The Dodgers lost utility man Travis Blankenhorn on waivers to the Mariners on Monday, continuing a familiar gambit at the edges of the 40-man roster.
Blankenhorn, a left-handed hitter, was claimed off waivers from the Twins on May 14, after getting designated for assignment. The 24-year-old has played mostly second base and third base in the minors, with some left field and first base mixed in. The Dodgers were in need of a major depth upgrade after several injuries to position players, but Blankenhorn was soon overshadowed by the subsequent acquisitions of Albert Pujols and Yoshi Tsutsugo.
The Dodgers also needed help on the pitching side, so when that need became immediate last Friday, they added veteran reliever Nate Jones to the team. To make room on the 40-man roster, Blankenhorn was designated for assignment.
That’s how it goes with these moves some times. Three times this season the Dodgers have pounced on an addition to the 40-man roster only to designate that player for assignment shortly thereafter. In the case of pitcher Ashton Goudeau and Blankenhorn, they didn’t clear waivers. But with Mike Kickham, who was called up to eat some innings on May 2 then dispatched the next day, he did clear waivers and was convinced to stick around. Kickham remains in Triple-A Oklahoma City’s starting rotation.
In 2015-16, when the Dodgers had a lot more work to do to build up the organizational depth, these types of moves were much more prevalent. Always try to upgrade the roster whenever possible, even incrementally. Some players you’ll lose to waivers, but others you’ll be able to keep.
For Blankenhorn, he joins his third organization of the season, having started with the Twins before joining the Dodgers. Seattle optioned him to Triple-A Tacoma.
He was 2-for-11 with a double and two walks in three games with Triple-A Saint Paul this season. He played in three games with Oklahoma City but all as a pinch-hitter, going 0-for-3.
In parts of two major league games for the Twins in 2020 and 2021 combined, Blankenhorn was 1-for-3 with a double, a hit by pitch, and a run scored.
Blankenhorn’s time on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster lasted seven days. Yes, he will get a year in review.