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Dennis Santana, Trevor Oaks added to Dodgers’ 40-man roster

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Dennis Santana
Dennis Santana struck out 129 batters in 118⅓ innings in 2017.
Photo credit: Rich Crimi | Tulsa Drillers

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers on Monday added pitchers Trevor Oaks and Dennis Santana to their 40-man roster, which protects them from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft in December.

With 40 players already on their roster, the Dodgers had to make room for Oaks and Santana. To do so, pitcher Josh Ravin was designated for assignment and Grant Dayton was claimed off waivers by the Braves.

The general rule of thumb is that players drafted or signed out of college in 2014 or earlier, or out of high school in 2013 or earlier are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. Oaks was drafted by the Dodgers in the seventh round in 2014 out of Cal Baptist, and Santana was signed out of the Dominican Republic a month before his 17th birthday in March 2013.

Tim Locastro, drafted by the Blue Jays in 2013 and traded to the Dodgers in 2015, was another candidate to get added to the 40-man roster on this day, but his timetable got accelerated when he was called up to the majors in the final weekend of the regular season.

Oaks had a 3.64 ERA in 16 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City, including 15 starts in 2017, with 72 strikeouts and 18 walks in 84 innings. The right-hander missed the final two months of the season with an oblique strain, then pitched 7⅔ innings in three rehab games with the Arizona League Dodgers and with Ogden. He turns 25 in March.

Trevor Oaks was drafted by the Dodgers in the seventh round in 2014 out of Cal Baptist in Riverside.
Photo credit: Oklahoma City Dodgers

Santana made All-Star teams in each of the last two seasons, with Class-A Great Lakes in 2016 then again with Advanced Class-A Rancho Cucamonga this season. The right-hander posted a 4.11 ERA in 24 games, including 21 starts between the Quakes and Double-A Tulsa, with 129 strikeouts and 45 walks in 118⅓ innings.

“Just the fact to have the opportunity to be added is a blessing for me, which motivates me to continue working every day,” Santana said.

The right-hander, who turns 22 in April, credits his father Jose and agent Andy Mota for setting up a plan for his 2017 that started with winter ball in the Dominican Republic followed by offseason training at Bommarito Performance Institute in Miami.

“[I pitched] without fear of making a mistake, and what resulted in 2017 was from the continuous hard work since the end of 2016 in the offseason,” Santana said. “Then to work in spring training in minor league camp with people from the Dodgers like Kremlin Martinez, Bobby Cuellar, Roberto Giron, Kip Wells, Joel Peralta and my teammate, my brother Daniel Corcino.”

Santana said he has heard others compare him to the late Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, though in his mind his style is more like that of Ervin Santana.

Getting added to the 40-man roster means a few things for Oaks and Santana. For one, both will be invited to big league camp in spring training at Camelback Ranch. This will be the second time for Oaks, who was a non-roster invitee in 2017.

Being on the 40-man roster means a major league contract as well. That is a split contract, with separate rates for their time in the minors and majors. But just being on the 40-man roster means at the very least a minimum minor league salary of $44,500. The minimum raises to $88,900 for those not on their first major league deals, like Locastro or Rob Segedin, for instance.

That’s quite an upgrade from $1,100 per month in rookie ball, and even from the $2,150 per month minimum in Triple-A.

The Rule 5 Draft will be held on December 14 at the winter meetings in Orlando.