Let’s Shake Up That Roster

Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times has some news on roster changes that are about to happen… and they feel a little familiar.

MSTI, July 28th:

But it’s also time to add some new blood to third base, and I’m not talking about Mark Loretta. Remember Tony Abreu? Not only is he not dead, he’s tearing up the PCL (1.026 OPS!) and is particularly on a hot streak lately (.475 BA with 3 homers in his last 10 games). Injuries almost ruined his career, but don’t forget that we looked upon him as a huge part of the future at one point.

Why not give the old man a breather once or twice a week – which might also help his second half slide – while playing the hot hand in Abreu?

Hernandez, today:

Infielder Tony Abreu is expected to be called up today from triple-A Albuquerque

abreujumps.jpgHey! That’s a great idea – wish I’d thought of it. Seriously, though, this can only help the team. Casey Blake has turned it around a bit lately (1.167 OPS over his last 8 games, though he still hasn’t homered in over a month), but he’s had a rough second half, and Orlando Hudson is coming off two lousy months of June and July. When you’ve got a guy like Abreu – and remember, talent has never been the issue with him, it’s health – tearing up AAA, you can’t help but want to see him in the bigs. Remember, Hudson isn’t signed for next year, and if he doesn’t turn it around, you wonder if they let him walk and see if Abreu can handle second base.

Moving on, after Hernandez also adds that Ronald Belisario’s return is imminent, we have news on the 5th spot in the rotation. Hmmm…

MSTI, August 6 (and about a dozen other times):

It’s not like there’s not other options; I detailed how great of an idea Charlie Haeger would be the other day, and we’ve been calling for Eric Stults – who’s only thrown a complete-game MLB shutout in each of the last two years! – all season.

Hernandez, today:

Eric Stults was pulled from his start in Albuquerque on Thursday night after only three innings, a sign that he could be promoted to replace Jason Schmidt as the Dodgers’ starter in San Francisco on Monday. Stults, who was in the rotation until a sprained thumb landed him on the disabled list on May 31, bumped fists with teammates and waved at Albuquerque Manager Tim Wallach as he exited the game.

Yes! Yeeesss! Please let this be true. There’s no way that Stults isn’t going to be more effective than Schmidt right now – none. I also wonder if part of this is to avoid the embarrassment of Schmidt having to go back to his former stomping grounds of SF and having him get lit up in front of all his old fans. There’s also the question about what happens to him. Does he get sent to the bullpen? DFA’d? Placed back on the DL? Does he simply walk away?

In fact, if we’re adding three players – Abreu, Belisario, and Stults – there’s quite a few roster decisions that need to be made. Since the usual option (send down Blake DeWitt!) has already been exhausted, I’m going to take a guess at what happens with no inside information whatsoever:

1) Schmidt gets moved off the 25-man roster for Stults. I doubt he hangs them up, and he’s clearly not one of the best 12 (okay, 20) pitchers right now, so the bullpen’s not the right option. I’ll go with a 90% chance of DL with a 10% chance of DFA. 

2) Scott Elbert gets sent down to AAA to make room for Belisario. Elbert’s been very good in short bursts, but I can’t help thinking that his future is still as a starter, so he might be able to step into Stults’ rotation spot with the Isotopes to get some longer outings.

3) James McDonald gets sent down to AAA to make room for Abreu. To be honest, this was the hardest call, and I’m not sure I’m convinced they’d drop down to 12 pitchers, but unless there’s a DL stint coming for a position player I don’t know about, there’s no obvious choice to drop. Juan Castro’s the only even slight possibility, and he’s been very good as a caddy for Rafael Furcal, so I don’t see it.

Of course, now that I’ve made these three predictions, expect exactly zero them to happen.

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