Journeyman reliever Lance Cormier was reportedly awarded the final bullpen spot on the Dodgers' roster today, beating out long-time prospect Scott Elbert.
I touched on this a little in my last post, but I thought Don Mattingly was changing the philosophy of this club, seeing as Ivan DeJesus is not only going to make the team out of Spring Training, beating out Juan Castro, but he also is going to start at 2B on Opening Day over team MVP Jamey Carroll.
But with Cormier beating out Elbert, maybe things haven't changed as much as I may have hoped.
Since Cormier is a non-roster invitee, the Dodgers are going to have to make room for him on the 40-man roster. Couple that with the fact the Dodgers, with one free spot due to Ronald Belisario being on the restricted list, need to find room for Mike MacDougal and Aaron Miles. Elbert, who is already on the 40-man, would have been the more logical choice.
The Dodgers asked Cormier to accept a minor-league assignment, but he refused, forcing the Dodgers to make a decision.
This really isn't that big a deal, as Tim Redding, John Ely, Jon Garland or Vicente Padilla (most likely Redding until Garland or Padilla are healthy) will be up by April 12 to be the Dodgers' fifth starter. However, this does pose a slight problem for the bullpen.
Hong-Chih Kuo is the team's only left-handed pitcher out of the 'pen. Kuo is dominant against lefties and righties, but his inability to throw on consecutive days could come back to hurt the Dodgers if they face a lefty-heavy lineup. While Elbert isn't exactly reliable with his control, at least he has shown the ability to get lefties out.
Mattingly said the handedness of a reliever isn't the determining factor as to whether or not he'd make the team.
In eight innings, Cormier allowed 10 hits, two runs, two walks while striking out five. Not great but not horrible, I suppose. In six innings, Elbert gave up five hits, five runs, nine walks while striking out seven. Cormier displayed better control, but Elbert displayed the ability to get the ever important strikeout.
Cormier had a 3.92 ERA for the Rays last season, but that was the only statistic that wasn't God-awful. He also posted a 1.64 WHIP, 9.9 H/9, 4.9 BB/9, 4.4 K/9 and an anemic 0.88 K/BB ratio.
We'll see how this plays out early on. There will be a lot of roster turnover with guys coming back from injury, guys not performing well and guys performing well in the minors (prompting call-ups).