LOS ANGELES — Rosters are due for the National League Division Series on Tuesday morning, the day of Game 1 between the Dodgers and Padres. Before a workout on Monday at Dodger Stadium, manager Dave Roberts said there are still a few roster decisions to be finalized.
This could be code for “we’ve decided and just don’t want to tell you yet,” like the decision to start Julio Urías in Game 1 of the NLDS made three days before it was officially announced. Or it could be that the decisions are actually still pending. Either way, the issues are the ones we expected.
Chris Taylor, who missed the final five games of the regular season with neck stiffness, seems the surest bet to be active for the NLDS. Taylor has been gradually increasing his workload in the last few days, which included full participation in Monday’s working and live batting practice, facing (along with Trayce Thompson) left-handers Victor González and Justin Bruihl.
“If it goes well, my anticipation is he’ll be on our active roster,” Roberts said.
As for a pair of injured pitchers, the path from regained health to the active roster is not as direct. Roberts said both Blake Treinen and Dustin May are healthy enough to make the roster, but that their inclusion has yet to be determined.
“We still have to sort of finalize the last couple bullpen spots, but these are good problems to have because we have a lot of viable options,” Roberts said.
May threw three innings in a simulated game on Sunday, after missing the last two-plus weeks with lower back pain. May only pitched six games for the Dodgers this year, putting up a 4.50 ERA after coming back from Tommy John surgery. The Dodgers are mulling continuing to stretch out May in simulated games, for possible inclusion on the NLCS roster.
“To have his arm talent in this series certainly makes a lot of sense, too,” Roberts explained. “This is kind of what we’re going back and forth on. What gives us the best chance in this series, which is obviously most important, but also kind of how you can put the player in the best position to help your ball club more.”
Treinen’s roster status is more dependent on how he’s feeling, after shoulder issues limited him to only five games this season. Treinen, whose last game action was September 5, pitched in a simulated game over the weekend, and the Dodgers were waiting to see how he felt after playing catch Monday to determine his status.
“The assumption, the hope is that he feels good today,” Roberts said. “If that’s the case, then it’s hard to imagine him not being on the roster.”
Roberts was noncommittal regarding Craig Kimbrel, who was removed from the closer role in September. If Kimbrel is on the roster, the Dodgers will try to limit him to facing mostly right-handed batters if at all possible.
“We’re still talking. I think that certainly with what Craig has done in his career, it is definitely noted,” Roberts said. “This has been an up-and-down, inconsistent year as Craig has admitted and has never felt right.”
That sounds to me like someone who won’t be on the roster.
A player who might be active for the NLDS is Miguel Vargas, who is vying with Hanser Alberto for essentially the final position player spot.
“He is right there. Vargy has the hit tool, the foot speed,” Roberts said. “It certainly makes him a real viable possibility.”