Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jamey Wright, not John Grabow, gets the final Dodgers' bullpen spot

To much surprise, John Grabow opted out of his contract with the Dodgers on Monday, making him a free agent. The move officially means Jamey Wright will be the Dodgers' 12th (presumably) man out of the bullpen.

Both pitchers have thrown well this spring, but General Manager Ned Colletti informed Wright on Monday he'd make the club out of Spring Training. It stands to reason once Grabow heard the news, he used the opt-out clause in his contract to become a free agent.

Grabow, a lefty and a guy I predicted to make the club out of Spring Training when he was signed in December, threw six innings of scoreless ball, striking out seven, walking one and giving up four hits.

Wright has been solid in 8 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits, three runs (two earned), three walks and four strikeouts.

Wright's contract is now guaranteed for $900,000 this season with up to $500,000 in incentives for games pitched.

Grabow's contract would have been for $800,000 with up to $200,000 in incentives for games pitched.

Grabow really should have been the pick instead of Wright. The Dodgers' have just one left-handed pitcher slated to come out of the bullpen -- Scott Elbert. Elbert is better than just a left-handed specialist. He can get right-handed hitters out well enough to be a more than just a LOOGY.

Wright's edge is he can throw multiple innings at a time as a former starting pitcher. He had a solid season with the Mariners in 2011, posting a 3.16 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 8.0 H/9 and a 6.3 K/9.

This is also the seventh consecutive year Wright has made a team as a non-roster invitee.

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Jerry Sands, Monday's hero (if there's such a thing in Spring Training), was optioned to minor-league camp today.

Sands put up an unimpressive .158/.256/.184 line with one double, five walks and 12 strikeouts. At one point, he had a 5:6 walk-to-strikeout ratio, but he's struggled mightily this spring.

He'll benefit from more playing time in Triple-A. After refining his swing midway through the 2011 season, Sands showed improvement with the Dodgers in September (.342/.415/.493), but a little more seasoning could do him well.

He'll be among the first call-ups if/when the Dodgers need another outfielder or first baseman.

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The MLB owners vote today on the three remaining Dodger owners. Bill Shaikin has the details. Wednesday is when the private auction begins. Frank McCourt is required to choose a winner -- which doesn't necessarily mean the highest bidder -- by Sunday with the public announcement to be by April 6.

Photo credit: Keith Allison on Flickr, via UC International on Wikimedia Commons

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