To the surprise of absolutely no one, reports are that the Dodgers have put Jason Repko on waivers, almost certainly ending his tenure with the team. Despite having been in the organization since about 1973 (okay, 1999) Repko still wasn’t out of options, so this isn’t an Eric Stults situation. This move was more about opening up another spot on the 40-man roster, since the Dodgers will be adding at least two (Garret Anderson, Jeff Weaver) and possibly four (Ramon Ortiz, Nick Green) non-roster invites to the club.
Unlike Stults, I have no problem with seeing the end of the Jason Repko era. I mean, when you think of Repko’s time with the Dodgers, what stands out? Was it the 301 plate appearances he received on the dreadful 2005 team, with which he put up a line of .221/.281/.384 – and then somehow turned that into an Opening Day start in 2006? Or the time he ruined Rafael Furcal’s 2007 season by diving through his ankle (shown at right) and then later in the same game, blew out his hamstring and missed the whole season?
Or maybe it’s the more-talented outfielders who were let go due to roster crunches while Repko somehow just kept on surviving - guys like Jayson Werth, Delwyn Young, Shane Victorino, and Cody Ross? Really, we already wrote his obituary in our 2009 season in review feature, back in December:
Here’s another fact for you: Repko’s status as “longest-tenured Dodger” almost certainly ended with a strikeout on the last day of the regular season, as he’s arbitration-eligible and has done almost nothing to justify a raise on his 2009 salary of $500k. His various stints with the big club have produced just a 74 OPS+, and in yet another year in AAA (which he first reached in 2004) he had a ghastly 80/24 K/BB rate while putting up an .800 OPS. At 29 in December, he’s being passed on the organization ladder by younger outfielders like Xavier Paul and Jamie Hoffmann, with more on the way.
Still, Repko’s not without his uses. His speed, strong throwing arm, and ability to play all 3 outfield spots make him a decent 4th outfielder, but as tenuous as that value is, it’s all but invisible on a team like the Dodgers that’s stacked with outfielders both talented and highly-paid. Believe it or not, Repko’s been in the Dodger organization since 1999 (making his debut as the SS on the Great Falls Dodgers that went 29-47 and featured just one other player who’d make it to the bigs, Shane Victorino), so it’s a little melancholy to predict his imminent unemployment.
But go he must; for there’s no room at this inn for a nearly-30 backup outfielder who’s making more than the minimum and can’t really hit. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.
And go he has. The longest-tenured Dodger (with continuous service, so Jeff Weaver’s spot on the 2004 squad doesn’t count) is now Jonathan Broxton, a declaration I made somewhat prematurely about 15 months ago.