The funny thing about having a season like the Dodgers have had — headed to the playoffs, yet still disrupted by injuries — is that when you consider who might come up to join the team when rosters expand on Sunday, it’s almost certainly not going to be anyone you haven’t seen already.
When you look at the 14 members of the 40-man roster who are not currently with the club, 13 have gotten into at least one game for the Dodgers already this season. The only one who hasn’t, catcher Drew Butera, got into two games for the Twins earlier this year and 186 over the last four years. That means that all 39 members of the 40-man roster have big league experience, and even the guys who were previously on the roster but aren’t currently — like Steve Ames, John Baker, Scott Elbert, & Josh Wall – can say that as well. That’s not going to change when Edinson Volquez occupies that final 40-man spot, which should happen in the next few days.
So while you can hope that a Zach Lee or a Joc Pederson is going to get called up, it’s almost certainly not going to happen. They’re not on the 40-man roster and there’s no need to start their clocks; either way, a pennant race that is not yet decided is not the time to start acclimating young players if you don’t need to.
Last year, the team added John Ely, Tim Federowicz, & Javy Guerra on September 1, while also bringing back the previously-DFA’d Bobby Abreu. When Guerra was injured a few days later, they replaced him with Wall, then later also added Alex Castellanos, Stephen Fife, Elian Herrera, & Paco Rodriguez once the minor league seasons ended. This year, the Isotopes end their season on Monday, so we may see a two-day burst of recalls.
That’s nine additions, and that sounds about right. With 14 available players on the 40-man to come up (here I am counting Volquez but not Josh Beckett, who remains on the 40-man while being out for the year), that means that some of the players we’ve already seen may not get another look, though injuries may take care of that problem – reliever Jose Dominguez won’t be healthy for an immediate recall, and Shawn Tolleson‘s status is uncertain after a hip injury derailed his return from back surgery.
Of the 12 remaining, Butera is a lock, since all teams have at least three catchers in September, and the nearly-healthy Matt Kemp and old friends Dee Gordon (if only as a pinch-runner) & Scott Van Slyke are likely to be as well. Fife is all but certain even if his role isn’t, and Guerra & Matt Magill seem more likely than not to return too. If, as expected, Chris Withrow is optioned for a few days just to get Volquez onto the roster ahead of September 1, he’ll quickly be back and probably wouldn’t even leave Los Angeles.
Assuming no unexpected additions (like Onelki Garcia?) that leaves Castellanos, Herrera, Peter Moylan, & Justin Sellers as remaining options. Moylan wasn’t very good when he was up in June, though he’s been better in Triple-A and you can never have too many relievers in September, and you could argue for Herrera’s versatility. Sellers hasn’t even been hitting in Albuquerque, and Castellanos may find himself the victim of an outfield crunch if Van Slyke has passed him on the depth chart.