Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dodgers' news - Loney stays, Coco Crisp, non-roster invitees

The Dodgers tendered James Loney a contract on Monday, to no surprise. The light-hitting first baseman is scheduled to make somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 to $7 million.

I had a thought the team might consider non-tendering him, allowing Juan Rivera and Jerry Sands to take over first base duties. The Dodgers signed Tony Gwynn on Monday, so the possibility was there. However, the team would likely have needed another outfielder, despite a bevy of youngsters in the minors. Alas, it didn't happen, but it wouldn't have been the worst move ever made.

It will be nice to see Loney digging throws out of the dirt, though. He's one of the best in the league at doing so.

This leads us to the Dodgers' apparent interest in Coco Crisp.


Why is this team interested in another light-hitting outfielder? He's basically a more expensive version of Gwynn who's had some past success. Crisp did lead the American League in stolen bases last season with 49 (caught nine times). That's impressive. But coming off a $5.75 million contract, he appears to be out of the Dodgers' price range.

A team could pony up $4 to $5 million for his services.

The Dodgers also invited 15 players to Spring Training as non-roster players:

Jose Ascanio, Jeff Baisley, Josh Bard, Alberto Castillo, Matt Chico, Luis Cruz, Angel Guzman, Wil Ledezma, Shane Lindsay, Fernando Nieve, Scott Rice, Will Savage, Cory Sullivan, Ryan Tucker and Lance Zawadzki.

Some of these names might sound familiar. Rice and Savage both pitched for Double-A Chattanooga last season.

Bard was reported to have a $750,000 contract with the Dodgers during the Winter Meetings, only to find out it was a minor-league deal. Still, it hadn't been confirmed until now.

Guzman, 30, was a former top prospect in the Cubs' organization. He's thrown 157 Major-League innings, compiling a 4.82 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 4.2 BB/9, 8.6 K/9 and 1.96 K/BB. Not impressive, but there is potential with the nice K/9 rate. But he hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2009.

Ledezma signed earlier this off-season.

Nieve, 29, was a spot-starter/long reliever in his rookie season, but never got on track with the Astros. He last pitched in the Majors in 2010 with the Mets, and it wasn't pretty: 6.00 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 2.1 HR/9, 4.7 BB/9.

Tucker is a local kid who was a former Marlins' top prospect. He threw five bullpen innings for the American League Champion Texas Rangers last season and didn't do well. At just 25, though, there's still time to see if he can figure things out. I wouldn't hold my breath, though.

This leads me to my favorite signing: Sullivan.

Some of you might remember Sullivan for his days as a Rockie, or Dodger killer.

Literally. His slash numbers against the Dodgers in his career are as follows:


The .357 average is one of the highest against the Dodgers among active players. And if you think those numbers are inflated because of Coors Field, guess again:

.306/.370/.486 -- in 28 career games in Dodger Stadium.

He's also hit three of his 10 career home runs against the Blue -- all in the confines of Chavez Ravine.

Sullivan is the classic scrub who always seems to get his rocks (no pun intended) off against the Dodgers (Brad Hawpe, anyone on the Padres, etc.). It's nice the Dodgers don't have to worry about this guy hurting them -- well, at least from the opposing dugout...

Just kidding. He probably won't see Los Angeles anytime this season. If he does, something terrible has happened in Dodgerland.

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