Before his team left for New Orleans to wrap up the 2013 regular season, Albuquerque Isotopes manager Lorenzo Bundy was asked about potential September call-ups to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I try not to speculate on that,” Bundy said. “It’s really a call from the organization at the top. They have to make their decision so I really don’t want to speculate on what they’re thinking or what they may do. Hopefully it will be as many as possible.”
The Dodgers are in the position of chasing a division title and their first playoff appearance since 2009, which is different from a team that is rebuilding or looking at players for bigger roles in 2014. Instead, Los Angeles is likely to only add players who can help out in a supporting role, mainly off the bench and in the bullpen.
Recently the Dodgers also signed veteran right-hander Edinson Volquez, filling the open spot on the 40-man roster. With rosters eligible to expand beginning Sunday and the Isotopes’ season ending Monday, here are the players who could be called up.
40-man roster players
Drew Butera: The veteran catcher seems to be close to a lock to make his Dodgers debut. A good defender who does not hit much —just .135 (7-for-52) in 16 games with the Isotopes — he figures to be the third-string backup behind A.J. Ellis and Tim Federowicz. Butera was 0-for-3 in two games with the Twins earlier this year and is a career .182/.230/.263 hitter with Minnesota.
Scott Van Slyke: A slugging outfielder-first baseman, he should be a good fit as a powerful right-handed bat off the Dodgers’ bench. He hit .252 with six home runs earlier this year with the Dodgers and batted .348/.479/.627 with 12 homers for the Isotopes.
Dee Gordon: His last trip to L.A. was a defensive nightmare but Gordon does offer blazing speed off the bench. He has hit well with the Isotopes (.297/.385/.390) and leads the PCL with 49 steals. Gordon may not see the field with the Dodgers but he can help on the basepaths.
Elian Herrera: A versatile utility player, he has quietly had a good year (.285/.369/.376) with the Isotopes and went 2-for-8 in four games with the Dodgers earlier this year. There may not be room for him, however, as the Dodgers already have several light-hitting, versatile veterans on the roster.
Justin Sellers: The Isotopes’ defensive player of the year, Sellers could be a late-inning defensive replacement at shortstop, second base or third base. He hit just .188 (13-for-69) in 27 games with the Dodgers earlier this season, so his primary value lies in his glove. They could end up deciding between Sellers and Herrera for a spot.
Alex Castellanos: It has been a streaky year for the outfielder, who is batting .260/.351/.472 with a team-leading 19 home runs. Castellanos went 2-for-9 in four games earlier this year. Like Van Slyke, he bats right-handed, but he only plays the outfield and not first base.
Javy Guerra: The Isotopes’ closer has 11 saves in 27 games this year. A past closer with the Dodgers, he seems like a lock to be called up. Guerra had a 6.75 ERA in nine games in Los Angeles earlier this season.
Peter Moylan: Another veteran reliever, Moylan has good numbers (4-1, 2.74, 4 saves) and a track record of past MLB success with Atlanta. He went 1-0 with a 6.35 ERA in 10 games with the Dodgers earlier this season. He also seems like a lock to move up.
Stephen Fife: The signing of Volquez and his own struggles in relief could conspire to leave Fife off the call-up list. He was good (4-3, 2.47) with the Dodgers earlier this year before shoulder problems got him sent back down.
Matt Magill: The rookie walked 28 batters in 27.2 innings with the Dodgers earlier this year and seems likely to pitch elsewhere this fall. He has been fairly good (5-2, 3.36) with the Isotopes and could head for the Arizona Fall League instead of Los Angeles.
Chris Withrow: The hard-throwing reliever was sent down Saturday to make room for Volquez. It was only a (very) temporary demotion. He has gone 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA with the Dodgers.
Non-40-man roster players
Chili Buss: The Isotopes’ MVP has had a solid year, batting .307 with 16 homers and a league-leading 99 RBI. He seems more likely to be added to the 40-man roster in the offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. The Dodgers have plenty of depth in the outfield as well.
Red Patterson: An unsung hero for Albuquerque this year as both a starter and reliever, he could be valuable to the Dodgers in a similar role. He is another likely offseason 40-man addition.
Angel Castro: The Isotopes’ pitcher of the year was placed on the (phantom) disabled list to make room for Withrow. He is not hurt and had a good year (8-5, 3.48) but the Dodgers have enough depth to not need to add him.
Onelki Garcia/Kelvin de la Cruz: The likeliest addition from outside the current 40-man would be one of these two lefty relievers. The Dodgers have just two lefties on their big-league roster, though both J.P. Howell and Paco Rodriguez have been excellent. Garcia projects more as a lefty specialist while De la Cruz is a long reliever.
The first few call-ups will be announced Sunday and the remainder will likely be called up Tuesday or as needs dictate.