This is one of those things teams do every year to protect certain players from the Rule 5 draft. All three of the guys the Dodgers added today — right-hander Yimi Garcia (shown here), right-hander Pedro Baez and left-hander Jarret Martin — participated in at least part of this year’s Arizona Fall League season. Can’t swear to this, but I believe a player becomes eligible for the Rule 5 if he hasn’t been added to the 40-man after his FOURTH professional season if he was signed out of high school or internationally and after his THIRD professional season if he was signed out of college.
Once again, the Rule 5, for the uninitiated: if a team selects an unprotected player in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft, which is the absolute final event at baseball’s annual winter meetings, the team acquiring the player pays $50,000 to the team losing the player. The team acquiring the player then must keep that player on its 25-man roster — yes, its ACTIVE MAJOR LEAGUE ROSTER — for ALL of the following season or offer that player back to his original club for $25,000. Only if that player’s original club declines that offer and the player clears waivers can that player be sent to the minor leagues by the team that drafted him in the Rule 5.
Anyway, of this group, Garcia probably is the closest to the majors, although all three finished the season at Double-A Chattanooga. Oh, and all three are relievers. Baez is interesting because it was only a year ago that he converted to pitching after spending his first six professional seasons as an infielder who didn’t appear to be much of a prospect.
These moves leave the Dodgers with six open spots on their 40-man roster, so they have plenty of room to maneuver this winter as they address a host of needs, including third base, the bullpen and utility spots.
Also, the Dodgers announced that they had signed a quartet of free agents to minor league contracts and invited them to spring training. It’s a real list of yawners, though, so don’t get too excited: catcher J.C. Boscan, infielders Brendan Harris and Clint Robinson and lefty reliever Daniel Moskos. Of that group, Harris is the one with the most major league experience, but after logging parts of seven seasons in the majors from 2004-10 (including ALL of 2007-09), he didn’t return until this year, when he batted .206 in 44 games for the Angels and had more strikeouts than hits. That didn’t work out, either, and he spent the rest of the season in Triple-A for the Yankees and then the Rangers. Oh, and he’s 33.
As for the other three, Boscan has logged a little big league time in each of the past four years, and by a little, I mean no more than 10 plate appearances in any of them. Moskos was up with the Pirates in 2011, posting a 2.96 ERA in 31 appearances, and Robinson’s entire major league resume consists of four hitless plate appearances for the Royals in 2012.
Oh, and the Dodgers lost Shawn Tolleson today. The right-hander who made 40 relief appearances as a rookie in 2012 but just one in 2013 before going down for the season in April because of a herniated disc that required surgery was claimed off waivers by the Texas Rangers. Curious to me that the Dodgers waived Tolleson, especially given that they only added three players to the 40-man when they had nine spots open. For one reason or another, they just didn’t feel like he filled a need for them going forward.
And finally, USA Today’s the Big Lead reported today that Orel Hershiser, whose contract with ESPN is about to expire, is the Dodgers’ primary target to be “the face” of the team’s new TV Network. One would assume that means he will be the primary in-booth analyst for every game, or at least the ones that Vin Scully doesn’t do.