Every MLB team values their 40-man roster space, but whew, the Dodgers really have this thing filled to the absolute brim with talent they have no intention of losing, both young and old.
Therefore, it’s very difficult to navigate the pecking order of who might be on the outs.
Luckily, that’s Andrew Friedman’s job to do and not ours.
Regrettably, this is becoming an immediate concern, as the Dodgers have several non-roster invitees who’ve been playing their tails off, specifically on the mound. Standouts like Jimmy Nelson and his buckling curveball are not currently protected on the 40-man, and neither is Brandon Morrow, who the team hoped to have in the roster mix this spring.
The hope would be that LA is able to retain those veterans who don’t receive the Opening Day nod at the alternate site or on some type of minor-league provision. But if Nelson ever comes up, someone’s got to get removed and lose their protections.
If Tommy Kahnle gets transferred to the 60-day IL to open the season, Los Angeles will open one more roster spot for a top prospect or intriguing NRI.
But for every player who’s impressed you in the final innings of any spring training contest, you have to remove an established player to carry them on the roster moving forward. It’s the most annoying puzzle.
These three players shouldn’t necessarily be checking over their shoulder, but they’re the most likely people to be on the chopping block when a need arises, or a blockbuster trade possibility rears its head.
These 3 Dodgers could lose their 40-man roster spots first.
3. Scott Alexander
We were surprised when the Dodgers avoided arbitration with Scott Alexander entering 2021 and instead opted to sign him to a $1 million deal.
Alexander found himself at the Alternate Site wondering what went wrong for the final month of 2020, and ultimately did not appear in the team’s playoff run. With so much talent here, didn’t it seem natural he’d be the odd man out of the middle innings?
Well, perhaps someday soon.
It’s not that Alexander’s objectionable that tips us off to his imminent departure; after all, even in 2020 he posted a 2.92 ERA in 13 appearance. It’s just the fact that we have documented evidence the Dodgers consider him the lowest man on their bullpen totem pole, banishing him before the big dance last year.
If the need arises for someone like Nelson on the roster, it seems likely the team will try to work out a cash-saving trade elsewhere for Alexander’s $1 million salary. Perhaps he’s even a candidate to reverse his previous trade course and head back to the Royals, who’ve been buying smartly lately and cleaning up the messes of others.