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Dodgers have roster room for another busy winter meetings session

Dodgers have roster room for another busy winter meetings session
Dodgers General Manager Farhan Zaidi speaks at a news conference introducing new Manager Dave Roberts, right, on Dec. 1. (Victor Decolongon / Getty Images)

The Dodgers , in the first off-season for the analytic-driven front office of Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi, were the wizards of the winter meetings last year, reshaping the roster and leaving fans dizzy trying to keep up with their moves.

Now, in season two?

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Perhaps some assume the heavy lifting was done last off-season and expect comparative  calm when the 2015 winter meetings get underway Sunday in Nashville. And perhaps not.

On Friday, the Dodgers outrighted pitcher Brooks Brown to triple A. Maybe that prompts a large yawn and head-scratching over who Brooks Brown is. Answer: He’s yet another new-age pickup who never donned a Dodgers uniform but was claimed in October from the Colorado Rockies.

Still, the move may be noteworthy, if only because it clears a spot on the team’s 40-man roster after the Dodgers had opened two more spots Wednesday when they non-tendered pitchers Juan Nicasio and Lisalverto Bonilla.

That leaves the Dodgers' 40-man roster with four openings, giving the team plenty of wiggle room if it wanted to sign free agents or get involved in multiplayer deals.

So Friedman and Zaidi could be busy this winter, though they would be hard-pressed to duplicate last winter's flurry of activity:

  • Traded outfielder Matt Kemp and catcher Tim Federowicz to the San Diego Padres for catcher Yasmani Grandal and right-handers Joe Wieland and Zach Eflin (who was flipped to the Philadelphia Phillies for shortstop Jimmy Rollins).

  • Traded second baseman Dee Gordon, right-hander Dan Haren and infielder Miguel Rojas to the Marlins for utility man Enrique Hernandez, reliever Chris Hatcher, catcher Austin Barnes and left-hander Andrew Heaney (who was immediately flipped to the Angels for second baseman Howie Kendrick).

  • Signed free-agent right-hander Brandon McCarthy to a three-year, $48-million contract.

  • Agreed to sign Brett Anderson to a one-year, $10-million deal.

Now, the Dodgers need two starting pitchers, a second baseman and bullpen help. Plus, it's unclear what sabermetrics have Friedman and Zaidi making less obvious moves.

One of those four openings on the 40-man is the result of Zack Greinke's becoming a free agent. His spot remains open, like a welcome sign back home.

All that off-season activity last winter netted them one year of Kendrick and Rollins, an up-and-down season from Hatcher, something of a breakout year for Hernandez, a nice season from Anderson who accepted a qualifying offer for another season, a great first half from Grandal and McCarthy having to undergo Tommy John after four starts.

Gordon went on to lead the league in batting and steals, and won a Gold Glove. Though Kendrick gave them everything expected, given their rotation holes they might be wishing they’d hung onto Heaney, who went 6-4 with a 3.49 in 18 starts with the Angels.

The Dodgers made last year's winter meeting nothing if not interesting, and they have the roster room to do it again.

Follow Steve Dilbeck on Twitter @SteveDilbeck

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