Dodgers: 3 non-roster invitees who could make 2021 roster

Adam Weinrib
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 31: Brandon Morrow
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 31: Brandon Morrow /
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The Los Angeles Dodgers will be boasting a championship-caliber roster on Opening Day whether or not they bring any non-roster invitees north.

But while the list is mainly comprised of top prospects who’ll get a chance to shine in Arizona over the next month of televised baseball games (!), there are a few veteran names that feel like potential Dodgers on April 1.

Especially in the bullpen.

But wait … how many 40-man locks are there in the bullpen picture? Will there even be a real opportunity for anyone to sneak in there?

You can reasonably expect eight guarantees: Victor González, Brusdar Graterol, Joe Kelly, Corey Knebel, Kenley Jansen, Blake Treinen, and two of Tony Gonsolin/Dustin May/Julio Urías. Scott Alexander’s not making the big club, too?

Because if you count him, that’s nine ‘pen arms. Something tells me LA isn’t carrying a three-man bench.

Yikes.

This roster is far too overstuffed for us to even entertain the idea that, say, Michael Busch, Kody Hoese or Josiah Gray could make the Opening Day roster. Just enjoy what they give you in spring ball, and let them get out of the way. And it’s quite likely that none of these arms make the big-league bullpen without a spring injury to one of the team’s cornerstones.

Unfortunately — and this is terrible news — there will likely be an injury over the course of the next month. So, if we’re power ranking, which NRIs will be next in line to swoop in?

Dodgers
James Pazos of the Colorado Rockies (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images) /

3. James Pazos

Alright, so … if Urías wins a rotation spot, then I’ve just listed off a “completed” bullpen with only one lefty (Victor González).

Of course, if someone goes down, this will be a merit-based line of succession, but you’d have to think that James Pazos, if he dominates this spring, could easily find his way into the newly-created hole.

What could James Pazos bring to the Dodgers?

The 29-year-old Pazos somehow managed to allow 10 earned runs in 5.1 unwatchable innings with the Colorado Rockies in 2020, but his most recent full season was 50 innings of 2.88-ERA baseball with the 2018 Seattle Mariners (3.60 FIP).

Any lefty in Major League Baseball in 2021 will have to be able to get hitters on both sides of the plate out; after all, the dreaded “three-batter minimum” is here to stay, and its sole mission is to run one-pitch lefties out of the game.

Well, during that 2018 campaign, lefties hit .280 off Pazos. Righties? Just .228. It’s interesting. All I’m saying.

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