Technically, Yasiel Puig does not have to be sent to the minor leagues today.
Doing so would amount to the Dodgers’ front office keeping its word, and that counts for something. It’s also unclear why Puig would not have a seat on the Dodgers’ flight to Denver on Monday if only for him to be in the clubhouse today.
In any event, the Dodgers must make two changes to their 25-man roster. Outfielder Josh Reddick was on the A’s active roster when he was traded to the Dodgers on Monday, and pitcher Jesse Chavez was on the Blue Jays’ roster at the time of Monday’s trade too. Whose roster spots are those two likely to take?
Reddick gives the Dodgers four outfielders (Puig, Joc Pederson and Andrew Toles are the others) along with Howie Kendrick, Kiké Hernandez and Scott Van Slyke, all of whom can be considered part-time outfielders. Puig to Triple-A looks like the move here, given the Dodgers’ commitment to get him out of the clubhouse one way or another.
Accommodating Chavez is a bit less straightforward. Because Bud Norris left Sunday’s start after two batters with a lat issue, he’s a candidate to go on the DL. That would allow the Dodgers to plug Chavez into their bullpen tonight, when Brandon McCarthy starts against the Rockies.
Of course, that would give the Dodgers three starting pitchers and nine relievers in the bullpen. They’ve done that before, and it’s necessary sometimes to keep nine relievers on hand at hitter-friendly Coors Field.
If Norris doesn’t need the DL, Ross Stripling could be the odd man out of the bullpen. Chavez fits the same profile as Stripling, a long reliever whom the Dodgers feel can provide occasional spot starts. Since Stripling threw 3 ⅔ innings (51 pitches) on Sunday, his value to the team tonight is marginal. Chavez figures to be the long reliever whether Stripling is in the ‘pen or not.
Update (12:35 p.m.): Stripling is expected to be optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City and meet the team at home on Wednesday. The OKC Dodgers are playing in Colorado Springs today before beginning a four-game homestand tomorrow.
Right-handed reliever Josh Fields, whom the Dodgers acquired from the Houston Astros on Monday, was on the roster of the Astros’ Triple-A affiliate at the time of the trade. He seems like a prime candidate to join the Dodgers at some point as well, but doesn’t have to be on the active roster tonight.
Rich Hill, whom the Dodgers acquired from the A’s along with Reddick, can’t be activated from the 15-day disabled list before Thursday.
Kenta Maeda is listed as the Dodgers’ starter Wednesday. Asked last week if he planned to keep his rotation intact until the Dodgers return home Friday, manager Dave Roberts wavered. He’s been apt to give Maeda an extra day’s rest in the past — Maeda typically pitches better with five days’ rest as opposed to the usual four — so don’t be surprised if the Dodgers shuffle their rotation after today.