Per Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com — and, I might add, a fellow BU Terrier — the Dodgers have signed reliever Mark Lowe to a minor-league deal with an invite to camp. Crasnick adds that Lowe would get a base salary of $1.5m if he makes the team, with incentives that could push the deal up to $2.1m. At least five other teams had interest in Lowe, who had been with Texas since being part of the Cliff Lee deal with Seattle in 2010.
I find that last part interesting, because as we’ve been discussing, the Dodgers really don’t have a ton of room in their bullpen — in fact, they have more reasonable options than spots available. Still, I’m happy with this, because you can never have too many relievers and Lowe, while inconsistent, has had his moments, as we discussed on January 31:
Then there’s Lowe, who is the only one I believe the Dodgers actually have interest in, given that not only did we hear reports of such interest in December, but all the way back in 2009. Lowe came up through the Seattle system with heat that touched triple digits, but missed much of 2006 and 2007 after undergoing microfracture surgery on his right elbow. He made it back to spend most of 2008 and 2009 in the bigs, then had back surgery in 2010 and went to Texas as part of the Cliff Lee deal while on the disabled list. Lowe pitched decently if not exactly fantastically (4.32 FIP) for Texas in 2012, though he did miss more than a month with a right intracostal strain. It should be noted that he carried a 2.00 ERA into September, but a brutal month (seven earned runs in four innings) pushed that up to 3.43. ERA! For relievers!
Lowe doesn’t turn 30 until June and still carries some potential in that big arm, though strictly as a ROOGY thanks to a big platoon split.
Obviously, he’s had his share of injury concerns, so he’s not someone you want to count on; still, a guy on the right side of 30 with some track record of big-league success is nice piece to add on a no-risk non-roster invite. You do wonder how he fits into a Dodger bullpen that already has to figure out how to potentially add a starting pitcher or two to the core group of Kenley Jansen / Brandon League / J.P. Howell / Ronald Belisario / Matt Guerrier, plus accommodate Javy Guerra & Shawn Tolleson fighting for jobs, and eventually work Scott Elbert back into the mix when he’s healthy — not to mention other NRIs like Peter Moylan.
That said, Lowe is hardly the kind of guy who demands you make room for him — if he was, he wouldn’t be coming on a non-guaranteed deal — so it’s a pretty nice problem to have. I’ll tell you this, though… more than ever, “Guerrier” really sticks out like a sore thumb among those names above. We’ve barely heard his name at all this winter, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he was elsewhere by April.
Back to Lowe — some upside, no risk. You wish every deal was like that, so well done.