The Dodgers made their first cuts of spring training on Monday, with 27 players sent to the other side of camp. That number certainly satisfies what manager Dave Roberts said would be a “significant number” of roster moves coming.
“We’re going to thin the room out,” Roberts said last week. “I think it’s important for the focus to kind of get a little bit more narrow.”
Pitchers Gerardo Carrillo, Andre Jackson, Edwin Uceta, and Alex Vesia were optioned, as were outfielders Zach Reks and Luke Raley and catcher Keibert Ruiz.
Infielders Jacob Amaya, Michael Busch, Kody Hoese, Miguel Vargas, Devin Mann, Leonel Valera, and Omar Estevez, outfielders James Outman, Andy Pages, and Ryan Noda, catcher and Hunter Feduccia, and pitchers Josiah Gray, Bobby Miller, Landon Knack, Michael Grove, Nolan Long, Jose Martinez, Robinson Ortiz, Ryan Pepiot, Gus Varland, and Kendall Williams were reassigned to the minors. The difference in transactions is because these players are not on the 40-man roster, but the others — who were optioned — are.
In a normal year, there would be a minor league camp for these players to go to, one with a schedule of games against other teams. But with a reduced camp thanks to health and safety protocols, these players are the minor league camp, for now. Other MLB teams have called this “depth camp.”
The affected players might occasionally find themselves coming back over to the big league side to take part in major league games, as is the case in a normal spring training. But for now, their regular work will come on the opposite side of camp, as major league regulars start to play, and pitch, deeper into big league games.
Feduccia, Long, Martinez, Varland, Valera and Williams have not yet appeared in any games, Carrillo, Grove, and Ortiz pitched once each, for instance.
“We’ll get some guys to the other side as our guys over here start extending innings on the pitching side and position player side,” Roberts said earlier in the week. “We’ll get those guys over there to get some more playing time, and at-bats. As to who they are playing, we’ll see.”
With these moves, the Dodgers have 45 players remaining in camp, including 24 pitchers. That does not include Caleb Ferguson, who is on the 60-day injured list while recovering from Tommy John surgery. The list does include Tommy Kahnle, who is also recovering from Tommy John surgery but has not yet thrown in camp while Ferguson has, but Kahnle is not (yet) on the 60-day IL. The list also includes Brandon Morrow, who isn’t expected to pitch in a game this spring and hasn’t pitched in a major league game since 2018.
Of the remaining players in camp, 33 are on the 40-man roster, with 12 non-roster invitees left.