Dodgers Invite 15 to Spring Training

December 13, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Posted in Angel Guzman | 19 Comments

While we wait for the Dodgers to inevitably sign the real Mike MacDougal, probably for far more than the $1.75m the Diamondbacks just gave to Takashi Saito – and let me say, the fact that they’re actually negotiating with him is terrifying in itself – they’ve supplied us with a list of 15 non-roster invites to spring training, a group from which the next MacDougal is likely to come. We already knew about a few of these guys, but here’s the full list…

RHP Angel Guzman
RHP Fernando Nieve
RHP Jose Ascanio
RHP Ryan Tucker
RHP Shane Lindsay
RHP Will Savage
LHP Alberto Castillo
LHP Matt Chico
LHP Scott Rice
LHP Wil Ledezma
C Josh Bard
INF Jeff Baisley
INF Lance Zawadzki
INF Luis Cruz
OF Cory Sullivan

With the exception of Savage and Rice, each of whom pitched in the Dodger minors last season, everyone on the list has at least some big-league time. (Rice sounds like an interesting story, however – he was a first-round pick of Baltimore way back in 1999, seven picks after the Dodgers selected Jason Repko, yet has just 88 innings above Double-A.)

If it’s an absolute certainty that we’ll never hear about some of these guys again – don’t forget, other NRIs of recent years have included immortals like John Koronka and Timo Perez – then it’s also a certainty that at least one or two of them is going to see some action in Dodger blue in 2012, because it happens every year – regardless of how full the roster seems at the moment. Dana Eveland, Aaron Miles & MacDougal last year, the Ortizii the year before; every team, every year, has to patch and fill with players like this. While I was hardly the biggest proponent of the production Miles & MacDougal brought, it’s hard to argue with having filler like that on hand for absolutely zero cost or risk.

Of the names above, the ones that stand out to me the most are Guzman, Lindsay, and Sullivan. We’ve already talked about Lindsay, who probably will never develop enough control to succeed in the bigs, but has a big enough arm to make him intriguing. Guzman was once a nice prospect in the Cubs system, ranking as high as #26 on Baseball America‘s rankings back in 2004, but hasn’t seen the majors since he got into 55 games in a solid 2009 for Chicago as shoulder injuries have derailed his career. After missing all of 2010, he got into 21 games in the low minors for the Cubs in 2011, striking out 5.6 for every walk, which is encouraging. Sullivan came up through the Colorado system, playing as their everyday center fielder in 2006, and in over 1200 big-league at-bats for the Rockies, Astros, and Mets has a not-altogether-awful line of .271/.327/.381. No stars here, as could be expected, but perhaps some interesting pieces.

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  1. Bless ‘em all,
    Bless ‘em all.
    The long and the short and the tall,

    Bless all those pitchers and defensive infielders,
    Bless all those catchers and even outfielders,
    Cos’ were saying hello to ‘em all.
    but back to the dugout they’ll crawl,
    You’ll get no promotion this side of the ocean,
    So cheer up my lads bless ‘em all

    (with apologies to Fred Godfrey and his 1917 song)

  2. i think shane lindsay will be the heir apparent to mike mcdougal…both throw hard and both have control problems

  3. Let me just say I’m very happy with how MacDougal worked out. We paid nothing for him, and as 6th or 7th relievers go he was quite good. It’s not his fault he was used in pressure situations where he didn’t belong. But considering we had pretty effective seasons from Guerra, Jansen, Lindbloom and Elbert, we didn’t have to use him in pressure situations, so he should have been more valuable than he was. It goes without saying that he wasn’t as effective as his ERA suggests, and that we shouldn’t even give him a guaranteed ML deal, but still, if ever year we could get Mike MacDougal production out of our NRI’s, I’d be very happy.

  4. Matt Chico was my next door neighbor in high school, so I’m pulling for him to have a great spring. He played on Duke Snider Field for the Fallbrook Warriors, so there’s already a Dodger connection!

    • Matt Chico’s is rated as most similar to Eric Stults by Baseball Reference. The same Stults who pitched a couple of shut-outs for the Dodgers in ’08 and ’09 as a fill in starter. Stults pitched the only Dodger shut-out in ’09. Too bad Stults was just signed by the White Sox as a free agent. He might have been a decent fill in when Harang goes down. He was hurt by home runs in Colorado last year and released, but still might have some ability left.
      .
      Best of luck to Matt Chico – the team can always use a good pitcher somewhere down the line

  5. Maybe the next decision is whether the Dodgers will go with a 5 or 6 man bench – 6 or 7 relief pitchers.
    Jon Weisman projects a team with a 6 man bench – Kennedy, Treanor, Sands, Hairston, Gwynn and Oeltjen (or Sellers)
    and 6 relievers – Guerra, Jansen, Lindbloom, Hawksworth, Guerrier and Elbert
    I think most of the time, the Dodgers have 12 pitchers (5 starters, 7 relievers), especially in the early going when the starting pitchers are not yet pitching deep into games.
    therefore I expect Ned to pick up McDougal and/or maybe one of the NRI’s or another relief pitcher from the Free Agent list and drop Oeltjen/Sellers or have Sands start in AAA.
    considerations:
    Sands needs to be a daily player and probably would benefit from more time in the minors, but who do you look for to pinch hit. If Hairston and Sands platoon with Ethier and Loney, you may have two left hand bats (Ethier,Loney) on the bench when you need a LH pinch hitter. Hairston and Sands to pinch hit from the right side.. Oeltjen gives you a modest LH bat and some speed, but you have that already in Gwynn. I do not think Sellers gives you anything they do not already have and most likely will be the starting SS in New Mexico – ready to come up if Gordon or Uribe goes down.
    I would go with a bench of Treanor, Sands, Gwynn, Kennedy and Hairston. Get an extra relief arm in there (Tolleson). Use Sands liberally to replace Rivera and in a platoon at RF or 1B. If at all possible, pay off Kennedy and replace with any kind of bat who could play a little in the field (Betemit, Eric Chavez, Daniel Murphy, Kendrys Morales, – not Matsui or Theriot). I can hope the team plays well, but I am not expecting much from them for about two years, then watch out…

    • One of the NRI’s above, Luis Cruz, has AAA experience in each of the last 5 years. He will be 28. His OPS this winter is 1048 in Mexico in 205 AB. He is a ss. I would assume he will get some ss playing time for Alb.
      LHH hit 342 against Tolleson at AA (16.2 IP).
      Mike’s link above goes to the wrong Alberto Castillo. I mention this since he is the player who most intrigues me.

      • You can blame b-ref’s auto tool, I’m surely not doing all those links manually.

        • didn’t think you were; guess a tie goes to the more well-known.
          read this: In 366 minor league innings, Lindsay has allowed nine home runs.

  6. No Eric Gagne?

    • How about inviting the HGH twins – Eric Gagne and Paul LoDuca – to be the battery when Milwaukee and Ryan Braun face the Dodgers in Spring training.
      Gagne would be better than Lance Cormier at least, and LoDuca might outhit Treanor.. I do not think they would get Braun out, but it would be interesting on some level.

  7. Lee, Reed, Gould, Sanchez,
    Wilborn, Montgomery, Budkevics, Christenson, Rodriguez & McGough

    Withrow, Webster, Miller, Patterson,
    Redding, Magill, Martin, Bawcom,
    St. Clair & Ames

    Ely, Antonini, Savage, Fife, Parisi,
    Monasterios, Troncoso, Ledezma,
    Wall & Tolleson

    30 Dodgers MiLB Ps likely in top three leagues; good luck to all of them and the NRIs. Many of these Ps can pitch in MLB, how many & how well TBD. Go Blue!

  8. Not so sure that Sands does not get 100 plus starts in LF, and maybe some in RF and at 1B. Rivera will likely get starts at 1B and RF, and in LF. Not so sure that Rivera, while capable to start at three positions, won’t get a few less starts than Sands. Middle of Dodgers order Kemp, Ethier, Sands and Loney; enough? Go Blue!

  9. Rivera, Gwynn Jr., Hairston Jr.,
    Murphy & Varitek. Just still can’t believe Colletti signed Kennedy and Treanor.
    Go Blue!

  10. The real dodger news of the day is missed.. let’s see something on this tomorrow..
    Fred Rigging has an insightful and scary article on how McCourt is angling to keep the dodgers.

    http://m.nbclosangeles.com/nbclosangeles/pm_108823/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=e2OudwaO

    • Thanks for the link, I hadn’t seen that. I do have to laugh at the guy claiming “exclusive” though – I posted a link to a Ross Newhan story a few days ago suggesting the exact same thing.

  11. We all bang endlessly on Colletti (rightfully so) but it seems to me he has a good track record of NRI’s. I wonder who on that GM staff is responsible for that. Kind of like we give Logan White the credit for the draft. Of course, Colletti has just an illustrious track record of inviting the wrong NRI’s on to the roster and sticking with them for months on end. Dang, was just trying to say something nice about Uncle Ned. Nevermind….

  12. How come nobody is talking about Jeff Baisley? Looking at his minor league numbers from Triple A last year he looks legit. Plus he can be a right handed bat off the bench if the dodgers want to give Sands a little more AAA seasoning (personally I would love to see Sands starting LF). He can play 3rd, an obvious hole for us with Uribe, Kennedy, Hairston. He seems to have some pop…but I haven’t looked at any of his defense numbers. TrueBlueLA says he can play some 1st as well. Sounds good to me

  13. [...] Roggin of NBC Los Angeles picked up on the scent yesterday (h/t to Philip for the link), and though his piece was laughably titled “exclusive” (presumably by a [...]


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