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Los Angeles Dodgers: Moving Forward as Roster Decisions Loom

Dennis SchlossmanCorrespondent IMay 7, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 13:  Los Angeles Dodgers' general manager Ned Colletti (L) and manager Joe Torre (R) talk prior to the start of the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium on April 13, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated the Diamondbacks 9-5.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

As if the scrutiny from the media, fans, and upper management weren't enough, Joe Torre and his staff are faced with several important roster decisions in the days and weeks ahead.

As of May 7, the Dodgers find themselves with six players on the disabled list. Of those six players, Brad Ausmus' return will be the simplest to arrange, albeit that won't occur till the end of June.

Rafael Furcal hopes to rejoin the boys in blue in mid-to-late May, and at this point it seems as if shortstop Nick Green will be sent back down to Albuquerque.

However, Green could possibly return to the Isotopes sooner if Los Angeles decides to retain 24-year-old, starting right-hander John Ely. 

Currently Ely holds middle reliever Jeff Weaver's spot, who hopes to return this weekend.

In a season where starting pitching has been gloomy, Ely threw six and two-thirds innings for the Dodgers last evening, as he clearly made a case to justify his roster spot.

If LA decides to retain Ely and demote Green when Weaver returns, that scenario will result in the Dodgers having only one extra infielder, Ronnie Belliard, to cover all four positions.

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From a performance standpoint, it would make sense to keep Ely and dump either Ramon Ortiz or Carlos Monasterios.

If Monasterios is optioned to the minors, however, it would give the Philadelphia Phillies rights to obtain him first due to Rule Five stipulations.

Demoting Ortiz right now would pretty much result in lost dollars—$1 million to be exact.

From a business standpoint, the most economical move would be to send Ely back down and keep the bullpen plentiful. But at this stage of the game, starting pitching is Los Angeles' most dire need.

Or, could we possibly see a sudden injury arise in the next day to say, Garret Anderson, Reed Johnson, or George Sherrill? Stranger things have happened.

And to add to the difficulty, an additional roster spot needs to be created for Manny Ramirez, who will return to the Dodgers starting lineup on Saturday.

More than likely, outfielder Xavier Paul will be demoted to Albuquerque.

Again, from a performance standpoint, logic says to keep Paul and demote either Garret Anderson or Reed Johnson who have been struggling, especially at the plate.

Johnson's largest asset, however, is that he can cover all three positions in the outfield.

The quick fix is to send Paul back to the Isotopes, which wouldn't result in any lost dollars or busted contracts.

Furthermore, when Vicente Padilla and Corey Wade both make their anticipated returns sometime in June, the pitching staff will need to undergo a makeover yet again.

Although these decisions seem subsidiary, the Dodgers, currently in the cellar of the NL West, need to make all of the right moves.

Interesting days lie ahead.

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