The Dodgers are planning to select veteran second baseman Kolten Wong onto the big league roster tomorrow, reports J.P. Hoornstra of the Orange County Register. He’ll take one of the expanded active roster spots. To fill the other role, Los Angeles will recall righty Emmet Sheehan from Triple-A (as first reported by Ari Alexander of KPRC 2 in Houston).
Wong joined the organization on a minor league pact a couple weeks ago. He didn’t spend much time in Triple-A. Wong played in just three games, collecting seven hits and a walk in 14 trips to the plate.
Before joining L.A., the veteran infielder had been struggling through the worst season of his career. Wong hit only .165/.241/.227 over 67 games with the Mariners. He struck out at a personal-high 21.3% clip and made hard contact on only around a quarter of batted balls — well below the 36% MLB average.
That offensive output would’ve been untenable even if Wong were continuing to defend at an elite level. Yet the two-time Gold Glove winner received slightly below-average grades from metrics like Defensive Runs Saved and Outs Above Average over 513 1/3 innings. It was his second straight season with middling marks for his glovework, as Wong also played below his established level during his final year with Milwaukee.
While Wong’s glove has slipped as he’s gotten into his 30s, he was a productive hitter as recently as a year ago. The lefty-swinging infielder put up a .251/.339/.430 slash with 15 homers and 17 steals in 497 trips to the dish for the Brew Crew. The Dodgers will hope for something more closely approximating that form than his early-season work in Seattle.
Mookie Betts has played second base for the Dodgers lately. Wong can sometimes factor in when there’s a need for Betts to move back to the outfield. The Dodgers have Amed Rosario, Enrique Hernández and Chris Taylor as middle infield options off the bench, though that entire group hits from the right side.
There’s no financial risk for L.A. in bringing Wong up. The Mariners are on the hook for virtually all of his $10MM salary. The Dodgers will pay him just the prorated portion of the $720K league minimum for whatever time he spends on the MLB roster. He’ll be a free agent at year’s end.
While there’s no need for an active roster move, Los Angeles will need to make a corresponding 40-man transaction when Wong is officially promoted. The club filled the 40-man this afternoon by reinstating Shelby Miller from the 60-day injured list. The veteran righty has been out since late June because of a nerve issue in his neck. Miller has turned in 30 innings of 2.40 ERA ball out of Dave Roberts’ bullpen.