2012 Dodgers in Review #38: RP Mike MacDougal

7.94 ERA 4.86 FIP 5.2 IP 6.35 K/9 9.53 BB/9 -0.1 fWAR (inc., but… F)

2012 in brief: Proved us all right by lasting barely a month into the season before getting whacked, then pitched poorly in Triple-A for Cubs & Nationals organizations.

2013 status: Some team will give him a token non-roster invite to camp, because of course they will.

******

Pretty sure my feelings on Mike MacDougal were made clear the day in early January that he signed, considering I named the post, “Mike MacDougal Close to Returning to Dodgers; Allows Inherited Runner to Score“. As we knew at the time, expecting him to be successful merely because he had a nice 2011 ERA was a gambit all but certain to fail:

Shiny ERA strikes again! This move has been such a fait acompli for such a long time that the only real surprise is that A) it took so long to actually happen and B) that it wasn’t for two guaranteed years. You know the story by now: MacDougal was fine as a non-roster invite, despite barely striking out more than he walked, constantly inflating the ERA of others by allowing their runners to score, and having a FIP of 3.96 that is far more accurate than that fancy 2.05 ERA. For a zero-risk warm body, fine. On any sort of guaranteed major league deal? Well, you’ll notice we haven’t heard a whole lot about other teams beating down his door, right? The fun part will be when he pitches exactly the same as he did in 2011, but his ERA balloons to 4.04, and people will complain about how he’s all of a sudden terrible.

Well, I wasn’t totally right, because he didn’t pitch exactly the same as he did in 2011; he was worse, allowing 15 baserunners in 5.1 innings over seven April games, including two separate stretches of at least a week where Don Mattingly refused to use him. Going back to when he was signed, we had a pretty good guess of where this was going to end up:

I’m kidding, sort of, because one year and $1m is practically nothing these days. It’s just about the lowest amount you can even give a player with MacDougal’s experience, and when he’s inevitably DFA’d by July, it won’t be anything worth complaining about.

So close! He was actually DFA’d on May 3. If anything, I was surprised that he was let go so quickly when Ronald Belisario returned, considering that Josh Lindblom still had options and that while MacDougal was on a guaranteed contract, Jamey Wright was not. So kudos, I suppose, to Ned Colletti for swallowing his mistake; on the other hand, that hardly cancels out having made it in the first place, because again — this was never, ever a good idea.

After getting borked, MacDougal went to Iowa to pitch for the Triple-A affiliate of the Cubs, but he was released there as well after a 7.85 ERA in 19 games, and ended his summer in the Washington organization pitching in Syracuse. In 29 innings between the two Triple-A clubs, he walked 24. Not exactly where he anticipated his season would conclude, I imagine, but pretty much exactly where we would have expected.

******

Next up in the review series! Out with the old, in with the Paco Rodriguez!

I Don’t Know What Ronald Belisario Is, But He’s Not Mike MacDougal

I have no idea what kind of Ronald Belisario we’re going to see now that he’s been reinstated from the suspended list. The out-of-nowhere 2009 sensation? The 2010 disappointment who wasn’t great but wasn’t really as bad as people remember? The total flakewad who missed 2011 entirely? But I do know this: simply because he’s here and he exists, we no longer have to suffer the wrath of Mike MacDougal, DFA’d by the Dodgers today to make room.

I have to admit, even though this was clearly the right move – you just can’t send down Josh Lindblom after how good he’s been this year, and MacDougal has shown no ability to get anyone out – I’m still pretty surprised that this actually happened. MacDougal was signed to a guaranteed deal over the winter, and in a bullpen with one NRI (Jamey Wright) and a few guys with options remaining, the fact that the Dodgers chose to eat MacDougal’s deal rather than ship off Lindblom or gin up a phantom DL stint is encouraging. Hey, maybe Stan Kasten’s new fan email box is paying off already!

MacDougal, of course, probably was never worth that guaranteed deal in the first place, since his 2.05 ERA last year was one of the more misleading stat lines I can remember in some time. But hey, maybe some team desperate for bullpen help will actually take on his deal or give up some Low-A space filler for him. And if not, I’m sure he’ll be quite comfortable in Albuquerque. Either way, kudos to Ned Colletti (or whomever may have made this call) for doing the right thing.

As for Belisario, well, I’m very interested to see what he is. There’s a non-zero chance that he could potentially be a useful piece of the puzzle if he can find himself again, and the reports on his stuff have been encouraging. That said, the rehab results weren’t great (1 K, 2 BB, 8 hits allowed in 4.2 innings) and with Matt Guerrier on the mend, Blake Hawksworth looming after that, and intriguing minor league types like Shawn Tolleson, Scott Rice, and Josh Wall out there as well, Belisario is probably going to need to show his worth quickly. But hey, it’s win/win, because even if he’s terrible and gets cut, all it cost you was the services of Mike MacDougal. So there’s no downside here.

By the way, still no official word on Bobby Abreu, and now that Belisario has taken MacDougal’s 40-man spot, there remains one open spot for the veteran outfielder.

We Survived January

January is traditionally the slowest month of the baseball calendar, and this year was no exception. We still have to survive a few more slow weeks, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel: pitchers and catchers report in less than three weeks.

* This morning, I was walking home from an appointment when an older man stopped me to ask about my Brooklyn Dodgers cap, saying he doesn’t often see younger folks wearing the B and that he’d grown up going to games at Ebbets Field. It’s not the first time that’s happened, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop getting a kick out of that.

* As we’ve been pointing out for a while, the Left Field Pavilion charity softball game is next Saturday, February 11. Team MSTI is just about full – still room for another one or two more, I believe – and the estimable Dave Pomerantz will be captaining the squad. Team member Jason asked me to put up a post where you guys can connect and figure out positions, so please feel free to use the comment section here for that.

* ESPN’s Jim Bowden has been on something of an Andre Ethier kick lately. In ESPN Magazine this week, he puts the chances of Ethier leaving following 2012 at 45%, and claims he’d offer Ethier a 4/$48m contract if he were running a team next year. While Bowden recieves a lot of ridicule online and that’s more than most of us would like to give Ethier, Bill at The Platoon Advantage pointed out earlier this week that Bowden was actually very successful at predicting the contracts that this year’s free agent class would get.

Ethier also came up in Bowden’s ESPN.com piece about five trades that could boost contenders, saying that the Yankees should trade pitching prospect Dellin Betances and catcher Austin Romine to the Dodgers for Ethier:

Ethier is eligible for free agency after this season and this deal would have to be contingent on the Yankees signing him to a long-term deal. That said, as a left-handed pull hitter with power, he is a perfect fit for Yankee Stadium, and he and Nick Swisher could share right-field/DH duties, with Alex Rodriguez also getting some reps at first base.

From the Dodgers’ perspective they get a future middle-of-the-rotation starter in Betances and solve their long-term catching situation with Romine. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has had a busy offseason satisfying the game’s senior citizens with deals and signings that include: Mark Ellis, Matt Treanor, Adam Kennedy, Jerry Hairston Jr., Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang. For Colletti to secure his job with the new incoming Dodgers ownership, he needs to make some deals that improve the long-term outlook of the club.

I do think Ethier will have a big 20112 and casual Dodger fans would hate that move, but yeah, I’d do it. For the record, Yankee fans I know on Twitter hated the idea, so that’s a good sign that it’s positive for the Dodgers. (For the record, in case anyone is too dense to get it, this is NOT a real trade rumor, it’s just Bowden spouting ideas out of nowhere.)

* I plan on doing on doing an entire post about this sort of thing in the next few weeks, but it’s worth pointing out that the Indians look like they may have gotten a bargain by signing reliever Dan Wheeler to a mere minor-league pact. In 47 innings for Boston last year, the 33-year-old righty had a 4.88 K/BB and a 3.78 FIP; by comparison, 34-year-old Mike MacDougal had a 1.41 K/BB and a 3.96 FIP in 57 innings for the Dodgers. Yet MacDougal gets the guaranteed deal, while Wheeler essentially gets a tryout. Why? Too much reliance on shiny but essentially useless ERA, I’m guessing.

* Chris Jackson of the Albuquerque Baseball Examiner kicks off a position-by-position series looking at the 2012 Isotopes, starting with the catchers.

* Another minor-league signing, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The Dodgers have added former Angels farmhand Chris Pettit, an outfielder who released by Anaheim earlier this month. I’ll be honest and say this is a name I’m not familliar with, partially because his MLB experience consists of 10 plate appearances in 2009 and 2011, and partially because after missing all of 2010 with a shoulder injury, he hit just .182/.279/.308 in 124 games for Anaheim’s AA and AAA clubs in 2011. As far as I know, he didn’t even get an invite to big-league camp, so this is a depth signing at the absolute most.

Mike MacDougal Close to Returning to Dodgers; Allows Inherited Runner to Score

You probably know by now that few things interest me more than trades, signings, and other roster moves. I love seeing how all the pieces fit together, and whether value was added based on the cost (whether in dollars or players) of the new arrival. It’s always fun to analyze when it comes to that; in many ways, for me, the off-season is a lot more fun than the actual season.

Well, this isn’t one of those times, because even though the Dodgers are about to make a move today, any real analysis is just going to make me sad.

The Dodgers are close to re-signing right-handed reliever Mike MacDougal, who would round out their bullpen, to a one-year, $1 million contract.

Shiny ERA strikes again! This move has been such a fait acompli for such a long time that the only real surprise is that A) it took so long to actually happen and B) that it wasn’t for two guaranteed years. You know the story by now: MacDougal was fine as a non-roster invite, despite barely striking out more than he walked, constantly inflating the ERA of others by allowing their runners to score, and having a FIP of 3.96 that is far more accurate than that fancy 2.05 ERA. For a zero-risk warm body, fine. On any sort of guaranteed major league deal? Well, you’ll notice we haven’t heard a whole lot about other teams beating down his door, right? The fun part will be when he pitches exactly the same as he did in 2011, but his ERA balloons to 4.04, and people will complain about how he’s all of a sudden terrible.

I’m kidding, sort of, because one year and $1m is practically nothing these days. It’s just about the lowest amount you can even give a player with MacDougal’s experience, and when he’s inevitably DFA’d by July, it won’t be anything worth complaining about. But hey, at least he’ll be 35 in June.

Update: Per a team press release, the deal is done, and includes a team option for 2013.

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.