Roster Expansion Likely to Bring Back Some Familiar Faces

August 31, 2012 at 8:23 am | Posted in Tim Federowicz | Leave a comment

This Tim Federowicz picture, by Ron on Flickr, is cool enough that I’m putting up with the annoying watermark.

Tomorrow is September 1, which means that rosters expand, and I’d much rather indulge in some good old-fashioned rosterbation than think about another listless performance which spoiled an otherwise perfect Vin Scully day. So let’s get to it – who are we likely to see come up to bolster the corps?

First, a clarification. Yes, you need to be on the 40-man roster to be called up, and the Dodgers already have issues where that’s concerned, with four “dead” spots already. I say that because we’re not going to see Yasiel Puig (not ready), Alfredo Silverio (injured), or Jerry Sands & Rubby De La Rosa (in that weird “player to be named” trade stasis), yet they all take up spots on the 40-man. With the 40-man otherwise full and spots that will need to be cleared for Dee Gordon at the least and potentially Ted Lilly, Tony Gwynn, or Bobby Abreu as well, it’s incredibly unlikely that everyone’s favorite PCL Pitcher of the Year, John Ely, makes a return to Los Angeles this year.

Second, even though a team can in theory activate their entire 40-man roster if they choose, teams never do. The Dodgers usually call up between 5-7 additional players every year, and there’s little reason to think that will change. In fact, because of the unending run of injuries we’ve seen this year, we’re not likely to see many new faces at all. Of the entire 40-man roster, the only guys who have been healthy and with the organization all season who didn’t make it to Los Angeles at some point were Tim Federowicz, Matt Angle, & Chris Withrow. So these are mostly guys that we’ve seen already in 2012.

The only exception to that is Federowicz, who we saw in 2011 anyway. He’s a given, because every team carries a third catcher in September, but it’s unlikely to happen immediately, since the Isotopes are currently in first place with their season ending on Monday. It doesn’t make for good organization relations for the parent club to ruin the playoff push of an affiliate unless it’s an emergency, so Federowicz and friends probably stay down for another week or so. Federowicz is having a good season in ABQ (though with the typical massive home/road OPS split of .984/.701) and is all but certain to join A.J. Ellis with the big club in 2013.

In addition, expect to see some righty power added in Alex Castellanos & Scott Van Slyke, who will mainly serve to make us groan when Nick Punto is used as a pinch-hitter instead or when they sit idly by while Andre Ethier flails at a low-and-away breaking ball from a lefty. Dee Gordon will add some speed off the bench, as will Elian Herrera, who can also provide positional flexibility, though I’d be shocked if he ever got another start.

On the pitching side, up-and-down Javy Guerra (who just allowed four runs in 1/3 of an inning to Triple-A Round Rock) and Josh Wall are almost certain adds, and probably Stephen Fife as well – but only as a long man out of the bullpen.

So there’s your eight potential call-ups: Federowicz, Van Slyke, Gordon, Castellanos, Herrera, Wall, Guerra, and Fife. That actually feels like one too many, so it wouldn’t surprise me if either Van Slyke or Herrera didn’t get the invitation after all, and – while I am unaware of any potential handshake deals struck when they agreed to go to Albuquerque – I just don’t see a role for Gwynn or Abreu right now.

The issue we haven’t yet solved is that by activating Gordon, the Dodgers would be one over on the 40-man roster. While it may tempting to fire up the “DFA Juan Uribe!” chant again, it’s not going to happen right now. You could DFA Angle, or promote & disable Silverio, but I have a feeling this is all going to work itself out – either Chad Billingsley or Scott Elbert or both is going to end up having arm surgery and miss the remainder of the year.

Now, can someone, anyone, please start to hit while the season still matters?

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