Just for fun, just because it’s the first week of spring games, let’s imagine Seth Rosin continues to throw like he did in the Dodgers’ exhibition opener.
Which is to say, absolute lights out. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound right-hander threw two scoreless innings Wednesday, five of his six outs coming via strikeout.
OK, so he’s not going to keep that up. But for argument’s sake, let’s say he’s at least in the neighborhood. You absolutely have to keep him, right?
Only it’s hard to imagine that happening.
Rosin could be the star of spring and still not make the team. He’s a Rule 5 draft pick, meaning he has to be on the 25-man roster the entire season or be offered back to the Phillies.
And those reliever-hoarding Dodgers are already so packed in the bullpen, they’re looking at sending down young relief stars Paco Rodriguez and Chris Withrow. And they’re going to shake things up with yet another reliever to make room for Rosin, a guy who’s never pitched above Double-A?
The 25-year-old is in a difficult spot. He could look like the next coming of Mariano Rivera and be caught in a numbers crunch. Unfortunately for him, all he can do is throw his best and wait to see if injury befalls one or more of the others.
The Dodgers normally carry seven relievers and right now their bullpen is flush with Kenley Jansen, Brian Wilson, Chris Perez, Brandon League, Jamey Wright, J.P. Howell and Paul Maholm (if he’s not in the rotation).
Which would leave Rodriguez and Withrow out, let alone Rosin.
Now Maholm could begin the season on the disabled list if Josh Beckett is the fifth starter. Someone else easily could come up with a bum arm over the next few weeks. Someone could be traded (good luck dealing League with the $17 million he’s still owed). The Dodgers could decide to start the season with an extra arm in the bullpen.
And that could still leave Rosin in the back of the line. Now maybe he gets lit up in his next three appearances and it never becomes an issue. But if he continues to pitch well and nothing unexpected happens injury-wise, he’ll have to be sent back – unless the Dodgers could work out a trade with the Phillies.
Now, the Dodgers will tell you these things have a way of working themselves out, though certainly not always. Last year Kevin Gregg was terrific in the spring and Manager Don Mattingly wanted to keep him.
Instead, he was let go. He went on to sign with the Cubs and became their closer, saving 33 games.
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