As anticipation grows for the Los Angeles Dodgers to make their big splash in free agency or the trade market, the club tended to internal roster matters on Friday.
With the desire to protect them from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft, the Dodgers added pitchers Jharel Cotton and Ross Stripling to the 40-man roster ahead of the 5:00 p.m. PT deadline.
Players initially signed at 18 years old needed to be added to their organization’s 40-man roster within five seasons or they became eligible to be drafted by other teams through the Rule 5 process.
Those who signed at age 19 or older had to be protected within four seasons. Players picked in the Rule 5 draft cost $50,000 and must spend the entire season on the new team’s active roster or be offered back to their previous club for $25,000.
Cotton was originally selected by the New York Mets in the 28th round of the 2011 MLB Draft. He went on to attend East Carolina University, and was taken by the Dodgers in the 20th round the following year.
He began the 2015 season sidelined due to a broken wrist suffered when he was struck by a comebacker in Spring Training.
Cotton made one rehab start Low-A Great Lakes, then four with High-A Rancho Cucamonga, before joining Double-A Tulsa in June. He went 5-2 with a 2.30 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 71 strikeouts in 11 games (eight starts; 62.2 innings) for the Drillers.
Cotton was then promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he made five relief appearances across August and September. There was some thought Cotton’s rise would involve joining the Dodgers once active rosters expanded, though that never came to fruition.
Stripling, 25, and selected by the Dodgers in the fifth round of the 2012 draft, opened the year with the Loons before quickly being promoted. After missing the 2014 season due Tommy John surgery, the Pennsylvania native flashed signs of promise.
In his lone start for the Loons, Stripling dominated over four scoreless innings, allowing one hit and two walks, while striking out four batters.
Stripling was then accordingly promoted to Double-A for the remainder of the season. The right-hander was 3-6 with a 3.66 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over 13 starts for the Drillers.
The Dodgers’ 40-man roster now sits at 39 players.