Dodgers should option Matt Magill to Triple-A

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers could gain some much needed roster flexibility at a time when they absolutely need it with one simple move, one with minimal cost.

Well, at least Matt Magill still has a recording of that first major league start he could look back on. His second major league start was simply terrible, as the rookie couldn't get out of the second inning and allowed five runs to the Giants. Now, Magill needs to go back to Triple-A. It makes too much sense.

Four days rest would normally put Magill's next start on Thursday, but that's an off day for the Dodgers, making Magill a prime candidate to be skipped. That means the Dodgers don't technically need a fifth starter again until May 14, the middle game of a three-game series at home against the Nationals.

The Dodgers can't turn to Ted Lilly to start on May 14, as he isn't eligible to return from the disabled list until May 15. That leaves Stephen Fife, currently on the disabled list with right shoulder bursitis, or Aaron Laffey, a journeyman the Dodgers just signed to a minor league deal.

Magill could be, and likely is better than both Fife and Laffey, but without another injury he wouldn't be able to come back up inside of 10 days after his option.

But it doesn't matter. It's worth biting the bullet for potentially one start in order to keep the Dodgers from playing even more shorthanded than they already are. The Dodgers have eight games between now and May 14, and those are eight games they could have an extra position player or an extra relief pitcher.

The Dodgers currently have seven relief pitchers on the staff, but on Saturday night there will likely be one or more pitchers asked to 'take one for the team.' With Magill only recording four outs, the bullpen is taxed yet again. Factor in that Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-jin Ryu seem to be the only current Dodgers starters capable of consistently pitching deep into games, and the Dodgers may need an eighth relief pitcher just because of the sheer volume of relief work needed.

Options in relief include Chris Withrow or Steven Ames, both on the 40-man roster, or Peter Moylan, who would need to be added to the roster. Adding a player or two to the 40-man roster isn't an impediment, since both Chad Billingsley and Shawn Tolleson could be transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room.

Or perhaps the extra player could be a position player. After all, Mark Ellis is still out though he should have been placed on the disabled list a week ago with a strained right quad. Adrian Gonzalez is out again with a neck injury that might not be DL-worthy but over the next week having an extra bat around like Scott Van Slyke would help.

There are other options, of course, which were examined in detail after Friday's game. All of these options will help the Dodgers over the next eight games more than Magill would.

The Dodgers don't have to continue to play short-handed, no matter how hard it appears they are stubbornly trying to do so. Sending Magill down now will help the team.

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