Friday, January 3, 2014

Guerra, Rosin, Buss on short list to be axed if Dodgers need 40-man spot

After adding three prospects in November, signing Dan Haren, Chris Perez and Jamey Wright and re-signing the likes of J.P. Howell, Juan Uribe and Brian Wilson, the Dodgers' 40-man roster is full-up.

Yet, there's still work to be done to the Major League roster.  The Dodgers' bench isn't fully settled yet and there's the looming potential signing of Masahiro Tanaka. That means there are going to be some players on the proverbial chopping block.

After the Dodgers place Chad Billingsley and Scott Elbert on the 60-day disabled list, there will be two vacant spots. But if the Dodgers need to add more players (and they might), there would need to be additional moves. Just because it's the new year doesn't mean teams stop making moves. The 2014 Dodgers aren't yet a finished product, and probably won't be until March.

The Dodgers' bench is the weakest part of the club right now. Andre Ethier is the most established guy, but he might be better than Carl Crawford. Either of them could also be moved before opening day, or one of them could replace an injured, say, Matt Kemp, on opening day. Scott Van Slyke is about the only other legitimate threat off the bench. Tim Federowicz's spot is secure, as it would seem is Dee Gordon's. That's four spots, with another spot needed for (preferably) a shortstop. That could be Brendan Harris, it could be a player yet to be signed. That remains to be seen.

Here are the candidates who could be designated for assignment, traded or released to make room for others:

The Dodgers could cut any of those guys today and not think twice about it. But there is potential for some of those guys to be contributors at the Major League level.

Baxter and Buss are essentially the same player. Both have the ability to play center field and provide a little speed. It seems redundant, especially with a guy like Joc Pederson nearing his Major League debut. Either of them could go.
DFA chances: 25 percent

Butera can't hit a lick, but he's solid defensively. The fact he plays catcher helps his cause. The Dodgers could designate him for assignment, and I'd be surprised if anyone took a flyer on the 30-year-old.
DFA chances: 10 percent

Guerra, once the Dodgers' closer, is an afterthought after the emergence of Kenley Jansen and the signing of about 47 relief pitchers this offseason. If a guy like Harris needs a roster spot, I'm betting Guerra is the guy most likely cut. Plus, he's out of options, so if he doesn't make the 25-man roster, he'd go through waivers, where he'd surely be claimed.
DFA chances: 90 percent

Rosin would first have to be placed on waivers, giving other teams the chance to take a Rule 5-type flyer on him. If he were to clear waivers, he'd then have to be offered back to the Phillies for $25,000. With a live-enough arm, I'm betting the Phillies would take a worthwhile gamble on him. If, for some reason, they don't, he'd be nice to stash in Triple-A as a reliever.
Waive chances: 70 percent

As for Sellers, I'm thinking the only reason he's on the 40-man is his ability to play a competent shortstop (better than anyone in the organization, probably). He can't hit and was arrested last offseason, but his defense is solid. The Dodgers could just go with Sellers over Harris, but Harris offers that "veteran goodness."
DFA chances: 20 percent


None of these guys are long-term Dodgers (would give Rosin the best chance of that). But each could help a team (maybe not the Dodgers) in some capacity.

The interesting part isn't who the Dodgers remove from the 40-man, it's who they're replacing said player with. I'm hoping Tanaka, but I'm not as sure of that as I was a month or so ago.

Photo credit: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

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