The Los Angeles Dodgers face several decisions in free agency and on their club option with Joe Kelly for the 2022 season, but their first steps this offseason were to outright Scott Alexander, Andy Burns and Jimmie Sherfy off the 40-man roster after each cleared waivers.
However, Alexander has more than five years of Major League service time and can reject the outright assignment in favor of becoming a free agent. Meanwhile, Burns and Sherfy have been previously outrighted in their respective careers, and can also decline the Minor League assignment.
Alexander twice suffered from inflammation in his left shoulder this season and appeared in just 18 games. He went 0-2 with a 2.93 ERA and 1.24 WHIP, and last pitched July 19.
It marked the second time Alexander has been unable to finish a season for the Dodgers. A nerve issue in his left thumb prevented Alexander from pitching after June 5 during the 2019 campaign. He subsequently underwent surgery prior to the 2020 season.
Alexander was among the Dodgers eligible for arbitration this winter. It was due to be his final time going through the process and the left-hander was poised to become a free agent after the 2022 season.
Burns first joined the active roster in June and went on to make Dodgers franchise history by getting a hit and pitching in his first game with the team. Burns’ time with the Dodgers marked a return to the Majors since last playing for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2016. He went 3-for-11 with three walks over nine games with L.A.
Burns was optioned June 23 as the corresponding move to the Dodgers activating Cody Bellinger, and he didn’t return until the National League Championship Series as a replacement for the injured Justin Turner. Burns went 0-for-2 in pinch-hit appearances against the Atlanta Braves.
The Dodgers designated Edwin Uceta for assignment in order to add Burns to the 40-man roster, and the right-handed relief pitcher went on to be claimed off waivers by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Burns hit .232/.361/.412 with 12 doubles, six home runs and 24 RBI over 54 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City this past season.
Sherfy was another relief pitcher the Dodgers lost to injury. He was claimed off waivers from the San Francisco Giants in the middle of July but only went on to pitch in four games.
Sherfy nevertheless made MLB history by becoming the first pitcher to appear in a game for both the Dodgers and Giants in a single season.
Dodgers 40-man roster outlook
Removing Alexander, Burns and Sherfy leaves the Dodgers with 37 players on their 40-man roster. That allows for some flexibility in the near term with potential signings in free agency and additions of Minor Leaguers to protect them from possibly being selected in the 2021 Rule 5 Draft next month.
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