heading into the offseason

With the 2019 MLB season over (no matter what you might see on TV), it’s time to look at where the Dodgers’ 40-man roster stands after the most disappointing 106-win season you’ll ever witness.

Free Agents (4)

The Dodgers have an exclusive 5-day negotiating window to sign these players for the five days after the World Series ended. After that, they’re free to sign with whichever team they so choose.

Freese announced on Saturday that he’s retiring, so we can cross him off the list. That leaves the Dodgers with three free agents. Martin could easily go the route Freese did and hang ’em up, but I wouldn’t expect him back in 2020. Hill and Ryu are both attractive free agents for LA, but I’m not sure both of them return.

Option (1)

The Dodgers certainly won’t exercise Gyorko’s option, but with Freese retiring, I could see them wanting to retain him to fill that kind of role. They don’t really have a minor-leaguer ready to step in and Gyorko didn’t really get a good look in that role in his time with LA.

Opt-out (1)

I guess there’s a non-zero chance opts-out, but It’s really difficult to see him leaving $38 million over the next two years on the table, especially since he isn’t the pitcher he once was.

Under Contract (5)

Only Turner is going into the final year of his contract. Everyone else is locked up for at least two more seasons.

Arbitration-Eligible (12)

I did a more in-depth review of this on Friday, but there are a few guys in line for significant raises. There are also a few trade and non-tender candidates among the bunch.

Pre-Arb/Minors (21)

These are the players with fewer than three years of service time who were already on the 40-man roster. To remove them now would require them being designated for assignment, waived, traded or outright released.

Not everyone will make it through the winter on the 40-man. Guys like Negron, White and maybe Sadler could be DFA/trade candidates, should the Dodgers need the 40-man roster space.

Alvarez and Toles are on the restricted list — for very different reasons. It remains to be seen if they’ll still be around next season, but we’re going to count them in for now.

Here’s how the 40-man roster breaks down right now:

  • 21 Team Control
  • 12 Arbitration Eligible
  • 5 Under Contract
  • 1 Option
  • 1 Opt-out

That’s 40 players, not counting the three free agents and the retiring Freese. Gyorko will, in all likelihood, become a free agent, so it’s really 39 players. It seems the Dodgers might have to make some decisions if they want to add to the roster this winter.

There will also be moves because the Dodgers have more players than usual that they must consider protecting who are eligible for December’s Rule 5 Draft. Here are the rules for the Rule 5 Draft.

“Players who were signed when they were 19 or older and have played in professional baseball for four years are eligible, as are players who were signed at 18 and have played for five years. All players on a Major League Baseball team’s 40-man roster, regardless of other eligibility factors, are ‘protected’ and ineligible for the Rule 5 Draft.”

Last year, the Dodgers added a whopping five players to the 40-man roster: Alvarez, Beaty, Rios, Ruiz and Sborz. This year, there are probably only three legitimate players to add this winter. Here’s who is actually Rule 5-eligible this winter. College draftees and some international signees are eligible from the 2016 class, while it’ll mostly be high schoolers and int’l signings from 2015.

2016

RHP Parker Curry
UTIL Zach McKinstry
OF DJ Peters
2B/SS Errol Robinson
RHP Jordan Sheffield
OF Cody Thomas
RHP Mitchell White

2015

OF Starling Heredia
OF Brayan Morales
OF Carlos Rincon
IF Leonel Valera
RHP Jesus Vargas

I don’t think any of the 2015 guys are in danger of being selected, but there are as many as five guys who could be from the 2016 list. You have to think the Dodgers will add Peters to the 40-man, so let’s count that. The other two I see as possible adds are Sheffield and White. Sheffield is a former (supplemental) 1st-rounder and he made strides last season as a full-time reliever. He seems like a relatively easy addition. White is a little more unclear. On one hand, he has some of the most talent of any pitcher in the system. On the other hand, he has a hard time staying on the mound and being consistent with his stuff and velocity. My gut says he gets added, but I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if he is left unprotected.

The only other two I could see getting the add are McKinstry and Thomas. McKinstry had a bit of a breakout season and could be a nice utility player for a team that would take him in the Rule 5. Thomas is still a little raw, but he has big power and is athletic.

——

Despite a thoroughly disappointing exit from the 2019 playoffs, the roster still looks pretty strong and should be supplemented this winter either with free agents (hi, Gerrit Cole) or via the trade market. There could be most movement, but if the Dodgers returned the vast majority of this roster for 2020, they’d likely be the heavy favorites in the NL West for an eighth consecutive season. But we all know they want to be better than that.

Here’s hoping for a more active winter than the last one.

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.