Dodgers Add Baez, Garcia, Martin.. And Hey, Daniel Moskos!

garcia_yimi_aflVia press release, the Dodgers confirmed that Pedro Baez, Yimi Garcia, and Jarret Martin have been added to the 40-man roster. Garcia was a given and Baez seemed likely; Martin is somewhat of a surprise.

If anything, the mention of Martin allows me to revisit what is still one of my favorite unimportant trades in Dodger history, the fact that Ned Colletti actually got two living, breathing human beings for Dana Eveland:

I don’t expect Martin to ever amount to anything, but it hardly matters. A fringy prospect and a player to be named for Dana F’ing Eveland, who was likely to be non-tendered next week anyway? Hell yes, I’ll take that.

After several years spent as a starter, Martin switched to the bullpen this year, where he saw his strikeouts increase while still having enough control problems that he’s probably not more than an organizational arm. With the three additions and the still unexplained departure of Shawn Tolleson, the 40-man roster stands at 34.

Also included in the release are the confirmations of minor league signings J.C. Boscan, Clint Robinson, and Brendan Harris, which we already knew about, and another fun name: Daniel Moskos. In 2007, Pittsburgh selected Moskos with the #4 pick in the draft… ahead of Matt Wieters, Ross Detwiler, Madison Bumgarner, and Jason Heyward, among others, but Moskos stalled out in the minors, reaching the bigs for 31 games in 2011 and striking out only 11 in 24.1 innings. He spent the first half of 2013 with the White Sox’ Triple-A team in Charlotte, but was released in June and didn’t pitch again. That’s fun, at least, if nothing else.

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Dodgers Depth Chart Analysis: The Few, the Proud, the Southpaws

Editor’s note: Chris Jackson checks in with a look at the lefty starting pitching in the Dodger organization. Not only are there several intriguing names in here, there’s the ongoing return from perhaps my favorite under-the-radar Ned Colletti deal ever: actually getting something back for the clearly about-to-be-DFA’d Dana Eveland.  

Left-handed pitchers who can get outs are prized possessions. They are often given far more leeway than their right-handed counterparts in terms of development and staying in rotations. Command is prized over stuff, for the most part, if only due to the fact that lefties with great stuff are few and far between. Yet command is never something that one can come by easily, which is why far too many southpaws end up pitching in relief instead of remaining as starters.

Reed is one of the promising, but still unrefined, lefty pitching prospects in the Dodgers' system. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Chris Reed is one of the promising, but still unrefined, lefty pitching prospects in the Dodgers’ system. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Like most teams, the Dodgers have far, far more right-handed starting pitchers in their farm system. The dearth of lefties here should not come as a shock, but merely as a stark reminder of the reality of the rarity of an effective enough lefty being able to start. Though their numbers are small, there is at least some talent in this group. There may not be another Clayton Kershaw on the farm, but few teams have any lefties of that caliber developing in the minors.

This small group is highlighted by a couple of talented but vexing former high draft picks, a promising arm who has yet to pitch much, and a few overachievers hoping to sneak into the picture. Despite a lack of numbers, there is talent in this collective.

Fabio Castro: One of the few veterans signed to a minor-league deal this offseason, Castro seems destined for the Isotopes’ rotation despite a 2012 campaign he would like to forget. The 28-year-old Dominican started last season at Sacramento for the A’s, only to get raked over the coals (6.92 ERA in 51 1/3 IP) and then get sent down to Double-A Midland. In the end, he gave up 145 hits and 68 walks in 125 1/3 innings combined, racking up 14 losses. Plenty of minor-league vets have signed with the Dodgers, gone to Albuquerque, gotten blown to smithereens, and earned their release before the All-Star break. Castro is the early favorite for that auspicious status in 2013.

Aaron Miller: As mentioned earlier, Miller fits the role of “vexing ex-high draft pick” quite well. The 36th overall selection out of Baylor in 2009, Miller cost the Dodgers $889,200 and has yet to put it all together. An undiagnosed sports hernia hampered him throughout 2011. In turn, he was kept on a fairly strict pitch count at Chattanooga in 2012. He made 25 starts, but only threw 121 1/3 innings while going 6-6 with a 4.45 ERA. Though FanGraphs ranked him as the Dodgers’ No. 11 prospect, most other sites were pretty down on Miller. His once promising fastball now sits in the 89-92 mph range, though that was an improvement on the 86-90 range it sat in during most of his injury-plagued 2011 campaign. Miller has an average slider and a fringy changeup, which has led plenty to suggest the bullpen lies in his future. He figures to return to Chattanooga as a starter to open 2013, but that staff is getting crowded, so he will have to continue to earn the right to start.

Rob Rasmussen: Undersized lefties are not as rare of a commodity as undersized righties, but Rasmussen still faces an uphill battle to remain a starter. At 5-foot-9, he looks more like a middle infielder. Rasmussen was drafted in the second round in 2010 out of UCLA, where he was the No. 3 starter behind current uber prospects Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer. The Marlins traded him to the Astros in the ill-fated Carlos Lee swap last summer. Houston, in turn, sent him to the Dodgers in the deal for John Ely. Rassmussen ranked as high as No. 13 on FanGraphs’ list for the Dodgers. His fastball sits in the 89-92 mph range and can touch 94. He has a plus slider, but his curveball and changeup are just average at best. He went 8-11 with a 4.25 ERA between Single-A Jupiter (Marlins) and Double-A Corpus Christi (Astros) last season, so he figures to open at Chattanooga. The Dodgers will keep him as a starter as long as possible.

Chris Reed: The Dodgers’ first-round pick, No. 16 overall, in 2011 was selected as much for his signability as his talent. A closer at Stanford, the Dodgers moved him to the rotation, but the results have been mixed at best so far. With blister problems and arm soreness, coupled with a strict pitch count, Reed struggled through 70 1/3 innings with Chattanooga and Rancho Cucamonga last season. He was just 1-8 with a 3.97 ERA and 67 strikeouts. Baseball America still tabbed him as the Dodgers’ No. 6 prospect, while FanGraphs had him at No. 2. Reed’s fastball sits in the low 90s, topping out at 95 mph. His spike slider is his out pitch, but overuse is the likely culprit behind his blister problem. Reed needs to work on his changeup and/or cutter if he hopes to remain a starter. Much like Miller and Rasmussen, Reed figures to start as long as he is able to. He also figures to join those two, plus right-handers Zach Lee and Andres Santiago, in an all-prospect rotation at Chattanooga.

Onelki Garcia: The wild card among the pitchers, Garcia is as much as an international man of mystery as his Cuban position player counterpart, Yasiel Puig. Despite throwing all of two innings with Rancho Cucamonga, three playoff innings with Chattanooga, four innings in the Arizona Fall League and 10 1/3 innings in the Puerto Rican Winter League, scouts are very high on Garcia. Unable to circumvent the draft and aim for free agency like most Cuban defectors, the 23-year-old was taken in the third round of the draft last summer. His fastball runs 90-95 mph with good sink. He has a plus 12-to-6 curveball that could play out of a big-league bullpen now, but if he hopes to remain a starter, he needs to refine his changeup and slider. With a strong spring he could force his way into the crowded Chattanooga rotation, or he could end up the ace at Rancho.

Jarret Martin: The more promising of the two minor-league players the Dodgers acquired from Baltimore for Dana Eveland last year, Martin endured some ups and downs while pitching mainly for Great Lakes. Martin went 4-6 with a 4.65 ERA in 18 starts overall, including two rough outings with Rancho. He was limited to 81 1/3 innings by injuries. While he struck out 80, he also walked 51, so refining his command will be a major issue in 2013. An 18th-round pick out of Bakersfield JC in 2009, Martin has exceeded expectations so far. His fastball sits in the low 90s and can touch 95. It has some sink, which will help him in the thin, dry air at Rancho this season. He has an average curveball and a below-average changeup.

Jake Hermsen: An organizational pitcher at best, Hermsen battled his way through 12 starts at Ogden last summer. The 23-year-old was taken in the 28th round out of Northern Illinois and was thrown into the fire with the Raptors. He finished 1-6 with a 4.24 ERA, allowing 64 hits in 51 innings. Hermsen struck out 37 and walked 16. He will fight for a rotation spot with Great Lakes this spring and should have a leg up on his right-handed competition.

Miguel Sulbaran: The Venezuelan, who turns 19 in March, proved to be a pleasant surprise last summer. He went 6-3 with a 2.51 ERA in 11 starts in the Arizona League, only to find things a little rougher in one start at Ogden and two at Great Lakes. Sulbaran finished the year with a 3.82 ERA in 68 1/3 innings. He struck out 69 and only walked 14. His fastball usually sits in the 88-91 range, touching 92. He features a curveball and a slider, though odds are he’ll drop one as time goes on, and a potentially plus changeup. Despite his age, he should compete for a rotation spot with the Loons.

* * *

That wraps up the lefty starters. Lefty relievers will be bunched in with their right-handed counterparts, but the jumbo-sized right-handed starters story will come first.

Winter Meetings Day Four: Rule 5, MacDougal, & Court Battles (Updated)

Update, 9:39am PT:

After what seems like weeks, we finally have confirmation that the Aaron Harang signing is official. Dylan Hernandez reports that he’ll make $3m in 2012 and $7m in 2013; there’s a $2m buyout of a 2014 vesting option. That’s right: next year, you can look forward to paying Aaron Harang seven million dollars. As Eric Stephen sadly notes, the club is now lined up to pay Harang, Chris Capuano, Ted Lilly, Matt Guerrier, Juan Uribe, Mark Ellis, & Jerry Hairston $47.25 million in 2013. Unbelievable.

Update, 8:50am PT:

We now know the second player coming from Baltimore, outfielder Tyler Henson. He turns 24 in a week and in parts of five seasons on the farm, his line is .263/.322/.387; last year, his first at Triple-A, was less than that, at .247/.313/.321 and three homers in 498 plate appearances. LiK. Martin, he appears to be a toolsy player (was recruited to play football out of college) who has shown little indication of ever translating that to performance. Again, though, it’s Dana Eveland, so this is free talent.

Update, 8:17am PT:

Coming back from Baltimore for Eveland is LHP Jarret Martin and a player to be named later. Martin’s 22, was an 18th-round pick in 2009, and has had a rough go of it in two seasons in the low minors, walking 5.9/9. The results haven’t been there, but the reports are somewhat promising.

John Sickels, Minor League Ball, March 2011:

SLEEPER ALERT!! Martin was selected in the 18th round in 2009, from Bakersfield Junior College. He has a sinking fastball in the low 90s that helped him post a 2.03 GO/AO last year in the Appy League. He also has a promising curveball, and the combination of the two pitches throttled left-handed hitters to a .188 mark for Bluefield. His K/IP and H/IP ratios were quite good, but he also walked too many guys, elevating his ERA. I am intrigued with this one; if Martin can sharpen his command even slightly, he could break out in 2011. Grade C, but a sleeper.
ADDITIONAL COMMENT: Good size and some arm strength here, plus I like the combination of strikeouts and ground balls. As stated, he needs to get the walks down, but any progress in that department could take him a long way. Sources who follow the Orioles closely are quite intrigued with him.

Orioles Nation, October 2010:

Martin, 21, has undoubtedly good stuff, striking out 68 batters in 59.2 innings while holding them to a .204 batting average. He attacks hitters with a low 90′s fastball with some sink and run, which is backed up by two above-average secondaries in a curveball and changeup.

When you look at his stats, the only thing that jumps out in a bad way are the walks. Martin needs to find a more consistent release point in order to throw more strikes. His stuff is so dominating that he was able to find success despite the control problems (6.9 BB/9).

I don’t expect Martin to ever amount to anything, but it hardly matters. A fringy prospect and a player to be named for Dana F’ing Eveland, who was likely to be non-tendered next week anyway? Hell yes, I’ll take that.

Update, 7:51am PT:

Jon Morosi reporting Baltimore has acquired Dana Eveland from the Dodgers. No word yet on what’s coming in return – not much, surely – but the simple entertainment in the fact that the O’s would give up absolutely anything for Eveland is value enough.

Original post:

It’s been a fun week, yet as the Winter Meetings come to an end today, I have to say I’m relieved. Sure, all the rumors make this an incredibly interesting time of year, and I certainly can’t complain about the extra site traffic, yet the entire thing can be exhausting. Still, there’s a few items on the table for today to get us started, and I’ll update as needed.

* In a little less than an hour (10am ET / 7am PT) the Rule 5 draft will begin. The Dodgers aren’t expected to make any selections, though it’ll be interesting to see if they lose anyone, like Cole St. Clair, Kyle Russell, or Gorman Erickson.

* Once again, we don’t have to worry about Logan White leaving for another team; the Astros have hired former Cardinals exec Jeff Luhnow as their new general manager.

* Despite all the fun we had trying to figure out who the bat was that Ned Colletti may have been interested in, Dylan Hernandez reports that the deal is dead. I can’t confirm this, but Tony Jackson was reportedly on ESPN Radio guessing that the target may have been Jed Lowrie or Emilio Bonifacio. I’ve long liked Lowrie, though I’m not sure how yet another infielder would have fit. Doesn’t matter now, I guess.

* Confirming our worst fears, Jackson also reports that the Dodgers are still extremely interested in Mike MacDougal. You all know my feelings on this by now – though if anyone else brings up his shiny 2.05 ERA as an indicator of any skill again I’m going to scream – and I don’t mind him returning… on a minor-league deal. It’s the two-year deal he’ll probably receive that’ll push me over the edge.

* Wow:

Dodgers first baseman James Loney was arrested last month in Los Angeles after crashing his Maserati into three cars and spitting at an officer, but was not charged with a crime, according to a police report obtained by TMZ.com.

A spokesman said the club was aware of the incident and was looking into it. A representative for Loney could not be reached.

Loney, 27, was arrested Nov. 14 after hitting a Toyota, Mercedes and Mini around 6 p.m. PT. When officers arrived on the scene of the accident, according to the report, Loney was handcuffed and taken to a hospital for breathalyzer and blood tests, which were negative for drugs and alcohol.

However, during the tests and according to the report, Loney was uncooperative and became “aggressive,” spitting the mouthpiece at an officer. He was placed in arm and leg restraints and given an injection by hospital staff to calm him. The Los Angeles city attorney will decide if Loney will be charged in the incident.

That certainly doesn’t sound good, though I’m sure there’s a whole lot more to the story. I doubt it’ll change the near-certainty that he gets tendered on Monday.

* Finally, with all of the player movement this week, we’ve really been neglecting the most important story of all, the continued legal battle between Frank McCourt and FOX. Thanks to the tireless reporting of Bill Shaikin, we’ve learned that McCourt must have an agreement to sell the team by April 30 (good news), that he could still retain rights to the parking lots around the stadium (bad news) and that the hearings which continue today in a Delaware courtroom about re-opening TV rights appear to be headed heavily against FOX and for McCourt (worse news). Much more on this as the dust settles.