Dodgers Invite 15 to Spring Training

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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