With the AAA season at an end, the Dodgers have recalled three Isotopes to bolster the roster, according to Dylan Hernandez: Jerry Sands, John Ely, and Tim Federowicz. Not a single one counts as a surprise, and if anything that seems to say that we should not be expecting Ivan DeJesus or Jamie Hoffmann to be making cameos, since there’s no reason to delay their recalls. If anything, I’m more intrigued to see what happens when AA Chattanooga’s playoff run comes to an end, since there’s been a lot of fun names tossed around as possible callups from that club, names like Shawn Tolleson, Allen Webster, Scott Van Slyke and Cole St. Clair.
Of the three newcomers, only Federowicz is seeing the bigs for the first time, and it will be interesting to see how they’re used. Ely is simply depth, of course, who may or may not get a start down the stretch depending on schedules, health, and Dana Eveland. Ideally, Sands will see a healthy amount of playing time as the club attempts to see if he can be counted on in 2012. Considering that Juan Rivera has been awful for the last two weeks (and remember, he was already DFA’d once this season) and that James Loney has only his recent hot streak to fall back on, you’d think it wouldn’t be too difficult to get him time, but things have a way of getting complicated. (He is not in tonight’s lineup.) (Update: Hernandez later added this, which, yay: “Mattingly wants to see Sands. Could result in more days off for Ethier and Rivera.”)
Then there’s Federowicz, who I had given little chance of being recalled in September until the Dodgers cut Dioner Navarro, this making Federowicz the third catcher on the depth chart. My guess is that he’s here mostly to get acclimated to the bigs and serve as depth rather than see any real playing time since he’s still so raw (just 115 games above A-ball). (Update: Hernandez, killing it today, confirms this as well; Federowicz is unlikely to play before the last week or two.) With Rod Barajas telling Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times that he would very much like to return in 2012, the catching situation is certainly in flux. I absolutely wouldn’t give Barajas another $3.2m, but if he wants to stay a Dodger so badly that he’s willing to do so for $1.5m or less, I’d be okay with that, since even though he’s generally terrible, his power is rare among catchers and a Barajas/A.J. Ellis combo would allow Federowicz more time to mature in AAA. Federowicz will wear #31, and while that may invite Mike Piazza comparisons, I’ll settle for at least being better than Jay Gibbons.
Of course, none of the three callups need to worry too much about getting to the ballpark on time, since it’s been raining all day in the east and the much-hyped return of Stephen Strasburg looks unlikely to happen tonight, setting up a likely doubleheader for tomorrow. Beyond tonight, the weather looks terrible in the DC area all week, and the Dodgers don’t have a day off before flying to San Francisco to start a weekend series on Friday, which raises the fun-but-ultimately-meaningless question, what happens if all three games get washed out? It’s not likely, but remains possible; other than a three-game set to end the season in Arizona, the Dodgers don’t leave California for the rest of the year.
With both teams hopelessly out of the chase, the league could choose to just not make up the dates, leaving the Dodgers and Nationals with a 159-game season. It’s not at all rare for teams to miss one game and finish with 161 games, which has happened dozens of times. Even a 160-game season isn’t unheard of, which has happened 17 times, though not since the 1991 Cubs. But 159 games? Since MLB went to a 162-game schedule in 1961, and excluding the strike years of 1972, 1981, and 1994-95, it’s happened just ten times, and even then it’s been over three decades since the 1979 White Sox did it. Of course, even they can’t top the 1971 Orioles, who played only 158 games thanks to 13 home rainouts. (Hat tip to Bob Timmermann for that info.)