Wednesday was the deadline for MLB teams to set their 40-man rosters and protect players from the Rule 5 draft. The Los Angeles Dodgers managed to lose a player to waivers, but added three to their 40-man roster.
The biggest surprise was the Dodgers allowing Shawn Tolleson to go to the Texas Rangers via waiver claim. Tolleson made only one appearance in the big leagues in 2013, suffering multiple injuries mainly to his hip and back. In 2012, he made 40 appearances and posted a 4.30 ERA after an impressive minor league career with a combined ERA of just 1.34.
While it was a surprise the Dodgers let the 25-year-old reliever go, they did protect three pitchers Wednesday. Pedro Baez, Yimi Garcia and Jarret Martin were all added to the 40-man roster, making them ineligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft on December 12. Garcia is the top-ranked prospect of the three as the 12th-best Dodgers prospect on the MLB.com list.
Garcia shined in double-A this season, posting an ERA of just 2.54 and a K/9 of 12.7. The 23-year-old was a double-A All-Star and could work his way into late-inning work at the big league level as early as 2014.
The 25-year-old Baez spent six seasons in the Dodgers organization as an infielder before being converted to a pitcher in 2013. He only has 58 career innings pitched in the minor leagues, but putting together a K/BB ratio well above tw0 between high-A and double-A gives some hope for his future.
Martin is making the transition from starter to reliever, and shined in a late season promotion to double-A, posting an ERA of 1.69 over 11 appearances. He can get his fastball up to 97 mph and has a solid slider. He also possesses a change that makes him effective against both left- and right-handed hitters, but he most likely projects as a long relief man at the big league level.
Adding the three pitchers to the 40-man roster adds depth to an already above-average bullpen, leaving the only real hole on this team at third base — assuming Cuban signing Alexander Guerrerro plays well enough in the spring to win the second base job. There are not many quality third base options on the open market, so look for the Dodgers to either sign a shortstop and move Hanley Ramirez to third, or use their great pitching and/or outfield depth to deal for a man to hold down the hot corner.