In this crop of free agents, there are plenty of familiar names that could find a place on the Dodger bench, like maybe Andre Ethier or Chase Utley?? Alas, that is a blog for next time. Here we will focus on MLB free agents who will likely have to accept a spring training invite and could have a shot at a Dodgers bullpen or bench job.
XAVIER CEDENO, LHRP
Cedeno was actually a Dodger for five days in 2015 but never appeared in a game in the organization as he was sent to the Rays for the always popular “Cash Considerations”. Cedeno, 31, missed most of last season with a forearm injury but delivered solid results in 2015 and 2016 out of the Rays bullpen as a situational lefty. In 2015 for the Rays, he posted a 2.09 ERA in 61 games and 43 innings, with an outstanding 1.14 WHIP, and in 2016 had a 3.54 ERA, appeared in 54 games, and pitched 41 innings.
Cedeno gets by on deception more than velocity, and could be a serviceable lefty should the need arise. Perhaps he can start the year in AAA, make up for last year’s lost innings, and be ready to step into the Dodger pen when called upon. Cedeno is out of minor league options and made $1.3 million last year.
EDWIN JACKSON, RHRP
I have been waiting for this reunion to happen for some time now. Jackson came up as a young Dodgers pitching phenom in 2003 on his 20th birthday! He got the win that day after going 6 strong innings vs. the Diamondbacks. Dodger fans thought Jackson would be a fixture in the rotation for years. Well, of course, it didn’t turn out that way.
Jackson was subsequently traded in 2006, and has bounced around to 11 other teams, to include the Nationals twice! He has been an all-star and has made a solid living as a major league starting pitcher, with the exception of 2015 where he pitched exclusively in relief. I point to that season as an indicator of what he could do with full-time bullpen work. That year, he pitched in 47 games, 56 innings, and posted a respectable WHIP of 1.168. I have always believed Jackson’s stuff will play up in the pen–not to mention he is a guy that can give you multiple innings and has the endurance of a starting pitcher.
Jackson fits into the Dodgers recent tendency to convert starters into relievers, and he would be reunited with his old minor league pitching coordinator Rick Honeycutt. Jackson is still only 34 years old and made just over $2 million last year. He could sign an incentive laden contract and perhaps be the latest Rick Honeycutt reclamation project.